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Derry blight subcommittee making progress on blight ordinance

DERRY — A subcommittee is making progress on exploring a proposed anti-blight ordinance to address vacant properties in town, according to its chairman.

For years the town has been grappling with ways to address Main Street and vacant properties. An anti-blight ordinance has been proposed and discussed over the past seven or eight years, town officials said.

The subcommittee was formed in April to begin the process that will lead to crafting a blight ordinance.

The members have met twice since the subcommittee was formed and have decided that the anti-blight measure would be a town ordinance brought before the Town Council for approval.

“It’s an excellent committee,” Cardon said. “I think they are pretty close and one of the things we talked about was to have it done by the end of the summer.”

Plans call for taking aspects of the previous proposed ordinance and incorporating them into a manual that the town’s Code Enforcement Department uses known as the International Maintenance Property Code, Cardon said.

Planning Director George Sioras, who is also on the subcommittee, said such an ordinance would strengthen Code Enforcement’s ability to ensure property requirements.

“A lot of it gets back to the enforcement again of really giving teeth to the Code Enforcement Department to be able to go out and maybe start going after some of those properties through legal action, through fines,” Sioras said. “And that ordinance and the way we craft it will have the ability to do that.”

He praised the work so far of other subcommittee members, Derry Fire Chief George Klauber and Code Enforcement Director Robert Mackey, for working to address the properties from a fire and building perspective.

While the group works on addressing the ordinance, Mackey has sent letters to some businesses in town with potential violations, Sioras said.

The subcommittee has asked to change the name of the group to the Derry Property Maintenance Committee, Cardon said.

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