Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00At the beginning of the last New Hyde Park Village Board meeting the board voted on an amended hearing law regarding the use of the village parks as follows:
“All parks, fields and playgrounds owned by the village are for the exclusive use of village residents and their guests except that a non-resident may utilize a park as a member of an organized activity sponsored or sanctioned by the board of trustees.”
Mayor Daniel Petruccio commented, “I don’t think the board is under any illusion that this will close the parks to every possible scenario. However, if we do have a problem then we have another layer of protection and can say, “Are you a resident?” However, if we issued passes, as has been suggested, we would have to check everybody’s passes, if we went that road. For us we thought this is the closest thing we could come to in order to have some amount of control in the parks.“We now have a new Parks Commissioner, Rich Pallisco, and he will be on hand as well as in the summer we have a parks director in each park. Now, we can ask anyone who isn’t a resident to leave the park if they are misbehaving. Prior to this law we did not have that ability.”
A resident, who lives close to the park, said, “I think this comes down to common sense, if the parks are being maintained at taxpayers’ expense and will it at some point in time result in an increased cost to enforce? Does this cover Little Leagues that come from all over?”
Mayor Petruccio said, “The only time teams that are not from New Hyde Park play on our fields is during tournament season. For the rest of the season New Hyde Park teams play against each other. I only know, since I live right there, that there are kids, during the summer, in the parks until 10 p.m. playing basketball. And, this is our way of addressing that situation. We also know our limitations and we cannot put any additional personnel in place.”
The board then passed the local parks law.
Regular Board Meeting
The regular meeting then began with a reading of a very long list of license renewals along with restaurant, dance, used car and games renewals. The only one that was tabled, for the time being was Empire Billiard, 1215 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, and that was in part because of the number of complaints associated with the location of Empire Billiard.
Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro said, “Well, I don’t disagree, but I think we held off last year and I don’t think we did anything, as far as I recall.”
However, Building Superintendent Thomas Gannon said, “I don’t have any outstanding issues against them at this time. They are in compliance at this time.”
Mayor Petruccio said, “I received one complaint last fall from a resident.”
Gannon replied, “It could be the same complaint I had and there are always random complaints about loitering and parking at night. This is also the winter, so that may change.”
Lofaro said, “So let’s make sure we mark this in the agenda as an open item so that we can look to see if we approved Billiard’s license from last year.”
The first person to speak was a resident who said he had a problem with the parking meters in the municipal parking lot.
He said, “Those meters are ridiculous and you have jacked up the prices on us. Three times in a row I have gone to a meter that did not work and had to jump back in my car to find another meter and missed my train.”
Lofaro said, “You need about 29 quarters? Well, when we raised the price of the vouchers from $3 to $4 we raised the price of the meters from 25 cents an hour to 25 cents a half-hour and that probably requires twice as many quarters as before.”
The man who was complaining continued, “The taxi stand men are taking spaces. As a working class guy, I would like to see some action.”
Lofaro said, “You are actually a customer and we want to hear what you have to say. I also get very annoyed when I see the taxis in those spots. I commute as well, and I get a lot of complaints about that lot. I intend to speak to our public works commissioner to see what can be done about the amount of quarters that have to be used in those meters.”
The resident said, “Then when you come home you have a ticket, because you have run out of quarters, which is very frustrating.”
Resident Complains About
The next speaker was a resident who lives in the vicinity of Empire Billiard. He said, “I don’t see the code enforcement guys until 2 or 2:30 a.m. If they were there at midnight, they could easily ticket at least five cars. This has been going on for three years and there are no changes.”
Mayor Petruccio then asked Superintendent Gannon, “How many Saturday nights is the code enforcer they have specifically assigned to this location on duty?”
Gannon said, “He is on every Saturday night and the only Saturday he is not there is if he needed the night off. We changed the whole schedule so that there would be a code enforcer there on Saturday nights.”
The resident continued, “Another incident happened on the last Sunday in January. There was an ambulance and emergency cars called and they had to park in the middle of the street, since there was no parking anywhere, since they were impeded by illegally parked cars. There was a firetruck parked in front of my house with only one-foot clearance. If that was a fire, it would have been a disaster. The Floral Park firetruck, who answered the call, had to back down the street to Jericho Turnpike.”
He then asked, “Have any of you ever gone down there to see what is going on and what did you think about it?”
Deputy Mayor Lofaro said, “Yes, I have. There were six vehicles and three of them were summoned. Three were not. Cars pulled up and the occupants got out of the car and I asked them if they were aware that this was no parking from 12 midnight to 5 a.m. They had not looked at the signs; only saw that cars were parked in the area. I am sure that unless someone like me was parked there for the 5-hour period, they are not looking for signage.”
The resident added, “You know this only happened when they got a liquor license and nothing has been done.”
Mayor Petruccio said, “We opposed it when they received the liquor license.”
