On Monday March 20, 2017, the Town of Clay proposed to hold a public hearing for comment on a proposed change to the Town's vehicle and trailer parking ordinance. The specific change was proposed as follows:
"A. No motor vehicle or trailer over 22 feet long, or tractor-trailer cab regardless of length, shall be parked on any Town highway or right of way in any residential district.”
Proposed Law (Changes subsection A and adds subsection B):
"A. No motor vehicle or trailer over 22 feet long, or tractor-trailer cab regardless of length, shall be parked <8 words deleted> in any residential district.
B. No tractor-trailer cab or trailer (trailer is defined as a vehicle not propelled by its own power drawn on the public highway by a motor vehicle) regardless of length shall be parked on any Town highway or right of way”
On Monday April 3, 2017, the Town of Clay held the public hearing for the proposed law change and, upon hearing no comments from the public, 2017-01 was passed unanimously with a 7-0 vote by the Town Board.
Prior to its passage, this ordinance prohibited the parking of large vehicles and trailers (RV's, Campers, Boats, construction trailers, etc) on the street. In the opinions of most residents I've spoken with, it was a very reasonable law that fell into the category of "common sense". The change that was voted into law on 03 APR 2017 however, was put in place to remove the verbiage that pertained to parking on streets and likewise to remove these vehicles and trailers from our residential areas all together.
Other than the legal notice that the Town is required to publish by NYS Town Law §130 (specifying that a public hearing shall be held prior to passing or amending an ordinance and 10 days notice be given of the public hearing in at least one local newspaper), there was little to no notice given to Town residents, in a manner likely to be seen, prior to the start of enforcement. Also, at the admission of Town Officials at a subsequent meeting (held on 19 MAR 2018 to discuss the Ordinance addressed in "Issue 1"), the Town does not issue warnings for violations of §211-29. First violations will result in a summons for court appearance sent via certified mail. Should the home owners fail to appear, arrest warrants are issued.
There is a provision in the law to allow for "deliveries or temporary parking of vehicles for servicing purposes", but it does not define what the terms mean with respect to the subject ordinance thereby leaving enforcement up to the discretion of the Town. While it's probably safe to assumed that this exception applies to the Lowes delivery man dropping off your new washing machine, whether or not it applies to someone parking their camper or boat at their property during the week to "service it" (e.g. unload from previous trip, reload for upcoming trip, wash, charge battery, etc,) is not quite as clear. (NOTE:I contacted code enforcementto ask this exact question as well as how long "Temporary" actually is. As of April 20, 2018 I have not received a response or acknowledgement of receipt of my letter).
§211-29 "C. Notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter to the contrary, the aforesaid prohibition does not apply to deliveries or temporary parking of vehicles for servicing purposes."
Since the passage of 2017-01, dozens of residents have received summonses to appear in court for alleged violations of the Ordinance. Most had no idea the law was changed or that they were in even in violation. The exact number (or even an approximate number) is unknown as the Town seems to be very protective of this data.
In multiple cases, the homeowners cited were in situations where their lots are larger than average and are zoned "RA-100 Residential / Agricultural". They have spent thousands of dollars in landscaping and concrete work to have a pad poured and an area of their property manicured to accommodate their camper. They too received court summonses for violating §211-29A.
The next section of this "issue" will highlight my own personal situation and attempts to gather data from the Town to facilitate the derivation of an impact analysis on the subject Ordinance .
The penalty for violating §211-29A is specified in §211-33 of the Town of Clay Code
§211-33 Penalties for Offenses
"Every person convicted of a traffic infraction for a violation of any provision of this chapter which is not a violation of any provision of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York shall, for a first conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; for a second such conviction within 18 months thereafter, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200 or by imprisonment for not more than 45 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; upon a third or subsequent conviction within 18 months after the first conviction, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment."
Please consider sending the Town Board an email or letter. The contact information for the town Board is on the official Town of Clay website and email addresses are below (as indicated on the Town Website). I've included a pretty easy "Copy & Paste" letter on this "Issue" which pretty much explains the situation and requests action here: https://www.clayissues.com/issue-2-trailer-ordinance/letter-template
Also please consider attending a Town Board meeting to state your opinion. The meetings are usually held every other Monday at 7:30pm and there is typically a time at the beginning when members of the public can state any concerns they have with regard to the Town.
If you have any questions for me, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Town of Clay Website: http://www.townofclay.org/