Resident Demands Board Clean Up Snow on Village Streets

Ice and snow on Greenport streets pose a safety issue, some residents say.

Piles of snow and treacherous ice on the streets of Greenport have some residents calling for action.

At Monday's Greenport village board meeting Renee Carey said while she praised the village crews out day and night during storms, the condition of the streets after the snowfall has sparked concern.

"You need to make this village user-friendly," she said.

Carey gave the board a list of spots around the village that are ice-covered and dangerous, including a walkway area near the ferry and the boardwalk near Mitchell Park.

"When the boardwalk gets wet it's like walking on the ice rink," she said.

In addition, Carey said some alleys between village businesses are also dangerous for pedestrians.

Just trying to get to the pharmacy, Carey said she had to get help from a neighbor to "help me over a mound of ice" because a car had parked in the area cleaned off by the business owner for pedestrians.

If the village can't handle the problem, Carey suggested the Greenport Village Business Improvement District be brought into the conversation, to help make streets pedestrian friendly after storms.

One answer might be to offer merchants the opportunity to have their businesses plowed, with a bill sent to them later.

"There has to be a solution," she said. "Everyone I talk to feels the same way."

Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said with the exception of the boardwalk, most of the areas mentioned by Carey are private property. He said a greater number of summonses have been issued to property owners in violation of the village code than in past years.

The mayor also said he'd reached out to the BID and that he intends to discuss the matter with them again.

"This was an inordinately difficult winter," Nyce said, with a number of storms and ice forming under new snow. "This winter was tough."

Nyce added that, as someone who works with wood, the boardwalk poses a challenge; wood, he said is a "notoriously horrible" surface in ice and snow. Using salt will rot the wood, he said. Short of putting down mats, which present their own issues, the mayor said he was not sure of what the solution will be.

Trustee Julia Robins said she, too, had been working to deal with concerns of residents and had taken photos of snow and ice-covered trouble spots in the village; she said she had been encouraging businesses to shovel their properties. 

"You have to do it," Carey said. "Send the people the bill or add it to their taxes."

Nyce said the problem is that notice has to be given to residents, allowing them time to comply, and by the time they do, most often, the snow has melted.

Looking ahead, Nyce said he'd like to hire a code enforcement officer whose job it will be to ensure all properties, both commercial and residential, are cleared after snow; that person would also be responsible for brush removal.

Nyce added that the village has been getting "more forceful" with summonses and also, residents have been more apt to park in municipal lots and off the streets during snow events.

Of the snow removal, Carey added, "Speed it up a little bit."

Rena Casey-Wilhelm February 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM
As a Greenport Business Owner, we shoveled mounds of snow off of the sidewalk in front of our shop & not just 24" of space, the entire sidewalk. Later, the village plows clobbered us with their snow from the streets & we had to yet again, shovel it all away. I was physically near impossible. Additionally, the 2 absent landlords on either side of us shoveled NADA!!! there was no way to get to our shop unless you walked in the middle of the street. Last year summons went out almost immediately. You can't enforce the laws only some of the time or when it is convenient. And if the village is going to bury us with their own snow removal, then they should wipe out the sidewalks too!!!
William Swiskey sr February 25, 2014 at 02:48 PM
As usual with this Mayor it's someone elses fault. The problem here was not the merchants. The problem was the piles of snow on the edges of the sidewalks and curb areas, The village failed to remove these piles and they became ice mountains. The mayors explanation we tought it would melt. The forecast for the next seven day was for temps well below the point at which snow melts. We know that all Gpt facilities have internet access, no one clicked on weather??? I guess it falls in the same category as $108,000 penalties.
Bernadette Hoban February 26, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Snow removal is a great job for the teenagers, maybe a program can be started to have teens remove the snow for cash. It's a win win
John February 26, 2014 at 07:17 AM
Ms. Hoban, a similar idea was suggested at the meeting on Monday night about hiring shovelers and the Mayor was not receptive.
William Swiskey sr February 26, 2014 at 09:05 AM
Mayor Kapell did it on a regular basis


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