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Russell: Southold Needs To Redefine Code Enforcement Officer Position

Board wants to clarify the role of code enforcement in town.

Since Southold Town Zoning Inspector Damon Rallis took a new position as plans examiner for the town on Jan. 1, the town has had no official full-time point person to deal with complaints regarding potential town code violations — the duty of a zoning inspector or a code enforcement officer, according to job descriptions on the Civil Service Employee Union’s website.

At this week’s Southold Town Board work session, Supervisor Scott Russell gave the board an update on his goal to re-create and ultimately fill the position. Ed Forrester, Southold Town’s last director of code enforcement, retired four years ago.

“This job needs to be clear from the beginning as to what it entails,” Russell told the board on Tuesday. “Who will supervise the code enforcement officer — that board? The town attorney? The building department? Police?”

Russell and department heads from the Planning, Building and Zoning Board of Appeals departments have been meeting over the past few weeks to discuss how to better approach code enforcement — an issue that has been in the news lately surrounding Satur Farms, Vineyard 48, and the ever-present illegal dumping of trash in town-provided cans at road ends.

“This is a very important position, and proper training is key,” Russell said. “We need to better streamline how complaints are received and how they are handled.”

Russell added that the town board needs to decide if future code enforcement will be complaint-driven as it has been in the past, or if  the town “wants to be more assertive about enforcing the code.

“The board is looking to create a position that involves much more then simply responding to complaints,” Russell later wrote Patch in an email. “The position will not only respond to complaints that come it but will also take an affirmative role in going out and ensuring compliance with the code.”

Russell said that the new position will require working outside of the normal business hours of town government, and that ultimately the role will need to be filled by more than one person.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

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James Cope February 02, 2013 at 09:08 PM
I trust and support Supervisor Russell's efforts to improve local code enforcement. Jim Cope Eastmarion
Marty February 02, 2013 at 09:32 PM
I would love to hear the whole story.
Steven Anderson February 03, 2013 at 02:20 AM
And also let's have more serious punishment for DWI repeat offenders,right Gwen.
Hope and Change February 04, 2013 at 02:06 PM
I believe the supervisor's push to have all code enforcement officers wear YELLOW GARGAGE BAGS on the job is perfectly in line with his YELLOW GARGAGE BAG approach to town government.
nawthfawk February 06, 2013 at 02:57 AM
That was really hateful and uncalled for.

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