By Arnold Seletsky
In terms of improving the quality of life of Fallsburg residents, the Fallsburg Town Board is always looking to promote initiatives and strengthen laws to protect and enhance the aesthetic beauty of our local hamlets and their business districts.
In terms of property maintenance of summer businesses, over the years, the Town has faced great challenges in addressing the seasonal aspect of our economy- particularly in terms of vacant storefronts.
This board is determined to take a hard line toward confronting violations of our Town Code in this respect and in building a safer and better looking town by better regulating seasonal businesses.
As part of this continuing commitment, the Town Board recently tasked our Assistant Town Attorney Ron Hiatt and Code Enforcement Officer Mollie Messinger to undertake a review of the Town Code in terms of both code enforcement and signage to initiate stricter uniformity and enforcement of our laws pertaining to how seasonal businesses operate in our town.
Donation & Thanks: The Town Board received a donation from the Tri-State Motorcycle Club,which held a number of events at Morningside Park this winter, for $1000.00 at Monday night’s meeting. $700.00 was given to the Town of Fallsburg Parks Department and $300.00 to Town of Fallsburg PBA.
Their hard work has now resulted in a series of amendments to our Town Code that are designed to address this issue. The Town Board passed new laws this week to strengthen regulation of seasonal businesses and how they keep their properties in our business districts, both during the summer and for the rest of the year.
In terms of vacant and seasonally used store fronts and buildings, our Town Code now requires that property owners put up screening such as curtains in the windows of their seasonal or vacant store fronts so they look occupied and not abandoned. No more boards on the windows or wires and garbage in the windows of these vacant stores.
The town is also now requiring a seasonal operating permit for businesses that operate less than 6 months a year. A seasonal business operator must make an application to the Town Clerk’s office. They must show they have obtained liability insurance, works compensation coverage for their employees, and if necessary NYS Health Department approvals. They also have to pay a $100 application fee and post $1000 security deposit. That security deposit is only returned if after 10 days of the store’s closing there is a closing inspection by the Code Enforcement Office and the property owner/store owner complied with the new storefront regulations-and have also cleaned up their property according to the town code..
Those seasonal owners operating without a permit will be fined $500 a week for the first two weeks and then $1,000 a week until they get an approved permit.
In terms of signs, our Architectural Review Board, which makes recommendations to our Planning Board, can now review the colors and design of facades and signs not only in designated B1 business districts, but also in commercial developments lying outside those business zones.
Remember, these laws are not being implemented to hinder these seasonal businesses, but to have them act as responsible members of our community and live up to their obligations to maintain their premises.
And we will continue to seek ways to beautify our town and make our hamlets and business districts more aesthetically appealing. If you have any suggestions, we welcome the input. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On another note: The Town checks streetlights once a month and notifies NYSEG to replace the bulb. If by chance you see a streetlight out, email Linda Ingber at email@example.com to let us know.