This article by Bob Audette originally appeared Aug. 19 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BRATTLEBORO — Can the town do more to force landlords with dilapidated or “nuisance” properties to clean up their apartment buildings?
“A private nuisance is something we can’t touch,” said Brian Bannon, Brattleboro’s Zoning Administrator.
Bannon and Leonard “Lennie” Howard, assistant fire chief and Brattleboro’s health officer, focus on health and life safety issues. Brattleboro’s zoning ordinance doesn’t give them the authority to take enforcement actions against owners of properties that are generally run down but not dangerous or that might have a reputation for criminal activity, such as the dealing of drugs out of an apartment.
Springfield and Bellows Falls have ordinances to give the zoning administrators more power when it comes to dealing with nuisance properties and Rockingham is considering adopting the ordinance the village has had since 1990.
“We don’t have an overarching nuisance ordinance,” said Town Manager Peter Elwell. “We have a health ordinance, a solid waste ordinance and the new rental housing ordinance … that are subject-specific.”
Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)