At the last Williston Park Village Board meeting Williston Park Mayor Ludwig Odierna assured all the residents and merchants that he is in the process of reviewing the ticket fines currently being charged in the village.
Williston Park Mayor Ludwig Odierna presents the Key to The Village to Richard Dierlam for all the many hours of volunteer work he has done for the village over the years, but most especially the time he donated to the village this last Christmas Eve to make sure that Operation Santa was a success.
A merchant said that during the holidays a customer came in and purchased more than $100 worth of merchandise but when she exited the store found she had been issued a $100 parking ticket she came right back into the store and returned the merchandise because she said she could not afford a $100 ticket and a $100 worth of merchandise. The merchant added, "My customer told me she would never come back to Williston Park to shop again because she couldn't afford such a high parking ticket."
Mayor Odierna said he was currently getting a list of all parking fines charged by surrounding villages. However, he pointed out that the fines are set "by the village justice, not by the mayor or the village board." Village attorney Richard Reers said that he is in the process of going over that law to perhaps change it so that fines are not set by the village justice but rather by the village board acting as the traffic violations bureau.
This answer was to a question asked by resident Paul Ehrbar. Reers said that the original law states that the village justice is allowed to actually set the fines and he is seeking to change that law.
At the outset of the meeting Third Precinct Problem Oriented Police Officer Bill Handworth gave a brief update of the latest police incidents in Williston Park.
He said there was an attempted burglary on Dec. 5 on Williams Street. The homeowner came home and thought there had been an attempt to pry open the rear door, but there was no entry, therefore no loss.
Handworth said, "As I said last month, on Dec. 11 at about 2:30 a.m. on the corner of Cross Street and Winthrop Street a patron exiting O'Brien's bar with a duffle bag was walking home and someone came up behind him and hit him in the head and took his duffle bag. However, the contents only contained laundry."
He also announced that the next meeting of the Neighborhood Watch, would be on Feb. 13. He said, "Just to give you an idea that it's good to be involved in the Neighborhood Watch on Dec. 21 at 2:25 p.m. on Coachman Drive, where the Boy Scout Camp used to be, a car pulled up to the house and two men exited and went around to the back of the house and they pried open the wood door. The woman, who was driving the car, backed the car up to the garage. The men inside hit the automatic garage door opener, while the woman remained sitting in the car in the driver's seat. A neighbor across the street comes out of her house and saw the woman sitting in the car and did see the two men going to the back of the house, but she didn't think anything of it. However, the homeowner came home. He rode down the street and he thought maybe it was his daughter because she has a similar car. However, he looked closer and saw it was not his daughter. The woman in the car gets on her cell phone, probably alerting the guys inside the house, and she takes off. The homeowner then calls 911, he describes the car and she is picked up. The two guys take off exiting through the back of the house and they were picked up trying to escape by running from backyard to backyard. The point is, a homeowner across the street saw everything that was going on but didn't think it was out of the ordinary. What we tell all our Neighborhood Watch members is 'don't assume.' Luckily the homeowner came by. The garage door was open and they had all the jewelry and electronics lined up on the garage floor ready to load into the car. When they found the car it had the proceeds from eight prior burglaries from that day. So it was just the luck of the homeowner that he came home, yet it was seen by neighbors. When we cover burglaries we go to all the surrounding homeowners to see if they saw anything out of the ordinary."
Officer Handworth continued, "I am proud to say, in the village, a call came last week from Board Street. A truck drove to the back of the driveway. A neighbor called and informed 911 that the homeowner was away. I responded to the call and sure enough they were in the back of the driveway. The man who called in the attempt had a 'neighborhood watch' decal in his window and he said he did just what he learned at Neighborhood Watch, to check it out. It turned out, however, that the men were checked out and were doing work in the house while the residents were away."
To be a member of the Neighborhood Watch is just to create an awareness. He said that they are still investigating the deliberate auto fire that occurred on Canterbury Road in Williston Park. He said he would report more on it next month. The incident was reported in the Jan. 24 issue of The Illustrated News.
