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More than 200 Williston Park residents, last Monday night, crammed into the meeting room upstairs at Williston Park Town Hall for yet another hearing on the Rental Registration Law.

Just minutes prior to the start of the 7 p.m. meeting a copy of the new law was handed out to the residents, many who later claimed they did not have a chance to read and digest it.

In the new law an inspector to determine if a landlord was in compliance was eliminated, but a fee still remained to what the board said was to "process the law."

Village Board Attorney Richard Reers led the meeting by setting the stage and drafting out what was in the newly drafted law.

However, hardly into the meeting, that lasted until after 10 p.m., residents took the floor in protest to the new law stating, quite vehemently, that the board didn't listen to the residents' complaints or requests and the bottom line of all requests was to just rescind the law and, if necessary, draft a new law.

Williston Park Board Trustee Beth Swendsen-Dowd more or less fielded the answers from the board and she explained the only reason she was doing that was that she was a "talker" and didn't mind answering questions from the public.

She stated that the real reason for the law was the safety of the rental residents in making sure they are protected by both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, but also to raise money, in the form of a fee for the village in order to process the law and to make sure the owners and multi-family homeowners are in compliance with the law.

That prompted an even greater outcry from the residents who said, collectively, that the village was "dumping" on owners of two-family houses and that if they were to be charged for providing safety for their tenants then the entire village residents should be charged for providing safety in their homes.

One homeowner pointed out that if a next-door neighbor's house went on fire, due to the lack of a smoke detector, his home would also be in danger.

After going back and forth and listening to many residents, some who spoke two or three times, the board took a very brief respite and attorney Reers announced that a moratorium would be enforced for the law until March 31 which will be after another hearing set for March 9 at 7 p.m. It is hoped that the village will be able to obtain the American Legion Hall, 750 Willis Avenue, for that hearing, in order to accommodate many more residents. However, since that venue is not confirmed, all residents will be able to check that information by going on the village website at Taxes@WillistonPark.org.

Because they want a greater voice in the village many residents have gotten together and formed a Williston Park Civic Association to be led by President Vincent Siegfried and Vice Presidents Terry Thoman and Kay Feltman with Robert Mitchell as treasurer. They, too, handed out fliers on Monday night stating their general meeting would be held on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Willis Avenue.


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