Written by Betsy Abraham, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 09 October 2013 10:24
The village of Westbury held their second public forum on a proposed law that would prohibit overnight parking in certain sections of the village. If the law passed, it would not take effect until the end of the year, or early next year.
With this proposed law, cars would not be allowed to park on the street from 2 to 6 a.m., unless they have an exemption, which would be manifested in a parking sticker.
The law is the next step in the village’s efforts to crackdown on illegal housing. For several years, the problem of multiple families living in what’s meant to be a single family home has become more and more prevalent. The village has recently increased fines for multiple offenders and conducted more housing sweeps (where building department officials will go into homes in a neighborhood and make sure the house is being legally occupied). According to Mayor Peter Cavallaro, enacting this proposed law will “not get rid of all illegal housing, but will make a significant impact to stop it.”
Residents wishing to park their cars on the street would have to apply for an exemption and it would be granted after an inspection of their home by the building department.
A resident would qualify for an exemption if they had no driveway, if the configurations of their driveway would require them to park behind two or more vehicles, or if a physical handicap would prevent them from walking from a designated off-street parking area to the residence. Allowances are also made for those who need their vehicles parked on their street for job reasons. If the resident is required to have a company vehicle and there is no off-street parking provided, or they are an emergency worker (such as a policemen, firemen, EMT, nurse, or doctor), they can apply for an exemption.
If a resident had three cars, but only room for two in the driveway, the current proposed law states that they would receive one sticker for the car that would be parked in the street. Several residents suggested that if they can provide proof of legal residence and vehicle registration, the village provide each vehicle a sticker.
One of the main problems attendees of the meeting on Oct. 1 had with the proposed law was the question of overnight guests. The proposed law currently states that residents would have to apply for a temporary hardship exemption for a visitor to park a car in front of their home. But what happens if guests stay over unexpectedly, or if a gathering runs later than 2 a.m.?
“Right now I have no limits on when I’m allowed to have visitors. I want my guests to stay whenever they choose. I don’t think I should have to have permission to have people stay over,” one Henry Street homeowner said.
“I feel like you’re inconveniencing the many for just a few people,” an Asbury Avenue woman said.
While several people voiced displeasure over the law, many also expressed their support for it. One Dover Street residence said she was sick of having her neighbors’ cars parked in front of her home.
“I welcome it,” a McKenna Road homeowner said. “There’s a lot of illegal rentals in my area and I can see the declining change in my neighborhood.”
The law wouldn’t affect the whole village, just areas where the problem of illegal housing seems to be more prevalent such as in central Westbury. The streets that were chosen are where 70 percent of the housing cases brought to village court originate from.
“We have to see where this would be more impactful, practical and enforceful,” Cavallaro said. “It’s a fluid analysis. Some areas might be added, some might be subtracted. It’s a surgical strike where we see the problem is the worst”
It has already been in effect for several years in areas of Birchwood Knolls and Sherwood. Some residents from those areas expressed how successful the law has been in keeping the streets, clean as well as safe.
“I think this is definitely a positive,” one Birchwood Knolls resident said. “If you could do it to the whole village I would applaud it.”
“I’m very pleased with it and so are my neighbors,” said a Sherwood Gardens woman. “If someone is parking on the street, in no time the police are there because we are very proactive. Illegal housing is an issue that has to constantly be addressed.”
The board will take comments made at the public forums to change and revise the proposed law. No imminent action will take place, and the law would only be enforced 120 days after being enacted.