Post-winter, obstructions law amended

A brutal winter has led to a minor alteration to town law that forbids residents from dumping or pumping water into the streets and sidewalks. Photo/Phil Nobile

A brutal winter has led to a minor alteration to town law that forbids residents from dumping or pumping water into the streets and sidewalks. Photo/Phil Nobile

A minor amendment was recently made to a Harrison law centering on obstructions in public sidewalks and streets after a particularly brutal winter caused numerous icy incidents.

The “Streets and Sidewalks” law in Harrison’s code was changed to include violations from residents dumping water into streets or sidewalks throughout the town. Cited as a “deficiency” in the original law, the town’s attorneys incorporated the provision at the May 1 Town Council meeting.

“[The new law] serves to prevent people from discharging water onto a public roadway, because we had a couple spots where road crews were going out every night to salt where people continued to eject water onto roadways,” Village Attorney Jonathan Kraut said.

Passed unanimously by the Town Council at the council’s May 1 meeting, the amendment specifically states that any “person, firm or entity” is forbidden from pumping water from drains or any water source “toward or onto the streets, sidewalks or rights of way” throughout Harrison.

Town Attorney Frank Allegretti said no particular incident or litigation was a driving factor in amending the law, but the town was suffering from additional road crew costs accrued during the winter.

“There were just issues of public safety,” Allegretti said. “The formation of ice on our roadways and surfaces and sidewalks was happening at an alarming rate. We have to be able to control it.”

The code also now allows for code enforcement officers to issue violations instead of just members of the Department of Public Works. According to Allegretti, this was to make the process easier instead of waiting for another official to issue the ticket because the enforcement officers “observe the conditions” throughout the town as well.

Penalties for violating the new amendment are up to $250 or up to 15 days imprisonment, according to the town code. The appearance tickets require violators to show up to town court and go before a town judge, where they are normally coaxed to comply with the applicable law and abide by Harrison’s code according to Allegretti.

“Typically we get people to comply and remediate whatever violations exist, and once they take care of it we usually dispose of the case after agreement of fine,” he said.

-Reporting by Phil Nobile