Written by Carisa Giardino Saturday, 08 August 2009 00:00
Seven proposed local laws will be the focus of public hearings scheduled for Aug. 13. Trustees are proposing village code changes for anything from sanitation removal and repair and maintenance of sidewalks and curbs to impound fees, alarm systems and corner lots in Garden City’s Central section.
Current village codes are available to review online at www.gardencityny.net - click on the administration link found on the left hand side and then click on “Direct Link to the Village General Code Book.”
Grove Street resident Bob Orosz criticized trustees for scheduling so many public hearings during the summer, when many residents are on vacation. “Is that the date you want?” Orosz asked trustees. “Aug. 13? Right in the middle of summer?”
Mayor Robert Rothschild said, as he established back in April when he took office, “We are not stopping doing business. That happens to be the date. If anyone wants to come and comment, they can come and comment on August 13,” the mayor said. “I understand your concern but life goes on.”
Trustee Dennis Donnelly added that several of the proposed local laws relate to fees the village can recoup. “It’s important to us to start getting money into these things rather than sit around and wait,” he said.
One proposed law in particular concerned Trustee Don Brudie. Trustees are proposing to add Chapter 90 to the village code to provide for “reimbursement to the village for expendable items maintained or procured by the village in connection with an emergency response to a fire or to prevent, contain, mitigate, clean up or remove an oil or gasoline spillage or a spillage involving any other hazardous materials, or for an electric or natural gas emergency.” This local law would also provide for fees to be charged by the village for such services and technical assistance.
“This code is not very resident/homeowner friendly,” Trustee Brudie said. “This code provides that if there’s a fire in your home and the fire department comes to your home and puts that fire out, they could charge you for everything they used to put out that fire. That’s absolutely ludicrous. That’s why we’re paying taxes for a fire department.”
Trustee Brudie said he totally opposes the code change so far as it pertains to village residents. But, he said, with respect to an accident on the street, like an oil or gas spill, he has “no problem” charging the people involved in the accident.
Trustee John Mauk, who agreed with Trustee Brudie, said: “I’m not sure when we addressed this at the time of the budget review that this is what was intended. I think it may go further than what was intended.”
Trustee Brudie said another proposed local law - one that relates to the repair and maintenance of sidewalks and curbs - is not homeowner friendly either.
The current code states: “It shall be the duty of owners of real property within the village to maintain in good and safe repair, care for and keep clean and free from filth, dirt, weeds or other accumulations, obstructions or encumbrances, sidewalks, paths or public thoroughfares set apart for pedestrians in front of or abutting upon their property.”
The code continues: “If such owner fails, neglects or refuses to comply with said notice within the time specified therein, not exceeding 30 days from the date of said notice, the Department of Public Works shall cause the condition to be corrected and the cost thereof may be assessed against the owner of properties fronting or abutting such defective, damaged or obstructed sidewalks, paths or public thoroughfares.”
The Nassau County charter imposes on the village the duty to “construct, repair and maintain or compel the construction, repair and maintenance by abutting owners of sidewalks and curbs on county roads.”
This proposed local law amends Section 178-17 of the village code, transferring responsibility from the village to repair curbs on county-owned roads to the homeowners.
“It puts the liability onto the residents,” Trustee Brudie said.
Mayor Rothschild reminded him that the responsibility is only put on residents who live on county roads.
“Isn’t that more biased? Right now you’re being very selective. You’re picking anyone on a county road to be liable for what the village is liable for. Again, we’re paying outrageous taxes here to have the village take care of these things,” Trustee Brudie said.
Residents currently living on village-owned roads are responsible for their sidewalks. If this local law passes, residents living on county-owned roads would not only be responsible for their sidewalks, but for their curbs as well.
Trustee Nick Episcopia reminded the board that not too long ago Grove Street resident Bob Orosz suggested some type of rubberized sidewalk. “I believe it was a year, year and a half ago, that the idea was raised … Maybe this is something,” Trustee Episcopia said. “I know but I can’t remember when Mr. Schoelle did some type of investigation on this … Maybe it’s something we could at least discuss …”
Orosz, who, back in 2006, argued that the village should foot the bill for sidewalk repairs, told trustees a new product is now on the market called flexible cement.
County roads in Garden City include New Hyde Park Road, Stewart Avenue, Nassau Boulevard, Rockaway Avenue, County Seat Drive, Clinton Road, Washington Avenue and Cathedral Avenue.
The public hearings are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at Garden City Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend.
On Aug. 13, the next scheduled Garden City board of trustees meeting, a public hearing will be held for each of the following seven proposed local laws:
Emergency Response Actions: This local law adds Chapter 90 to the village code to provide for reimbursement to the village for expendable items maintained or procured by the village in connection with an emergency response to a fire or to prevent, contain, mitigate, clean up or remove an oil or gasoline spillage or a spillage involving any other hazardous materials, or for an electric or natural gas emergency. This local law also provides for fees to be charged by the village for such services and technical assistance.
Impound Fees: This local law amends Section 193-15 of the village code to permit the village to charge an administrative fee for functions performed by the village in connection with the impoundment and redemption of vehicles.
Dimensions and Weights of Vehicles: This local law amends Chapter 193 of the village code to limit the dimensions and weights of vehicles on village roadways and provide for violations and penalties.
Alarms: This local law amends Chapter 52 of the village code to enlarge the definition of an alarm system subject to the chapter so that it includes all alarm systems and not just those that dial directly to the Village Police Department. The local law calls for an annual license fee in an amount determined by the board of trustees. The local law also sets forth penalties for four or more false alarms during any consecutive 12-month period.
Fees for Sanitation Removal: This local law permits the board of trustees to establish fees for special sanitation removal, including multiple dwellings, commercial establishments and tax-exempt establishments producing in excess of 250 pounds of garbage per week accumulation of waste. Fees shall be established for each dumpster collected by the village and for five or more waste receptacles or compacted bags collected by the village per week.
Repair and Maintenance of Sidewalks and Curbs: The county Charter imposes on the village the duty to construct, repair and maintain, or compel the construction, repair and maintenance by abutting owners of sidewalks and curbs on county roads. This local law amends Section 178-17 of the village code to place that responsibility on the property owner abutting the county road.
Corner Lots: This local law adds a new R-20C Corner Overlay District so that no corner lot in the R-20C Corner Overlay District may be subdivided unless the resulting corner lot complies with all R-40 requirements.