One resident wanted to know if soliciting was allowed in the village and she was told no. Verizon was mentioned and it was pointed out that they are sticking their business cards all around the village. Handworth said, "Solicitors are the greatest way that burglars can gain access to your house. If you don't answer the door, the house becomes a target. Call 911 on solicitors because then we are aware that they are around and I do issue appearance tickets for them if they do not have permission to be in the village. Some vans drop off six kids in the evenings and night and they flood the area with magazines." He stressed that 911 must be called. He said, "Do not call the precinct because they, in turn, must call 911 and that is a delay in time." Before he left he said that Williston Park Trustee Ann Marie Smith was the liaison so anyone with any questions could either call 911 and ask for officer Handworth or they could get in touch with Trustee Smith at village hall at 746-2193.
The mayor then turned the meeting over to Williston Park Village Clerk/Treasurer Walter Moloughney, who called for the board to open a public meeting addressing adequate illumination of parking areas between dusk and dawn.
It was explained, by attorney Richard Reers, that the present code dictates that parking areas must be illuminated during working hours. The amendment will now increase the illumination time of parking areas. It was also stated that the lighting not interfere with any adjoining residential areas.
Since there was no comment about the law, the hearing was closed and the board voted yes on the amendment.
Attorney Reers called to open another public hearing for the purpose of amending the various mentioned codes including to make the village smoking policy a law; prohibit skate boarding, biking, roller skating or roller blading on village facilities, unless approved by an appropriate authority; restrict the hours of the use of village parks from dawn until dusk; change the title of Chapter No. 93, Section 7 from Oil Burners to fuel and gas permits and prohibit commercial traffic on certain village roads except for the purpose of making local residential deliveries.
Attorney Reers said that in light of the discussion held in the work session, he requested that the hearings be closed and heard again at the February meeting. It was agreed by the board, so all those items will be addressed at the next board meeting.
Mayor Odierna announced that he had a cordial meeting with the owner of River Bay restaurant and he has agreed to make sure his employees do not park on Syracuse and Princeton Streets. This should help the residents who live on those streets to be able to park in front of their own houses.
He said, "There are other situations where we hope to alleviate some of the congestion at River Bay and it hasn't been finalized but rather it is a "work in progress." He then turned the meeting over to village clerk Walter Moloughney.
Clerk Moloughney announced that there was a request from the Williston Park Fire Department to hold a flower sale on Feb. 12, 13 and 14. He then asked for a motion.
Mayor Odierna said he would vote to approve of the sale under the condition that the sellers stay in front of the firehouse on Willis Avenue and not roam through the village.
Chamber of Commerce president Maura Clancy said that she was glad the mayor mentioned that fact since it had been an issue last year. Further, she said that there were a lot of safety issues that occurred in front of the firehouse, obstructing the exit of any fire apparatus. She said, "The only reason the police didn't go more often to the location was that the weather was so bad."
Moloughney said that the motion was, "To approve the flower sale by the Williston Park firefighters on Feb. 12, 13 and 14 on the condition that the sale is in or about the firehouse property." The motion was passed by all the members of the board.
Moloughney further announced that the Williston Park Library has requested the use of the Third Floor Assembly room at Williston Park Village Hall on Feb. 11 between 6:30 and 8 p.m. for a teen program. The program was not described. The board voted yes on this motion.
Moloughney announced that the village and the library would co-sponsor a defensive driving class on March 12 at the Third Floor Assembly Room. The board approved this motion as well.
Moloughney said that the Annual Quality of Water Report was going out to all residents and he wanted to give everyone a "heads up" on the report.
Moloughney also announced that the Nassau County Homemakers wanted to use the Assembly Room Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from now until the end of June. The board agreed. But, there was a comment that they only use one parking spot. It was voted on by the board.
Deputy Mayor Saporita announced that the board is proceeding with process to have certain roads repaired using the grant from United States Congressman Gary Ackerman. He said the board has advertised for a design consultant that will help move the process ahead.
Saporita announced the next Architectural Review Board will meet on February 4 at village hall. Since there was no report he asked the head of the board, in the audience, to give a brief update and he said that a homeowner received approval to install solar panels on the back of his house.
