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Town Board considers increasing penalties for failing to remove snow


The Riverhead Town Board is considering increasing the penalty for those who fail to clear sidewalks of snow in front of their property, as required by town code.

The board acknowledged that pedestrians on Route 58 are often with no alternative but to walk in the street when sidewalks are not clear or stand in the road when bus shelters are piled with snow. The suggested penalty is a $2,500 maximum fine, up from the current $250 fine.

The board is also weighing setting the fines up on tiers so that repeat code offenders would have to pay more than the minimum penalty, as well as whether fines for commercial and residential properties should be differentiated.

“We have to make the fees more than what it’s going to cost them to get somebody out there to remove the snow,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said at Thursday’s Town Board work session.

Deputy town attorney Dawn Thomas said that reasoning was how the suggested increase came about.

“It’s cost effective for people to not remove the snow,” Ms. Thomas said of the $250 penalty.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said town code enforcement officers gave out more than 60 summonses to property owners or occupants who did not clear sidewalks after the most recent snowfall. He noted that snow clearance at bus stops is left to the county.

Photo caption: A sidewalk on Route 58 near the Staples shopping center shown on Feb. 10, one day after a blizzard dumped about 11 inches of snow. Supervisor Sean Walter said clearing bus stops is up to the county. (Credit: courtesy of Bob Johnson).