WXXI AM News

Rochester looks at changes in the Nuisance Abatement Law

Apr 9, 2018

The City of Rochester is in the process of trying to make changes to the Nuisance Abatement laws that are now on the books. The law assesses points for various kinds of code violations, so that the city can take action regarding properties that are causing problems.

Rochester originally enacted a Nuisance Abatement law in 1985 and has made various changes since that time.  Mayor Lovely Warren is asking City Council to take steps to make changes that Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, Baye Muhammad says will make things more consistent.

He says right now there is somewhat of a patchwork of the way nuisance situations involving businesses or homes are handled across the city.  Muhammad says part of this proposal would establish a Nuisance Advisory Board, where people who have accumulated points on their property can go to explain their situation.

“That’ll be citywide, previously it was only in the southwest quadrant, it was a pilot, an extended pilot, that has been pretty successful, so the board will be made up of businesses and residents, basically peers, of those that are requesting the meeting,” Muhammad told WXXI News.

The proposal also would establish a waiver process, where a landlord could see points waived if there were no previously problems with a particular property and if the violation does not involve something like a weapons offense or a violation of the fire code.

Muhammad says the city is not trying to just come up with punitive measures.

“We don’t want businesses to really get points, we want people to come in voluntarily, let’s work out a program, how can we help you?  But the waiver creates a way of someone doing that, but at the end of the day, this is about compliance, this is not about putting a heavy hand down on a business or a resident.”

There will be an informational meeting on the proposed changes on Wednesday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. in City Council chambers.

Council could vote on the measure later this month and if approved, it would take effect in June.