He also reported that the Williston Water Board met last week and discussed many items that have been forwarded to the village clerk for comment. The next meeting will be sometime in April and the public will be advised as to when prior to the meeting, so that they can attend if they so choose.
She referred back to officer Handworth's report and added there were 13 parking violations and 27 moving violations in the village. The code enforcers, for the month of December, issued 208 tickets.
She also announced, again, that the next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 at village hall. She added, "Those little Neighborhood Watch decals in each member's window say a lot. You come to the meetings to pick up a few 'tidbits' and basically we want everyone to be the eyes and the ears of the village."
She then thanked Richard Dierlon, personally, for helping out with Operation Santa. He said he has been involved with the program for the last 30 years. Further, she thanked the Ladies Auxiliary of The American Legion and Welcome Wagon for their generous donation to Operation Santa. She also thanked all the "Santas" who helped out and then mentioned one of the most touching events of the program was when "Santa" presented a Chocolate Lab to a home with four children. She added, "If you could have seen the eyes of those children when Santa came in with that little dog, they were speechless and that's what makes Operation Santa so worthwhile."
Smith also announced that the upcoming Egg Hunt will be held on March 16 at 1 p.m. at Kelleher Field. She added, "It will be here before you know it."
Further, she announced that they hope to start up a Hockey League. She said that two fathers have, at their own expense, cleaned up the rink and Smith added that she went down last Saturday and there were six dads working on the rink with about 20 interested kids. She said, "So we're hoping to start up a new league."
One of the dads added, "It would be great if we could get the village to pave the rink, it would be wonderful. He added it would be great if the teenagers could be kept out of the area because they are vandalizing the rink."
Mayor Odierna said if you see the kids just call 911 and let the police handle it, don't even bother chasing them.
Village clerk Moloughney added, "In the original plan, proposed by Deputy Mayor Saporita, the restoration of that rink was in that plan."
Resident Rudy Rosenberg asked the village if there were provisions for insurance at the rink and clerk Moloughney thanked him and said he would look into it.
Trustee Dunn reported that fines collected by Village Justice Alan Reardon amounted to 175 cases collecting fines of $15,410 with New York Surcharges of $1,330. Justice Kevin Kiley heard no cases.
Trustee Mills announced that Feb. 10 is the date of the Senior Valentine's Dance which starts at 2 p.m. at the American Legion Hall. She also announced that King Kullen has graciously agreed to supply all the refreshments for the event. Music will be provided by Steve Griffin.
He reported that court cases were held and collected fines of $11,000.
Superintendent of Public Works Keith Bunnell reported that they answered approximately 21 tree complaints and 10 highway complaints. Further, he said they have finished the winterization of the pool and they have continued with the water meter replacement program and answered 15 street light outage problems.
He added that his department has embarked on one of the biggest "in house" projects. They are trying to fix a drainage problem on Syracuse and Yale Streets. They have to wait to pave until the weather is not as cold.
He added, "The only bad thing is, when they do pave, is that some of the residents take down the barricades at night and drive through the wet cement leaving tire tracks in the nice new cement."
The mayor then passed around a photo of what looked like a beautiful tree, a pin oak tree, but inside the tree it was rotted due to ants and squirrels. Bunnell said it was hard to tell if a tree is good or bad, but in the case of some of the really big trees they have called in an arborist to access the condition of the tree.
Inspector Collins said that unlike other villages, Williston Park is still strong as far as building.
He said, "Just this month we have collected $18,600 for building permits. I just don't see a slow down, in spite of all the media hype. Further, commenting to POP Officer Handworth, I have to say that very often I walk all over your properties and I am sure not everyone knows who I am, but I am never stopped. We walk through yards and no resident ever questions who we are."
He said, in response to an inquiry, that Onyx is for sale and that Wheatley Farms is going to reopen featuring a strong Italian theme. He said the owners have gutted and are cleaning up the place and plan to reopen soon.
Since there were no further questions by the public the board adjourned the meeting. The next meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, since the Feb.18, the original meeting date, is Presidents Day, a holiday for schools and municipalities.