DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Derry

June 12, 2014

Anti-blight group tackles downtown property

DERRY — Town officials continue to ponder how to make sure downtown property owners keep their buildings looking good.

Work continues on an updated anti-blight ordinance. It would allow the town to enforce more rules and take action when local property owners don’t keep their buildings up to par, especially in the downtown area.

A new committee has met twice to start the process to see what upgraded details can be included in a town ordinance.

The group includes Town Councilor Tom Cardon, named as the chairman; Bob Mackey, code enforcement officer; and fire Chief George Klauber.

An anti-blight ordinance was considered several years ago when then Downtown Committee members drafted information on how to better enforce rules.

Derry already adheres to the International Property Management Code of enforcing blight issues, but would have more details in place on a local front to keep buildings up to the proper standards.

“We’ll take the provisions of this and incorporate it with the international code,” Cardon said.

Planning Director George Sioras said there has been much progress in only a few meetings so far.

Any ordinance would eventually find itself before the Town Council for review and approval, he said.

“A lot of this gets back to enforcement,” Sioras said.

That could include fines or other measures to make sure the property owners are aware of the problems.

There are also many different views and definitions of what constitues “blight.”

Sioras said it could be lackluster care of buildings, fire code violations or other more serious problems.

He said a more suitable term for the document would be a “property maintenance” designation.

Some improvements are already visible on Broadway.

The aging Broadway Pets sign is gone, as is the J.J. Pizza sign.

Officials said the anti-blight work could be done by later this summer.

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