East Williston couple seeks retroactive OK for removing sidewalk

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East Williston's Village Hall.

By Kristy O’Connell

The East Williston village Board of Trustees tabled a motion Monday to relieve two village homes of a property violation upon the village attorney’s request that the board research its authority to retroactively grant such relief.

Tom and Joan Brodrick of East Williston, which live on Sumter Avenue, have recently been asked to replace part of a sidewalk that they say is no longer their responsibility. They are now asking the board to relieve them of this obligation.

“It is arbitrary and capricious for the village to allow most of the houses not to have sidewalks but to single out” certain homes, Tom Brodrick said, calling the situation “selective enforcement.”

On Oct. 18, the Brodricks and their neighbor, who asked not to be identified, appeared at Village Court to respond to village summonses regarding the illegal removal of sidewalk in front of their properties, Tom Brodrick said.

The Brodricks said their home at 10 Sumter Ave. is one of a few homes on the block that have a sidewalk. The houses on either side of 10 Sumter Ave. and 14 Sumter Ave. do not have sidewalks.

A large portion of the 90 feet of sidewalk that the Brodricks removed was in very poor condition due to damage that followed renovations at their neighbor’s property at 8 Sumter Ave.

After the Brodricks presented their case at the Village Court, Tom Brodrick said, an agreement was reached in which the couple would plead guilty for removing village property and pay a fine without the couple having to replace the sidewalk.

Though the Brodricks believed the issue was resolved, they received a letter on Feb. 13 asking them to make arrangements to replace the sidewalk.

Trustee Anthony J. Casella made a motion to grant relief of sidewalk violations to the owners of 10 Sumter Ave. and 14 Sumter Ave., which would close the Brodricks’ case with the Village Court.

But the village attorney, Jeffrey Blinkoff, said he is unsure sure the board has such authority.

While an application can be made to remove or change village property before work is done, Blinkoff said, this case would be granting retroactive permission, something that may not be within the board’s jurisdiction.

“It’s a very deep, broad issue, determining whether or not an individual has the right to take village property and whether or not a court has the right to overstate village law,” village Mayor David Tanner said.

Also on Monday, the Board of Trustees voted to set a public hearing for Monday, April 3 on the proposed 2017-18 village budget and on changes to certain fees.

When asked at the meeting to further describe the fee changes, Tanner referred the question to the village office, saying he did not have information immediately available. The changes will be outlined at the public hearing, he said.

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