Guest Viewpoint: Office of Buildings & Codes Two Years Later
Allowing landlords to get by without building permits and Certificates of Occupancy or building at substandard levels places, residents, business owners, merchants and first responders at risk.
Two years ago this month, we fulfilled an order by New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) to assume all functions and responsibilities of the Spring Valley Building Department, launching our Office of Buildings and Codes (OBC).
We are working diligently to correct decades of mismanagement and neglect of the New York State Uniform Code in a village best described as ground-zero for illegal housing problems and remind everyone this is not something that can, nor will, be fixed overnight.
Since launching we have conducted over 2,000 property inspections, uncovering more than 12,400 violations in those inspections, and thus far collected nearly half a million dollars in fines.
To put this in further perspective, within the first year OBC had discovered an average of 10 violations per property, five times more than other municipalities which discovered an average of one or two per property. The second-year inspection process has shown a decrease in the average number of violations cited.
Despite all the hurdles, we completed three-years’ worth of inspections in two years—one year ahead of schedule.
So many people continue to express that they want this administration to do more; expand into other municipalities. Not only do we not have that authority, but it would be a massive undertaking and indicative of why Building and Fire code enforcement is one of the focuses of local municipalities.
Illegal housing is becoming a major problem and in this village it’s at near-crisis level, but code enforcement is a temporary solution and does not solve the true cause of this issue. It is up to those we elect to local office to make sure development is happening properly, responsibly, and safely. Allowing landlords to get by without building permits and Certificates of Occupancy or building at substandard levels places, residents, business owners, merchants and first responders at risk.
I remind everyone at home that this problem underscores exactly why local elections matter.
Voting for our nation’s leaders certainly has value but voting for local officials making decisions that directly affect your quality of life and wellbeing has even more impact. These local elections determine the leaders you elect to make decisions that impact your families, your homes, your schools, and your taxes.
If you don’t like the choices being made on behalf of your community, I encourage this County’s 200,000 active registered voters to cast their next ballot for candidates who will get it done right.
Any building and fire code complaints in the Village of Spring Valley can be submitted to OBC at 845-364-3700 or by email to BuildingsandsCodes@co.rockland.ny.us.