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Half of Potsdam code enforcement sweep complete, work slows for winter

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POTSDAM — The village’s comprehensive code enforcement property sweep has halted with the onset of winter, but efforts will kick off again as soon as the snow clears in the spring.

“It has slowed down considerably due to weather,” said Potsdam Code Enforcement Officer Gregory Thompson.

Mr. Thompson was hired in June to help with the large task and was promoted to code enforcement officer in September following the resignation of Larry J. Colbert.

The office is examining every property within village limits and sending out warnings to those with chipping paint, missing windows or any other code violations.

The job is 50 to 60 percent done, according to Mr. Thompson. So far “well over 100” letters have been sent to property owners warning them of code violations, he said, although he declined to give a specific estimate.

“I honestly don’t know quite off hand, there are quite a few. Our main goal was to be fair across the board, so everyone was assessed on the same basis,” he said.

“As snow covers the property it’s not as easy to visually assess the issues that we are looking for,” Mr. Thompson said.

The vast majority of those who have received warnings have quickly complied, or are in the process of complying, Mr. Thompson said.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome as of this point, and I appreciate the help of all the citizens of Potsdam,” he said.

Some residents complained after the initial wave of warnings was sent out during the summer because of wording threatening steep fines or even imprisonment if properties were not improved. The village has since told property owners that it is willing to work with them to give them the time they need to get their property up to snuff.

Meanwhile, Mr. Thompson is completing the training he needs to be certified as a full-time code enforcement officer, a process that should be complete within the next few weeks.

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