VALATIE–The Village of Valatie is holding two public hearings next week on changes to local laws that affect the Business Overlay District on upper Main Street and the inspection of apartments in the village.
The public hearings were held on August 19 staring at 7 p.m. After the hearings, the board will hold its regular August meeting.
Local Law #1 would increase the fines for landlords who do not have the village Code Enforcement Office inspect their apartments when tenants change. The proposed changes to the existing law include an increase in the apartment inspection fee to $20 and a fine of $500 for landlords who fail to comply. Village Mayor Diane Argyle said the proposal also adds a fine of $50 for the new tenant if the village code enforcement officer has not given the apartment a certificate of occupancy before the tenant moves in.
“This tells these people they’ve got to do it,” said the mayor in a phone interview this week with The Columbia Paper about the changes to the local law.
The other law subject to a hearing Tuesday is Local Law #2, which addresses the Main Street Business Overlay District. Last November the board started discussing the local zoning ordinance covering the section of the business district that includes parts of New, Williams and Mechanic (Route 203) streets.
The current zoning law has a requirement triggered if a property owner in this business district renovates a property and the cost of renovations exceeds 50% of the assessed value or the floor space increases by more than 50%. In those cases the owner must make the first floor of the building commercial space and living spaces are restricted to the upper floors.
This became an issue when Columbia County Habitat for Humanity wanted to renovate a house in that part of the business district but could not because of the ground-floor commercial space requirement of the law.
The mayor said that the board wants to change the law so that it is not mandatory for property owners to create a commercial space in that district. “All we are basically doing is changing one word,” said Ms. Argyle said, noting that the change would replace “must” with “may.”
Brenda Adams, executive director of Columbia County Habitat for Humanity, said over the phone that her organization is still interested in acquiring the property, and was excited to hear that the board was dealing with the zoning issue, saying that it seemed much more “business and resident friendly” to change the law from mandatory to optional.
The public is asked to come out and comment on both these laws at the public hearing. The board will then decide whether or not to vote on the laws at the regular meeting that follows the public hearing.
The meeting and the hearings will be held in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building on Church Street.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .