The city of Glens Falls is applying for another round of funding to crack down on “zombie properties.”

Attorney General Letitia James is providing up to $9 million in grants to municipalities across the state to address vacant and blighted houses. These funds will help communities increase code enforcement, track vacant properties and help ensure banks and mortgage companies comply with the law.

The Common Council on Tuesday voted to apply for the grant. Awards would be in the range of $50,000 to $500,000, depending on the severity of the zombie home problem, according to a news release.

Applications are due March 8 and are expected to be announced in April.

The council in 2017 received a $90,000 grant from the state Attorney General’s Office. It has used those funds plus community development money to hire a part-time worker to review and monitor vacant properties, of which there are around 100 in the city.

Habitat project

The city is set to sell two properties on Hovey Street to Habitat for Humanity of Northern Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties for redevelopment.

The Common Council on Tuesday voted to set a public hearing for Feb. 26 at 7:20 p.m. to sell the two parcels at 9 Hovey St. and 3-7 Hovey St. for $1,000 each.

The organization wants to tear down the dilapidated house at 9 Hovey St. and put a single-family home on the property. It also wants to put another house on the vacant lot.

Tables and chairs

The council has approved the creation of an outside dining license for restaurants that want to place tables and chairs on public property.

Restaurants will be charged $50 for a standard license and $5 for each seat on public property.

City officials wanted to implement a nominal fee to offset staff cost of maintaining the sidewalks.

Assessing services

The Common Council on Tuesday agreed to contract with GAR Associates for assessing services.

GAR will not be doing a citywide property revaluation, but will update the roll to account for new construction or changes. The city will pay up to $21,000 for these services.

Glens Falls has lacked an assessor since Tina Dimitriadis left her part-time position to take a job in Watervliet.

Water and sewer projects

The council has approved funding for engineering companies to study improvements to the city’s stormwater systems.

The council approved a contract with C.T. Male for $38,400 to design a project to improve the drainage along Tremont Street. The city also appropriated $20,000 to provide the local match for a $100,000 grant to study drainage issues around the city’s Henry Street pumping station.

The city has old infrastructure with many combined sewer and stormwater pipes. During periods of heavy rain, the system is overwhelmed. Treated effluent is mixed with stormwater and discharged into the river.

Rental compliance

The town of Lake George is reminding residents that they must obtain permits if they are renting out their houses for short periods of time through services such as Airbnb.

The Town Board in November passed an ordinance to set up this permitting program. Residents are required to apply for the permit at the Planning and Zoning Office. The application asks people to provide information such as how many people will be staying at the residence at any one time and the number of beds and bathrooms available. It also asks people to provide an emergency contact number. The fee is $50.

People renting their home for a period longer than 30 days do not need a permit.

Also, short-term rentals are not permitted at all in the Land Conservation, Rural Residential, Residential Medium-Density and Residential High-Density districts.

The town is giving people until about May 1 to become compliant. The board has hired the firm Host Compliance to assist in this enforcement.

Dan Barusch, director of planning and zoning, said an initial review by Host Compliance of various room renting websites found 170 properties available in town for short-term rental. Only 10 were in those districts where they are prohibited.

There is a hotline established for anyone who has complaints or problems with properties. The number is 518-500-4080. People can also file complaints online at https://hostcompliance.com/tips.

Work schedules

The Lake George Town Board on Monday adopted policies on allowing people to work from home and inclement weather closures.

The policy states that the town will follow the Lake George Central School District’s schedule if there is a delayed opening or early dismissal because of inclement weather. Town Comptroller Jenn Farrell said the need for the policy arose during the incident a few weeks ago when people were traveling to get to work under tough conditions. There was no policy in the employee handbook as to when or if the Town Hall would be closed or dismissed early.

People would be allowed to use their personal time if they wanted to leave earlier or start later than the official town hours.

Farrell said the policy got “rave reviews” when she showed a draft.

“Everyone was excited that we had something to go by,” she said.

The town would not follow the school if the district decided to close for the day.

In addition, the board voted to adopt some regulations regarding working from home. Under the plan, employees must clear the arrangement with their supervisors, document all hours worked and be accessible by phone during business hours for calls from staff and the public.

Events get funding

The Lake George board decided to give funding to three events that were seeking occupancy tax funding and had not obtained it from either the county or the joint village-town committee.

The town decided to give $700 for the American Legion for its dinner cruise, $1,800 for the French and Indian War re-enactors event and $500 to an antique boat show. The town is also giving another $300 from its publicity line item to the American Legion.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.


reporter - Glens Falls, Northern Warren County, business and politics

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

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