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Meeting Recap: Blight Ordinance On Hold After Residents Speak Against It

More than 150 people attend public hearing, most oppose proposed ordinance.

More than 150 people attended a public hearing at Monday night and convinced town officials to hold off on bringing a draft of a proposed blight ordinance to a vote of the townspeople.

An overwhelming majority of people in attendence told town officials that the 11-page draft proposal called for laws that would have infringed on people's property rights; many went as far as to say it's downright unethical to impose fines - of $100 a day - upon people who may not be able to pay to repair properties that have fallen into a blighted condition, especially during difficult economic times.

Although some said they would like the proposed draft ordinance rewritten and shortened to make it more fair to residents, First Selectman George Temple said he no longer plans to bring any proposed blight ordinance before people at a town meeting at this point. He has cancelled a town meeting on the subject that was originally scheduled for Feb. 27.

"It's pretty obvious that people thought the way it was written was too restrictive," Temple said following the meeting.

He noted that Oxford will have a townwide cleanup in the spring; he hopes during that time many residents who may have a blight issue will voluntarily clean their properties. If people don't want to work to clean up their properties at that point, he may reconsider a blight ordinance, he said.

Several people who attended Monday's meeting also signed up to be a committee of volunteers who could be called to help clean up a property that has fallen into disrepair if the owner cannot take care of the property.

Most Disagreed With the Blight Proposal

An unofficial tally of people who spoke Monday showed 38 people were against the proposal as it was written, three were in favor of the document and two were in favor of some kind of blight ordinance but not the way it was written.

When a resident asked for a show of hands of people who were against the proposed blight ordinance, all but a few hands went up.

On the other hand, an unofficial tally of people who took a poll on Oxford Patch showed a different result. Of the 226 people who answered our question - Should the town of Oxford propose a blight ordinance? - there were 135 (or 59 percent) who voted 'yes' and 91 (or 40 percent) who voted 'no.' Please note it's not a scientific poll, and we did not specify the ordinance would be the draft that was proposed.

NOTE: We wanted to recap the meeting in a short format. We will update this article for the morning with more of the colorful dialogue that occurred during the two-and-a-half-hour meeting.

Craig Zac February 15, 2012 at 02:48 PM
it would also be nice if the towns dump took more trash (different kinds) than it does now, and you were allowed more than one trip per day (seeing how its only open saturdays and one day in the week while most of us are at work) If you have alot of junk to toss out, youd have to either take two weeks or have a friend take you in his truck so you can make two trips on the sly. Speaking of, what if you dont own a truck? then what? id also like to point out that there should also be a place to take brush and yard waste, not everyone owns a chipper or has a big enough property to dump that stuff, which may then be considered "Blight" by the town. What to do, what to do? When I lived in Wallingford they had a nice recycle place, they took everything, and there was a huge spot to dump yard waste. Then in the spring, they would sell compost by the yard and actually put a few yards out for free, of course you could only take a trash can or two full but it was nice.. And dropping off stuff there was free. Plus, they ground up all the old Christmas trees and turned it into mulch which was free, as much as you wanted as long as you loaded it yourself. Im sure there MUST be a town owned piece of land where we can do this. Just a thought.
Bonnie February 15, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I know that MOST of you won't like my OPINION but I am entitled to my own OPINION. If you want to live to a home that your yard and porches look like the city dump then you should fence in your yard so those of us that take pride in our property don't have to look at it. There are 2 homes (almost across the street from one another) on Chestnut Tree Hill Rd that have rusted vehicles, trash (literally), broken down farm equipment (these are NOT farms), numerous rusted grills and a TON OR TWO of other crap. I'm sure even if the town offered a junk pick up day they wouldn't even put anything out, they'd go around collecting junk. Nothing personal against Hoarders but there is help out there that people can get. Heck, I'll help them transport trash to the dump!
Rich Gee February 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Bonnie - BRAVO! I empathize with your plight.
Craig Zac February 15, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Your wrong, think most will agree with you...lol seriously, if theres someone near you who have a load of junk on thier lawns, it will make your property less desireable should you try to sell it, the same as if you lived across the street from a sewer plant that stunk like, well, you know what im saying...lol And also, I think that alot of these people ARE hoarders.. they wont want to give up their good junk..lol I know, I have a few family members who are like this...
Ashleigh February 15, 2012 at 09:23 PM
There are a TON of towns who do Christmas tree pickup a week or 2 after Christmas for this purpose. I think this year, Oxford had a place where you could bring your tree to be chipped. Of course, it was probably on a Thursday morning from 10:38-11:12 when absolutely nobody was available to participate...

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