Written by Katherine M. Trager Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
The Westbury Village Board of Trustees held a brief meeting on Nov. 3 to update residents on current village events and issues, namely an intensified focus on locating and removing illegal housing units within the village.
According to Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro, the village has directed its building department to devote specific days entirely to housing enforcement issues in areas where it is required most.
“Housing enforcement is not about kicking people out of the neighborhood,” stated Cavallaro.
“It’s about ensuring that everybody in the village is living in a safe and habitable environment,” he continued, citing a past situation in the village in which people living in illegal apartments perished in a fire due to inadequate building exits.
“The way we are addressing the issue is from a health and safety standpoint, as well as from a code standpoint,” Cavallaro explained.
“For example, our code states that if you have a one-family house, you can’t divide it into two or three separate family units, where you can’t get from one to the other without going through separate entrances,” said Cavallaro.
“The village also passed an ordinance last month which strengthened the code in regard to preventing people from converting garages into living space,” he added.
“These are a couple of the regulations that we can enforce by issuing summonses.
“We are seeing results in terms of additional cases being brought to the court, as well as additional evidence being obtained to bring cases to court in the future,” stated the mayor.
Following the mayor’s report was an update on the Village Public Safety Commission from Chairwoman Gloria Monitto.
“The village recently received two awards from the American Automobile Association for its public safety efforts,” said Monitto.
“One is an award for having no pedestrian fatalities in the village for a sustained period of time, and the other is a silver award which we won for our safety programs,” she explained.
“We’re aiming for the platinum award, which is the highest. The AAA representatives said that they wouldn’t be surprised if we do win the platinum award next time,” stated Monitto.
Monitto also informed the audience about the commission’s plans to implement a new burglary prevention program. The proposed program received strong support from the board as well as residents in attendance due to recent crime concerns in the community.
The Public Safety Commission, which normally assists the village in decision-making on matters involving vehicle and traffic safety, also had input on a new local law. The new law, which amended two sections of the village vehicle and traffic code, was enacted at the meeting after a brief public hearing.
The first part of the law formally adopted the existing 20 miles per hour speed limit on the Carle Road bridge as part of the village code, and the second part removed current parking restrictions on Albany Avenue at the request of residents.
“We’re very glad that this law was passed. People don’t have the sight clearance on Carle Road to go over 20 mph,” stated Monitto.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, a resident expressed concern about the number of political signs on both public and private properties, and asked if the village had any policies on their removal.
“If a political sign is posted on public property, like a telephone pole, any resident is entitled and legally able to remove that sign,” said the mayor.
“On private property, the village permits reasonable-sized political signs on a temporary basis,” he continued.
“We also put the political parties on notice that they’re supposed to remove the signs on public property within a certain period of time after an election, but in the past, we have sent the Department of Public Works to remove them after Election Day,” stated Cavallaro.
The mayor added that residents who do wish to remove political signs on public property may bring the signs to DPW for disposal.