Babylon law addresses damaged utility poles

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The Town of Babylon has passed a law aimed at wiping out damaged utility poles.

The law requires that when a utility applies to install a pole next to another pole on a town highway or right of way, that utility has 90 days to remove the old pole. Utilities are also required within 15 days of notification to remove any poles the town has deemed damaged or a safety hazard.

Town spokesman Kevin Bonner said this week that the law aims to address the issue of "double" poles. The law, approved last month, also states that when a double pole is found, utilities with equipment on it have 30 days to remove their equipment, and once all of it has been removed, the utility that owns the double pole has 30 days to get rid of it. The penalty for violating any of these scenarios is a fine of up to $250 for each violation, and for each day the violation continues.

Bonner estimates there are 28,000 poles in the town, with about 60 to 70 double poles.

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The town had proposed a similar law in 2011 and held a public hearing but never voted on it. Bonner said the town was waiting for Suffolk County, which passed a pole law last year. Vanessa Baird-Streeter, spokeswoman for County Executive Steve Bellone, said a "limited" number of poles have been removed and no fines levied, but that most poles are on town roads and the county has urged towns to enact legislation.

The county law, like Babylon's, was modeled on one passed by Southampton Town in 2010. Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said that since then, about 1,200 double poles have been removed without fines, but the pace has slowed and the town is considering stepping up enforcement.

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