Brightwaters businesses that fail to follow a new set of local guidelines could be hit with a $250 to $1,000 fine.
On Dec. 7, Brightwaters Village trustees adopted a local law which creates a set of standards for village storefronts.
The local law, “Property Maintenance Code for the Central Business District of the Incorporated Village of Brightwaters,” applies to commercial property within the village’s Central Business District. The code states that it is intended to “prevent the unsightly, unsafe, hazardous or dangerous conditions.”
Mayor John Valdini said over the past few years, some businesses have failed to follow appropriate property maintenance. Some residents have also submitted complaints about property upkeep. It’s forced the village to intervene, Valdini said.
“We’re just trying to format everything into an orderly fashion so we can maintain the look of our village,” he said.
In the next two weeks, Valdini, the building inspector and some village trustees will conduct a walk-through of the central business district near the intersection of N. Windsor Avenue and Orinoco Drive to assess each storefront.
All businesses will receive a summary with concerns, if any. Businesses found in violation of code will be given six months to make appropriate modifications. If they fail to make accommodations in that time, then they will be fined, Valdini said.
First offenses range from $250 to $1,000. A subsequent offense committed within five years will cost violators between $1,000 to $2,500, according to the code. A third offense, also committed in a five-year period, can range from $2,500 to $10,000, or 15 days of imprisonment.
Valdini said village officials understand some businesses are experiencing financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The intention of the code is not to charge businesses, he said, but to clean up the area.
“We know people are struggling now, and we’re not looking to create more problems for business owners,” Valdini said. “But we do want to get the village in tip-top shape.”
The village has already established residential property maintenance laws. Those codes do not apply to local businesses.
One of the major parts of the code, Valdini said, is the enforcement of storefront window signage.
According to the code, all storefront windows must be transparent, and no more than 25 percent of windows can be covered or posted with signs. Boarded, broken or unsecure windows, doors, entryways or exits are not permitted.
Other key details in the code include: exposed exterior surfaces must be sealed to protect from deterioration, all property must be free of vermin and no building can exist with graffiti.
All exterior and interior parts of the commercial properties including walls, windows, ceilings, stairs, steps, walkways, driveways, parking areas and spaces, and more must be kept in good repair, as determined by the building inspector.