NORWALK, Conn. — From contractor yards to unsightly vehicles, a number of property violations were addressed over the past few weeks by the city’s Zoning Citation process.
One of the properties in question, 66 Taylor Ave., was threatened with a $500 fine last month for “use of a parcel of land within a ‘D-Residential’ zone for a use which is not permitted within the zone (Contractor’s Storage Yard).”
The threat of fine by Gary Oberst, the city’s hearing officer, worked, according to Zoning Inspector John Hayducky, who said that the issues with the site had been resolved.
“The decision you rendered was in two weeks there had to be either complete resolution or substantial … progress,” Hayducky said. “A $500 fine was assessed, but if there was substantial improvements or completion, and then we would contemplate where to go from there.”
Hayducky said photos were taken of the site on Monday, Aug. 31, a few days after the first hearing – and much of the violations had been removed.
“All the large machinery is gone, the dump trucks have been removed, very minor stuff left – a wheelbarrow,” he said.
Because of that, Oberst decided to close the case, but if new violations were found, the case would be reopened.
At the Aug. 26 hearing, Oberst addressed another contractor yard related issue in South Norwalk at 179 South Main St., where the property owner was fined for “storage of commercial equipment and/or contractor’s equipment/materials on a property located within a ‘D-Residential’ zone.”
Darlene Young and Ernie Dumas, Common Council members from District B, testified that the property impacts their neighborhood.
“The residents that are in that area can hear those trucks,” Young said. “That property impacts our community every day, Monday through Friday. So one of the concerns continues to be… when he gets on the phone is that while the lawyer is saying that he knows he’s tried to clean up the property, they’re still concerned with issues that are going on.”
Oberst decided to levy additional fines against the property since the issues regarding trucks and storage of bricks on the property were not resolved. While the attorney for the property owner said that he had purchased the neighboring property as a way to try and resolve the issue, Oberst said that it was still not resolved yet.
“So last time we had a fine total of $2,000 and I said if it’s still in violation, an additional $5,000 could be assessed which is what I’m going to do because clearly you’re still in violation, and it was six months ago, so although there was a COVID crisis, this was February,” he said.
Oberst also levied a new fine of $5,000 per month until the violations are fixed.
“I don’t see any reason we can’t cure it. I’m going to start another fine period,” he said. “I think that should be sufficient to get that cleaned up within the month.”
At the September hearing, Oberst decided to give property owners at 5 (aka 7) Ells St. an additional 30 days to clear up violations on the property, which include, “operation of a commercial contractor’s business/storage yard from a property located within a ‘B-Residential’ zone” and “storage of multiple commercial vehicles, over a 1-ton rated capacity, on a property located within a ‘B-Residential’ zone,” before assessing any fines.