Village will increase multi-housing inspections

SARANAC LAKE – Village code enforcement will begin a round of inspections of multi-housing apartments. The village plans to inspect three housing units every week.

Code enforcement will focus on multi-family houses, which the village defines as buildings with three or more dwelling units. Duplexes and single-family home rentals are not included. State law requires they be checked every three years.

Mathew Steenberge, the new code village enforcement officer who was hired last month, will carry out the inspections along with his other duties. He replaced Tom Worthington, who in September took a full-time code enforcement position in Jay, his hometown. Worthington had held the position for three years. Steenberge, who previously worked in construction management, has no prior code enforcement experience.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said in a press release he has full confidence in Steenberge.

“Mr. Steenberge is an earnest public servant,” Rabideau wrote. “Very professional in bearing and is committed to carrying-out the board’s directive to assure apartment buildings meet state and local code requirements.”

Village Manager John Sweeney told the Enterprise last month that the code enforcement position would refocus on apartment and rental inspections.

Jeremy Evans, the community development director who oversees village code inspection, said it’s important and that property owners know the inspections are coming and be prepared.

“We made it clear to our new CEO that conducting rental inspections is a top priority for the village and we will commit the required resources to carry it out and assure code-compliant multi-family dwellings in Saranac Lake,” Evans said. “We have been talking about goals, and three per week is what he (Steenberge) decided on.”

Evans said that compared to surrounding villages, Saranac Lake has a lot more multi-housing properties, which will take a fair amount of effort to inspect.

According to the village website, rental housing is approximately 52 percent of all housing units in the village. There are more than 1,400 multi-housing units.

The focus of the inspections will be on functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, cleared entries and exits, handrails in stairways, functioning windows, doors and other required codes.

Steenberge will report to the Mayor Clyde Rabideau and the village Board of Trustees at their Feb. 24 meeting on the progress of his inspections.

Tenants who are experiencing problems that can affect their health or safety can contact code enforcment by email at