The resident said, “You know they are sitting in their cars, on my block, drinking.”
Lofaro said, “But for us to say they are drinking liquor they purchased somewhere else, we would need some events to occur on those premises that would help the Third Precinct help us to lobby for them to lose their liquor license.”
Mayor Petruccio said, “I am not going to accept your statement that nothing has been done to correct the situation. We have done the best we can within the power of this village. We changed the entire schismatic within a six-block radius in every direction. Adding a code enforcer on Saturday night, that was doing nothing? So, unless you are willing to revise your statement I don’t think we can have this conversation.”
The resident said, “What about the incident I told you about?”
Mayor Petruccio said, “This is the first I have heard about it. We have made alterations and to revoke a license is a very, very difficult thing to do.”
Lofaro said, “We will check with the third precinct to see how many tickets they have written in this location. We have to follow the guidelines of what we can do as far as the billiard location is concerned, as far as the law is concerned. They have rights and we have to be very careful that we don’t overstep our boundaries.’
It was also inquired as to why the same ‘no parking’ law hours are not required on Jericho Turnpike.
Lofaro said, “We did have those laws on Jericho Turnpike, but a resident contacted the state and they said we were not allowed to issue parking laws on a state road, so we had to remove those signs but the signs are back up.”
The conversation regarding Empire Billiard ended and the board then went to trustee reports:
Trustee Robert Coppola
Trustee Robert Coppola reported that the New Hyde Park Fire Department is currently conducting a subscription drive. He reminded all residents to make sure that the donations are going to the New Hyde Park Fire Department.
He also reminded all residents to make sure that the number of their house is displayed in a prominent place on their house so that the firemen can see it. Also, please remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
He then introduced the members of the New Hyde Park Auxiliary Police. He reminded residents that they do not issue tickets but they are the eyes and ears of the Nassau County police department.
Captain John Concannon then spoke a few moments and said that now they have two cars that are in service 7 nights-a-week. He said, “The good news is that this service does not cost the village a dime. We are your eyes and ears and we help out with parades and other events in the village.”
He also introduced two new members: Sgt. Gonser and APR Amato.
Coppola continued with a report that the parks are gearing up for the summer and they are receiving requests for the use of the park which are going to Parks Superintendent Rich Pallisco and how they are working on fixing the tennis and basketball courts for this year.
Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro
“Regarding the Road Improvement Project” Lofaro said, “We are meeting with our engineers D’Virka and Bartilucci and they will go over with us what we can do. We do have a bond we will be paying off so that we can then float another bond for road evaluation. The listing that we currently have is 7th Avenue, South 5th Street, First Avenue and South 12th Street, but before we officially publicize those roads, let’s see what the engineers have to say and how much we will have to spend. The other thing is that, as the mayor indicated, we will be discussing the budget and we will have to get $357,000 in pensions.”
Lofaro continued, “As far as equipment goes, we still have not taken possession of our new dump truck with the new plow and the new sander because we think if we do not take possession of it, we won’t need it! We have also put an order in for a new vehicle for a 2004 Jeep that has more than 400,000 miles and use it as a car for the Department of Public Works, because their car went down to DPW as a code car. That will take 6 to 8 weeks and it is a budgeted item.”
Trustee Donald Barbieri
Trustee Barbieri reported that Project Jericho Turnpike is being discussed back and forth with the project designer and the DOT regarding the type of pavement to be used in the project. He added, “We are still hopeful that we will be able to go out to bid for this project in the spring of 2012.”
He said, “Lisa Miranda has been working for many years on the Cultural Committee and would like to add new members to her committee, so please give me a call and come on out to help her out.”
Trustee Lawrence Montreuil
Trustee Montreuil said that many summonses were issued for various infractions including roofers working without permits and landscapers without permits.
Plus, he announced that the building department has announced that there is interest in some of the empty buildings for new businesses. He also announced that 44 building permits were issued in January and the permit fees have generated almost $6,000 in revenue.
Mayor Daniel Petruccio
Mayor Petruccio said that he and Deputy Mayor Lofaro at the conclusion of this meeting would be going into a budget meeting that is open to the public.
Petruccio then said, and prefaced that it was his opinion and not that of the board, “In reference to the police plan to cut precincts, I’m all for a plan that will cut expenses without endangering our residents. I just think we cannot continue to do business the way we have always done business. I think that when we have these issues they immediately become partisan. If this had been a Tom Suozzi, proposal then the Republican legislators would have been opposing it instead of the other way around. Again, this is just Dan Petruccio speaking.”
Auditor Bill Barrett Report
Bill Barrett gave his extensive auditor report and the bottom line is that the report was very positive for the village and he thanked all the employees for their cooperation during the extensive audit. Anyone wishing further information regarding the audit may contact the New Hyde Park Village offices at 354-0022.
The meeting finally ended and the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. at New Hyde Park Village Hall, corner of New Hyde Park Road and Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park.