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Village Adopts Residential Container Law to Deter Overuse

The last regular public meeting of the year for the Village of Farmingdale on Monday, Dec. 6 began with a moment of silence for village resident Marine Lance Corporal James D. Argentine. He was only 22 years old when he lost his life in Afghanistan as a result of a roadside bomb in August 2009. Argentine was a St. Anthony High School graduate and the  son of Bob and Janet Argentine of Farmingdale.

The public hearing was continued from the last public board meeting about the proposed residential container local law. The issue concerns storage containers like PODS and portable storage containers, typically used by occupants of residences under construction or in transition. The Village has heard many concerns from residents about the extended use of these portable storage units, far beyond reasonable time frames.

The Village defines the storage unit as any container intended for the purpose of storing household goods and other personal property that is intended to be filled, or emptied while located outdoors, on a residential property.

In response to a resident’s question about what prompted the proposal of this law, Mayor Butch Starkie said, “It’s that people don’t have building permits at all and the PODS are showing up in the front of their homes and staying there for extensive periods of time, basically becoming excessive storage.”

A village permit will now be required for use of a storage container for more than seven days. Permits will only be granted if there is also an open building permit for the dwelling. Size and location restrictions are also in place for containers. Penalties will be issued at $250, per incident, per week. The public hearing was closed, and the law was adopted.

The board resolved to move the remaining funds $69,752.02 from the 2009/10 fund balance to the Fire Department Capital Reserve account. The fire department has a set budget each year; it has not been increased in the past three years.

“There’s a mentality that happens in government, it’s like a use it or lose it mentality with budgets and that if the money wasn’t spent, a flood of bills would come in at the end of the year,” said Starkie.

The funds included in the fire department’s budget that is not used at the end of each calendar year is transferred to a reserve fund at the end of each year. The fund is used to purchase long-term capital projects for the fire department like equipment and fire trucks.

It was also approved to award a performance/payment bond in the amount of $1,600, for the purchase of an Oshkosh pumper fire truck to be delivered in March 2011.

The board resolved to award the contract for tree pruning and removals to the lowest bidder, Stapleton Tree & Landscaping Service of East Northport, for $1,045 per eight-hour day, and pruning costs of $995 per eight-hour day. The contract will be effective for 2011, with the option to renew for two additional years.

The board also resolved to approve the fire department physicals to be performed by Savasta Medical Services, in Bayville, at a cost of $150 each for base charges. The village fire department, as well as many surrounding fire departments, currently uses Savasta’s services.

The public hearing on the village business sign codes, to eliminate unsightly, temporary, box signs within the next three years will begin at the Monday, Jan. 3 public board meeting.

Twenty-three stores have applied for grant money to upgrade and replace business signs in compliance with the proposed sign code. Business signs along Main Street that are examples of compliant signs are Cascarino’s, and the Library Café.

Aramos Awning Company and J.D. Faro Electric Company have been approved to supply and install certain materials in Phase One of the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation Program.

The Mayor and Trustees also explained the confusion about the plan for the new Hilton Hotel that is being built at Secatogue Avenue and South Front Street. An as-of-right application is a business with an approved use already listed in the Village code. The applicant of the Hilton Hotel is not required to gain approval from the Board of Trustees; they did go before the zoning board of appeals for approval of variances needed, which have been granted. No special use permit is needed for the hotel.

The next public board meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. in the courtroom of the Village Hall. The work session will begin at 7 p.m. For additional information, meeting minutes and upcoming agendas call (516) 249-0093 or visit