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Town Board notes: Code violation complaint form now online


An online form Southold Town residents can use to file code violation complaints is officially up and running.

Assistant town attorney Stephen Kiely told the Town Board on Wednesday the town’s website will soon be updated to prominently feature the complaint form, which allows citizens to alert code enforcement officers to potential problem areas.

Mr. Kiely said the town can then prioritize which complaints to investigate based on the timing and frequency of the alleged violations.

The form is part of a larger push by the Town Board to beef up the effectiveness of its code enforcement. The town recently hired a part-time officer to work nights and weekends and has allocated funding for another full-time officer in next year’s budget.

The form can be found here on the town’s website. Mr. Kiely said no complaint forms have been received so far. 

Board members also discussed how to hire next year’s code enforcement officer to meet all the town’s needs, including its lack of fire marshals.

A group of volunteers from the Southold Town Fire Chiefs Council urged the board to hire a qualified fire marshal who could also assist with code enforcement duties. They said a code enforcement officer would need additional training in order to properly meet the town’s firefighting needs.

Council president Norm Reilly said the new hire should have a “background in fire safety,” adding that he believes the town needs better enforcement of fire codes such as those requiring smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

Paul Romanelli of Suffolk Security Systems said he goes into a “tremendous” number of homes and businesses that have faulty or missing smoke detectors.

But Town Board members didn’t express support for hiring a fire marshal instead of a code enforcement officer. Instead, Councilwoman Jill Doherty suggested the town list specific additional skills in its job posting to attract qualified candidates who could do both jobs.

Councilman Robert Ghosio said it was important for the town to stay on top of fire inspections. Mr. Ghosio knows tragedy firsthand; his own home burned down several years ago.

“When it happens to you, it’s almost like a death in the family,” he said.

• The Southold Town Board appears set to help a pair of Eagle Scouts pay for a landmark sign for its historic mile markers.

Local historian Zachary Studenroth told the Town Board Wednesday that the sign would be displayed near the start of the trail of markers, which measure off distances to the former Riverhead courthouse.

“It’s quite remarkable,” he said. “There’s no series of surviving markers as complete as this.”

The stones were long rumored to have been placed along the local roads by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, but a recent investigation revealed that they were actually part of an 1800s unfunded state mandate — after Franklin died.

Still, Mr. Studenroth said, the sign will celebrate the legend.

“We’re holding on to the Ben Franklin piece of the story,” he said.

The sign would be part of an Eagle Scout project developed by Southold High School seniors Aidan Vandenburgh and Sam Basel to restore the mile markers. The pair received funding from the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation to install a sign at one end of the trail of mile markers.

The other sign — costing about $1,500 — would be paid for by the town using funds from its 375th anniversary budget.

Mr. Ghosio said the 375th anniversary committee had enough leftover money to pay for the sign and praised the idea of honoring the Ben Franklin legend.

“It’s kind of irrelevant if its true or not in the celebration,” he said. “Even myths can be celebrated. It’s part of our fabric.”

• The Southold Rotary is giving a gift to Southold Town that could save a life.

The volunteer organization presented the Town Board with a $1,300 check to pay for a defibrillator to be installed at Town Hall.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea that all public buildings have one,” said Southold Rotary president John Shack. “I think it’s very important. We’re just glad to support the town.”

Mr. Shack said the Southold Rotary, which has about 25 members, uses every dollar donated to help its causes, including scholarships for local students, Thanksgiving food boxes and collection of items for local food pantries.

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Photo Caption: Assistant town attorney Stephen Kiely shows Town Board members where to find the complaint form on the town’s website. (Credit: Paul Squire)