The Town of Lancaster will soon be introducing its own Housing Court.
Town Justice Nicholas L. LoCicero, a Democratic appointment by the Town Board to the judicial post last December, presented his plan to the board Monday during its work session, and it seemed to go over well.
The new court is expected to start later this month and will be held every third Thursday of the month. The new court, which does not require approval by the Town Board, is believed to be the first time the town has had a formal Housing Court.
“I feel that keeping up the housing quality of the housing stock in the Town of Lancaster is very important, and the sooner we do this, the better it is for the town,” LoCicero said in a memo to the board dated Monday.
Councilman Mark S. Aquino, also a Democrat who supported LoCicero in his appointment to the bench, praised the Housing Court plan after the work session.
“I think it’s a good idea to be done on a consistent basis, with one guy handling it,” Aquino said of LoCicero. “He’s a no-nonsense guy. It’s being proactive. The idea is to get people to fix their properties, not be punitive. We don’t have a lot of decrepit properties, but we’re getting there.”
LoCicero, a former town prosecutor and deputy town attorney who succeeded retiring Justice J. Michael Kelleher, said that as town prosecutor, he always was aggressive with housing cases.
“But as judge, I have much more authority and control of the situations, than I did as a prosecutor,” LoCicero said. “I know members of the Building Department were always a bit frustrated.”
The announcement by LoCicero came the same day that the Lancaster Republican Committee announced its endorsement of attorney Jeremy A. Colby for town justice. Colby recently served as the Erie County attorney and also had worked for U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, for years as a confidential law clerk to Judge John T. Elfvin, who died in 2009.
The town justice seat held by LoCicero will be open in November for candidates running for a full four-year term.