Potsdam code enforcement sweep welcomed in village
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 8:50 am

To the Editor:

Those of us who live in close proximity to our two colleges can only praise the announcement from the village that there will be a Code Enforcement Sweep in the near future.

This is much overdue since there has been no real or consistent enforcement since the days of Herb Crump. Accompanying this is an investigation of the activities and practices of fraternities and sororities.-another neglected area.

My own immediate problem, plus my neighbors, concentrates on our village’s Main Street and the growth of off-campus student housing, but it can also apply to Bay Street; Pierrepont Ave.; and all others within easy reach of SUNY Potsdam.

And, as time goes on, there is a tendency for this type of housing to creep up other streets.

Older residential houses cannot be sold because of taxes, and are bought up by landlords looking for profit from students desperate for housing. Cozy – it works for some, but to hell with the long – time residents who occupy residences in these heretofore, peaceful districts labeled by our Zoning Maps as sacred “residential” areas – you know – one family, etc.

But let’s get to the true facts and of what happens when student housing takes over former residential “family” areas. In comes (to begin with ) four students. Instead, as time goes on, there may really be 5, 6 or seven.

Former green lawns become parking lots for all of them, for many other “visitors,” and none of them care about any rules whatsoever They come in, use the facilities, raise hell, the buildings rot; and, in general, a formerly peaceful and quiet neighborhood goes to pot year after year.

Now let’s take Friday and Saturday, Lord help us! Non-resident students drop in from the nearby campus and are all over the place –the 21 year olds (or others with fake ID’s) bring in the booze, drunken students come from these “mini-saloons”; vandalism becomes rampant -local police have their hands full downtown; SUNY Police refuse to leave their sacred ground, and, indeed, become a safe sanctuary for vandals even though the vandalism on adjacent streets is by their very own students and may be only a few feet away. Add to this a laughable local justice system that says “ they are just kids;” give a slap on he wrist, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Last, but far from least, with off-campus student housing beginning to resemble ghettos, do we really want Potsdam’s Main Street to give off this truly terrible impression to the thousands of people who frequent Hosmer Hall; the Crane School of Music; Maxcy Hall and its athletic programs; the soon-to-be Performing Arts Center ; our Outer Main Street Development, etc.? Let’s get back to “Potsdam Pride!

Dick Hutchinson, Potsdam