By law, a two family house in Brockport is only supposed to have two apartments, but Fred Webster doesn’t care. He has illegally added a third apartment at the rear of his student rental property at 46 Union Street in Brockport, and he is thumbing his nose at the Village Board and the Code Enforcement Officer, daring them to do something about it.
That’s because Fred Webster doesn’t think that there is anybody in the Village government who has the guts to crack down on his blatant violation of the Village Code. And he might be right. Fred Webster seems to believe that neither Mayor Margay Blackman nor Code Enforcement Officer David Miller is the slightest bit interested in cracking down on the slumlords who openly violate the Village Code.
All of the properties in the Village of Brockport and the Town of Sweden are assigned a code for assessment purposes based on the property use. A single family home is a code 210. A two-family home is a code 220, and a three family home is a code 230. According to a list of rental properties obtained from the Village though a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, Fred Webster’s student rental property at 46 Union Street is a two family home, code 220. So it should not have three apartments. But it does.
It is almost impossible to see that illegal third apartment from the street, but it is plainly visible from the neighboring properties. Maybe that’s why the Code Enforcement Office is not aware of the existence of the illegal third apartment, and it doesn’t look like Fred Webster is going to volunteer that information.
The house at 46 Union Street is a duplex with 2,421square feet of space, and it sits on a lot that is only 127 feet by 120 feet. The house has seven bedrooms and two bathrooms. But it also has a partially finished basement, and that could be where Fred Webster has added the illegal apartment, because the door to Apartment #3 is located where a door to the basement would be.
Part of the problem seems to be that illegally added a third apartment to a student rental property isn’t a felony and it isn’t a misdemeanor; it’s just a violation. Maybe that’s why some people turn their heads and ignore it, because it’s just a violation. They don’t seem to realize that ignoring a crime actually encourages unscrupulous people to keep committing that crime over and over again, to the detriment of the community.
“The message has to be sent that if you commit a crime there has to be punishment.”
Benigno Aquino III
Fred Webster owns eighteen student rental properties in the Village of Brockport, and many of them have rundown exteriors. Owning that many student rentals makes Fred the second biggest slumlord in Brockport. Only Norm Giancursio owns more student rental properties.
Moreover, Fred Webster collected 26 of the signatures on the dissolution petition, that’s 6.03% of the signatures collected. Only three other slumlords collected more signatures: Rhett King, Francisco Borrayo and Linda Borrayo. So it’s pretty obvious why Fred Webster wants to dissolve the village. He’s greedy. He wants to keep adding apartment after apartment to each and every one of the eighteen student rental properties he owns so he can rake in even more money from his substandard housing.
The members of the Village Board have their hands full right now dealing with the insanity of the dissolution vote. But once the voters reject dissolution again, perhaps the Village Board should address the problem of the runaway student rental housing situation in the village.
The Village Board needs to let the Code Enforcement Officer know that they will support his efforts to make the slumlords comply with the Village Code. If they don’t address this problem soon, it won’t be long before there are no more single-family homes left in the core of the village.