Building code violation crackdown
Inspectors are walking down Kingston block by block, visually checking sidewalks, yards, porches and homes for any building code violations. YNN's John Wagner took that walk along side Kingston's Fire Chief to find out what they're looking for.
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KINGSTON, N.Y. -- "Over here, it looks like the structural integrity of the porch is in danger," said Kingston Fire Department Chief John Reinhardt.
Block by block, inspectors write up dozens of violations.
"Front porch looks like it's in pretty good shape, so right now, this is what we're looking at, the maintenance of the yard," Reinhardt said.
One rotten apple devalues an entire block and instead of seeing the quality of life cut, Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo wants the grass cut.
"A cleaner city, a better city, a safer city and, you know, a city where people would want to come," said Jeanne Edwards, Kingston Public Works Code Enforcement.
Through the fall, the Building Safety Division, Fire Department and Public Works will take a walk, checking out a number of repeat offender neighborhoods. Residents might not be happy, but they better be prepared.
"There's other ways to find money and to beat up your own people is pretty bad," Kingston resident Terry Hommel said.
"Some people don't realize this is a safety concern. They think that we're just nitpicking, trying to clean things up and get them to clean up and tell them how to live their lives," said Kingston Fire Department Lieutenant Darren Bondar.
Reinhardt said, "Let's put four or five firefighters up on that porch with heavy gear or hoses and all of a sudden, the porch collapses on top of them. That is obviously a concern."
Violators will be notified by mail, and given a deadline to make fixes or to let the city know their timeframe for repairs. If not, they will be fined. And there's plenty of violations to go around.
"Two weeks ago, we were up on Pine and Oak streets where we cited 47 violations on 32 different properties," Reinhardt said.
Cracked sidewalks, shattered windows, blocked porches, abandoned vehicles are all fire hazards.
"Safety is paramount,” Reinhardt said. “Safety is always the number one thing."
With a penalty looming, residents must pull together the funds and strength to make the changes and carry on.