Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00
The village of Westbury will continue talks on proposed legislation to restrict overnight street parking during next week’s board of trustees meeting.
With the proposed law, cars would not be allowed to park on streets in specific areas of the village from 2 to 6 a.m. Residents who have no driveway or that would have to park behind more than two cars could apply for an exemption, which would be granted after
an inspection of their home by the building department. Officials would have to verify that there was no space for them to park their cars and that they were not illegally renting out their home, before allotting parking stickers. Residents would only get one sticker per car that would be parked on the street, not stickers for all the cars in the household.
The village held two public forums on the topic last fall and over 200 residents came out to express concerns and ask questions. From feedback and comments at those sessions, the legislation has been modified.
“Most comments were positive about the change,” said village Mayor Peter Cavallaro. “Most of the concerns have been about the logistics, not the concept itself.”
At the request of residents, several streets have been added to the original list. One of the main concerns raised at the public sessions was what would happen in the case of overnight guests. What provisions were in place if guests stayed past 2 a.m. or overnight?
“We’re going to do something where residents can email or call a dedicated phone line and say they have overnight visitors, and they’ll get a temporary pass,” Cavallaro said. “We’ll have it set up so it goes directly to code enforcement officers and we’ll have a record of it in case they do get a summons by accident.”
The law is the village’s next step in cracking down on illegal housing. Over the past several years the village has increased fines for landlords who have illegally rented their property multiple times, and conducted more housing sweeps (where building department officials will go into homes in a neighborhood and make sure the house is being legally occupied). Cavallaro says that restricting overnight parking is a cheaper way to cut down on the problem than other alternatives, such as increasing building department staff.
“This proposal will have an impact without increasing expenses to our budget,” says Cavallaro. “If we are truly serious about the problem, we have to take serious measures.”
Cavallaro noted that the Birchwood and Sherwood Gardens areas of the village have had these restrictions in place for over 30 years and that illegal housing is far less of a problem in those neighborhoods.
“It certainly is a factor as to why those places have stayed less impacted. You have many more cars on the street at night and much more illegal housing in areas that don’t have the legislation in place,” Cavallaro said. “I think this will have an impact, the question is whether residents want to have a minor inconvenience to have that impact.”
No action would be taken on the legislation at the next meeting. Cavallaro says that if the legislation was to be passed, the earliest would be the end of February or in March. If it is passed, there will be a three or four month phase-in period, wherein residents will be educated on the law and have time to accommodate the changes.
Residents are invited to voice their opinion on the proposed legislation during the Feb. 6 Village Meeting which will take place at Village Hall at 7:30 p.m. To find out if your street will be affected by the change, call Village Hall at 516-334-1700 or find the list on the Village of Westbury, New York Facebook page.