Blight: the state or result of being blighted or deteriorated; dilapidation; decay: urban blight (dictionary.com)
Clinton has an ordinance that protects its citizens against blight. This can be unsightly, annoying and/or a public health and safety concern. Yet the town cannot do anything about cleaning up blight if citizens do not report it.
The ordinance contains specifics that are considered blight offenses, explained Thomas W. Lane, zoning and wetlands enforcement officer. He said the most common ones he sees are dilapidated structures, unregistered motor vehicles, and/or three or more pieces of equipment or machinery that don't function. The complete ordinance can be found by clicking on the Selectman's Office at clintonct.org.
"Most of them concern grass. Half of them concern overgrown properties the other half are probably mostly junk and stuff that's accumulated or people have brought in and stockpiled," said Lane.
Properties under foreclosure cause a real problem for the town. The owner does not feel responsible for the property once it is foreclosed on, but there may be a time lag before the bank can actually take over.
Clinton resident, Dave Adams, emailed Clinton Patch his concerns about what he believes is blight around town. "As a life long resident of Clinton I am appalled at the condition of some of the properties we see as we enter our town," wrote Adams. "Where has the pride in our community gone? From burned out homes to yards filled with junk, it's unbelievable!"
The first step in cleaning up a blighted piece of property is to compelete a written, signed Blight Ordinance Complaint Form, which can found under Land Use at clintonct.org or at the First Selectman and Land Use offices.
Since the form is signed, the accused has the right to know who is complaining. If any resident is hesitant about filing, for fear of retribution, they can always talk to the selectman about their blight concern or file a complaint along with one or more other individuals. Once received, the complaint is investigated. If it is indeed blight, an official letter is sent to the property owner to clean up within 30 days. A fine, of $100/a day is levied, for each violation, remaining after 30 days.
"We do go out. We try to follow up with them," said Lane.
Adams feels more should and can be done. "Let's get people fired up and say 'Hey, we have the ability to change," he said in a phone interview.
"Because 99% of the people take pride in their town, they take pride in their neighborhood and they take pride in their own properties. Let's make sure that we know not only how to do it, but that the people that we put in place are actually doing their job to be sure that it's being done."