K’hook warns owners of decrepit properties: Fix it or lose it

KINDERHOOK–The Village Board had a full house last week at the regular meeting Wednesday night. Many people were there to hear what the village plans to do about two dilapidated houses on Sunset Avenue.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith said he has issued warnings about violations at 14 Sunset Avenue and the owner of 12 Sunset sent a letter to the Village Board saying he was making needed repairs. Both are two story residences that appear to be vacant.

At the May 10 meeting, Mr. Smith told the board that he gave the owners of No. 14 until May 20 as a “drop dead date” to have made an effort to deal with the violations or that the village would take them to court. “I really don’t like to do that because it’s expensive to the village,” he said. He also said that taking people to court sometimes doesn’t lead to a resolution of the issues.

He then said that he’d had two meetings with the owner of No. 12, local attorney Bill Better. Mr. Better sent a letter to the board that Mayor Jim Dunham read to the crowd, thanking the village for repairing a water main at the house. “Now I can get back to work,” Mr. Better wrote. He also wrote that he has a reputation as someone who has maintained properties in the village for 35 years.

Mr. Smith assured the board that Mr. Better had started work but he also said that if Mr. Better didn’t bring the property into compliance with the building code, the village would take him to court.

The Village Board went through the long process of foreclosing on a property on Church Street. The board finally completed the process last year after dealing with the bank that owned the house, and now two new houses are being built on the site.

Several people left the meeting after Mr. Smith’s presentation to the board and there were no public comments about the houses at the end of the meeting. But at a special Village Board meeting on April 25 several residents came out to ask the board to do something about the houses.

Also at the meeting:

• The village Climate Smart Committee is looking for new members. Committee member Bill Mancini said the village was moving toward becoming a Clean Energy Community, a state program what would make the village eligible to receive grants for energy upgrades. The village needs to complete at least four steps set out by the state to become a Clean Energy Community and one of those steps would be to study energy use at municipal buildings and create benchmarks. The board passed a resolution to do the study.

In January the board approved the state’s Unified Solar Permit, another step in the Clean Energy Community plan. Mayor Dunham said that the village had received a $2,500 NYSERDA grant that goes along with adopting the permit. NYSERDA is the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

• The board plans to send a letter to the state Department of Transportation asking that the speed limit on Route 9 be reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph between the School gallery and the Kinderhook Fire House

•The board is waiting for final recommendations from the firm that conducted the traffic calming study on village roads (not including state Route 9). Mayor Dunham said they should have the results in the next couple of weeks

• Economic Development Director Renee Shur reported that Sage Engineering is conducting a lighting study of the municipal parking lot. She is still waiting to hear back from the state about the designation of Kinderhook Creek as an inland waterway. She also talked about history walks that will take place in the village this summer, as well as plans for the food truck nights, which are normally held in June and August.

The next board meeting will be Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the village.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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