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Dozens of businesses fined for snow violations, totaling $15K

The Riverhead Town Board has already scheduled an April 4 public hearing on a plan to increase fines for business owners who fail to shovel snow in front of their establishments.

In the meantime, dozens of local businesses have been issued fines at the existing level for violations this past winter.

Last Tuesday, Riverhead Town Justice Lori Hulse issued $250 judgments to 61 property owners, all for violations of the town’s snow and ice removal laws.

That’s a combined $15,250 in fines.

“Excellent. Wow, I’m thrilled,” said Vince Taldone of Flanders, who doesn’t drive due to vision problems and must take public transportation. “I think there’s no other way that this is going to work unless the fines are actually paid and increase with frequency of the violation.”

The town has proposed increasing the fines to up to $2,500 based on how many violations have been issued at that address. Many of the businesses fined this month had also been fined following a series of snowstorms in 2015.

The bulk of the violations went to property owners of businesses fronting Route 58, including shopping centers, car dealers, restaurants, gas stations and even churches.

All of the fines were issued on the same day, Feb. 13, by the same code enforcement officer. The area received about 11 inches of snow that day.

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).