Watchdog: Police enforcement at No Stopping Anytime sign

John Cahill stands near a no stopping sign John Cahill stands near a no stopping sign that he says is ignored many times near St. Joseph's Church in Kings Park. (June 14, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Ed Betz

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Judy Cartwright Judy Cartwright

Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column ...

For 20-plus years, there has been a terrible traffic situation in Kings Park near St. Joseph's Church, at Church Street and Old Dock Road. Churchgoers park in the street, despite No Stopping Anytime signs and a church parking lot that sits 80 percent empty. The streets aren't wide enough for parked cars and two cars driving opposite directions.

-- John Cahill, Shoreham

We expect the streets to be easier to navigate this summer, Mr. Cahill.

Officer Susan LaVeglia of the Suffolk County Police Department's Fourth Precinct told us that an extra enforcement effort will be launched to address the parking problem.

Officers also contacted the church last month, LaVeglia said. Church staff said they would put a notice in the bulletin or make an announcement at Mass asking parishioners to use the parking lot.

"The staff at the church has made numerous requests to the parishioners in the past to adhere to the signs, but are happy to do so again," LaVeglia said. This is the first time the precinct has been notified of the problem, she said.

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Church staff confirmed that the precinct reached out to them and they plan to again ask parishioners not to park on the streets. Cahill told us in an email he had earlier expressed concern to church staff in hopes parking could be corrected without involving police.

MICHAEL R. EBERT

It never occurred to Margarete Gray that the sump next door would cause a headache like this one. And for anyone else who lives next to public property, consider hers a cautionary tale.

Gray's Elwood home is next to a sump that, until Sandy, was hidden by a surround of tall evergreens. The storm left many of the trees lying on her yard or leaning onto the sump's fence.

Now she needs to make repairs to her driveway. She noticed stones along a border were out of alignment and the surface was damaged after the trees were removed.

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Gray initially contacted Watchdog in the spring: She had presumed that Huntington would haul the trees away -- after all, the town had planted them decades ago as a border for the town sump -- but the town told her that removal was her responsibility. But when we spoke with Bill Dietz of the Highway Department, he told us the site was indeed on the town's cleanup schedule.

Gray was then notified by a May 3 letter that she would need to sign a waiver of liability before town crews could go onto her property to remove the trees. The waiver stated she would not hold the town responsible "in the unforeseen event of any damage caused."

She signed, and the trees were removed. And she then noticed that her driveway looked the worse for wear.

In recent weeks we asked Town Hall and the Highway Department if the waiver leaves any wiggle room that would allow reimbursement for driveway repairs; we're still waiting for a response.

Gray is hoping there won't be any more damage when work around the sump, including fence repairs, is completed. She hasn't gotten a repair estimate yet, just in case.

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-- JUDY CARTWRIGHT

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