Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision to deny a variance request to turn a single family residence into a two-family residence on Wilton Avenue. A Post-Journal analysis of 2014 Jamestown Police Department responses showed the city’s 6,799 owner-occupied properties averaged .9 incidents per property. The number of incidents per property increased with each property a landlord owns — 1.69 incidents per property for owners with two properties, 2.35 incidents for those with three properties all the way up to 5.25 incidents per property for those owning 50 or more properties. Statistically, it seems owner-occupied housing results in fewer issues that result in police being called to a property. Kudos as well to the Wilton Avenue homeowners who spoke out against the variance, particularly arguing that they had seen problems with the property in question once it stopped being an owner-occupied home.

Thumbs down to the latest example of poorly written and researched laws that end up creating confusion. The state Comptroller’s Office recently audited compliance of the state’s 2015 Enough is Enough Law, a law which dealt with domestic violence and sexual assualt on the state’s college campuses. The audit found the state Education Department was unlikely to comply with state-mandated reporting requirements on campus incidents, but one reason for the Education Department’s struggles is that it took nearly a year for parts of the law to be clarified enough to issue guidance to the state’s colleges and universities. Confusion over the Enough is Enough Act reporting is just another example of the hoops organizations have to jump through to satisfy dueling federal and state regulations and of the hassle that ensues when laws don’t mesh.

Thumbs up to a son following in a father’s footsteps. Harry Snellings, Jamestown police chief and public safety director, recently traveled to Albany to see his son, Sean Snellings, graduate from the Basic School of the New York State Police in Albany. “He’s worked extremely hard,” Harry Snellings told The Post-Journal. “Seeing him walk across the stage, I couldn’t have been more proud … I’ve always encouraged my kids to do whatever makes them happy.” Sean Snellings will be assigned to Troop C, which covers Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Harry Snellings has done yeoman’s work during his time as Jamestown police chief; we’re sure Sean Snellings will have just as successful a career.