Town stepping up enforcement of bylaws

Jul 17, 2019

Town officials are stepping up their enforcement of codes, reported Board of Selectmen Chair Patrick Tropeano and Town Administrator Derek Sullivan at Monday’s meeting.

Sullivan has convened a bi-weekly meeting of all the code enforcers in town: the Board of Health, building inspectors, both fire districts, the police department, Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha, and conservation administrator David Pichette.

Tropeano said that now the town has its finances in better shape, it can focus on enforcement.

“Code enforcement has become a major part of this. We have people out there who are violating regulations all the time, and I mean seriously violating them, and scoffing at us because we’ve never enforced the regulations we have,” Tropeano said. “That’s not going to happen anymore.”

Sullivan noted that one benefit of the task force is that when a person breaks one set of laws, he or she is likely to be breaking other town codes. Together, departments can identify these people and impose the appropriate penalties.

“The task force has already identified a couple of folks who we are probably going to end up not taking to district court, but taking to superior court for probably an injunction and some pretty harsh action,” said Town Counsel Richard Bowen.

Alan Slavin noted that the town recently passed a bylaw allowing officials to impose daily fines until a problem is resolved, which can be placed directly on a resident’s tax bill without the involvement of a judge. 

One enforcement agency, the Conservation Commission, is looking for more members. Chairman Sandy Slavin said the commission currently has six members of the desired seven members and three associates. She encouraged those who are interested in protecting Wareham’s wetlands to come to the commission’s meetings on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in room 320 of the Multiservice Center.