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Village Board Amends Political Signage Local Law

Discusses U.S. Open Week, Creation of Board of Ethics

Several parties and events were approved at the beginning of the June 1 Farmingdale Village Board meeting. Block parties for Balcom Road, Lenox Court and Staples Street were given the OK, as was a food drive collection for the Eve Foundation at the Pops Concerts this summer and the Main Street Mile to be held on Sept. 5.

The board then approved taxi and building permits and documented actions that occurred at the Aug. 4, 2008 meeting to reflect in the minutes. Apparently the hiring of three code officers was approved. Two were hired at $12 per hour and one at $15 per hour. Additionally, at the June meeting, one of the code officer’s salary was increased to $15 per hour.
Beautification Committee Update

Deputy Mayor Pat Christiansen updated residents on the Beautification Committee. She said the committee has been very busy during May.

“We planted from 6 a.m. and worked very hard,” Christiansen added. “The DPW staff volunteered their time and we were joined by Scouts and junior firefighters.”
Christensen also mentioned that they made and put up 300 purple bows in support of Friday’s Relay for Life event to be held at Farmingdale State College.

Tax Certioraris

Both residential and commercial tax certioraris were approved, totaling $35,978.42.
“It should be noted that our tax person Scott Stone reduced these refunds by $11,000,” Trustee Ralph Ekstrand said.

Parking Plans for U.S. Open

The board then voted to establish No Parking rules on certain roads for the week of June 15-21, when the U.S. Open will be at the Bethpage State Park’s Black Course.
There will be No Parking by order of New York State on Melville Road from easterly village line to Main Street, Powell Place, Bethpage Road and Secatogue Avenue from Melville Road to Eastern Parkway.
Additionally there will be No Parking, except with a resident tag on any village streets north of the railroad tracks. This includes Adrienne Court, Anita Place, Arthur Street, Azalea Court, Balcom Road, Barberry Court, Benedict Court, Bethpage Road, Cooper Street, Division Street, Elizabeth Street, Fairview Road, Hamilton Street, Hampshire Drive, Hill Road, Hillside Road, Holly Avenue, Hynes Court, Ivy Street, Jefferson Road, Jerome Drive, Lafayette Road, Laurel Street, Lenox Court, Lenox Road, Lynwood Street, Leonard Street, Lincoln Street, Main Street, Manetto Road, McCarthy Court, Melville Road, Merritt Road, N. Front Street, N. Main Street, Normandy Drive, Oakdale Boulevard, Paine Avenue, Park Avenue, Pinehurst Road, Powell Place, Puritan Lane, Quaker Lane, Ridge Road, Roxbury Street, Secatogue Avenue, Sherman Road, Soma Place, Stern Court, Taylor Road, Thomas Powell Boulevard, Tulane Street and Yoakum Street.
Residents were mailed letters of explanation and issued two parking passes per home. The No Parking rules are in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“There will also be temporary signage up,” Mayor Butch Starkie added.
According to Village Attorney Kevin Walsh, the village is within its right to create parking restrictions and it is listed in the Village Code.
Additionally, during U.S. Open week, Farmingdale Village will host evening entertainment on the Village Green. Visit www.farmingdalevillage.com and click on the U.S. Open link for an updated schedule of events.

Local Law 4 - Public Signage

The board then held a public hearing on Local Law 4, to amend the Village Code 83.6 0, with regard to public signage.
“It’s been problematic for the village when political signs are on the lawns,” Mayor Starkie said.
While initially the board wanted to allow one sign for every open position in the election, they changed the wording after receiving public comment.
Former Mayor George Graf pointed out that during general elections, people could potentially have eight or 10 signs on their lawn.
“When it comes to having multiple signs on the lawns, it’s a quality of life issue,” Graf stated. “Village residents wish to have higher standards.”
Graf pushed for the board to leave the code as is.
After Mayor Starkie thanked Graf for his comment, the board voted to allows signs for up to 30 days, at 2’x2’ in size on residential properties and 4’x8’ in business districts, with no more than three signs on a property at a time.
“We just want to clean it up,” Mayor Starkie said.
Code Enforcement Officer JoAnn Edling added that the village gets several calls and complaints during the general elections regarding signage.
Trustee Ekstrand questioned the fine schedule on signage violations.
Edling said the fine was $1 for every square foot in excess of what is allowed. She also mentioned she had previously written a ticket for such an offense and it totaled $16.50.
“It cost me more to stand there and write the ticket than we collected,” she added.
All trustees voted aye on amending Local Law 4.
Deputy Mayor Christiansen added that she didn’t think most village residents took advantage of this in the past.
“I think it’s great that we live in a country that permits this,” she added.

Creating a Local Board of Ethics

The board then held a discussion on whether to establish a local board of ethics.
This would be to get “a determination, independent of the board on certain ethical issues,” explained Mayor Starkie.
Village Attorney Walsh was hesitant to advise the village to create such a board. He questioned who would determine whether the issue should be brought before the ethics board.
“It ends up being misused,” he said. “You have a Code of Conduct for all elected officials.”
Trustee Ekstrand added that the board “already has so many balls in the air at any given time that this could bog down work.”
Deputy Mayor Christiansen recently attended a conference on this topic and said she thinks “it deserves further study.”
She suggested contacting John Mancini, counsel for the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officers, for further insight.
Currently such ethical issues are brought to the board’s attention. A decision is then made on whether a board member should recuse him/herself from a vote.

Next Village Board Meeting

The next village meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall. Residents are also invited to attend a Work Session at 7 p.m. For more information call 249-0093 or visit www.farmingdalevillage.com.