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Edelson: ‘No Incentive for Ordinance Violators to Cooperate’

Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands Commission feel current fine per odinance violation is not a sufficient deterrent.

Editor,

At the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 3rd, the zoning and wetlands enforcement officer made a presentation on the proposed changes in existing municipal citation ordinances with regard to chronic violators.  These changes were approved by the Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Commission.

The main objective of the enforcement officer's enforcement process is to educate and encourage residents and businesses to comply with existing ordinances that have been approved over the years in order to protect and preserve our quality of life.  The vast majority complies or will comply once they are informed of the reasons for the ordinance and the benefit.  The Town wants to work with those who are not in compliance in a cooperative manner.

However, in some cases, violators fail to comply or cooperate.  In these circumstances the two commissions have concluded separately that the current fine of $150 per violation is not a sufficient deterrent.  They have recommended that this be changed to be a fine levied for each day that the violation is not addressed.  Without such a mechanism, there is no incentive once the fine is levied for the violator to cooperate. Additionally, If further court action is necessary, the town will have more of an incentive to follow up if the fine is on a per day violation.

Again, the intention is to encourage people to comply with the interest of the community that has been codified in the ordinances.  It is the consensus of the Town’s leadership that the enforcement officer needs more effective tools to implement town regulations.

At a public hearing, scheduled for 7pm on Thursday, May 17th, the public will be asked to provide their input on this proposed change to the Board of Selectmen.

Signed,

Ed Edelson
First Selectman

geewizz May 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM
To go from a $150. fine to $150. per day way toooo big an increase. What if the person in violation has to wait two weeks for a contractor to schedule the fix or is away on business? After an initial fine there should be ample time for the violation to be fixed, perhaps a month. Sounds like another way for Government to raise money.
GRC May 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I'm sure the town will provide about a million warnings before the fine starts
Mark May 14, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Ed's letter doesn't suggest that change, specifically. He only talks about a general change from a flat fee to a fee per day -- maybe it's $25/day, which seems more reasonable. And perhaps there could be a grace period... you could have a week to fix it of your own accord before fines are levied. Generally, the concept seems sound. My best advice is to attend the meeting and offer your ideas.

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