Plowed-in driveways cause ire in Southold

The Southold Town Highway Department in Peconic preps The Southold Town Highway Department in Peconic preps for the approaching blizzard. (Feb. 7, 2013) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

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Southold highway Superintendent Peter Harris said he believes he did a pretty good job of clearing the roads after last week's storm.

But he told the town board Tuesday night that he's gotten nothing but complaints. Not about the roads, but driveways.

"I must have gotten 50 or 60 phone calls," he said. "They want to know when I'm coming back to take my snow out of their driveways."

Harris said it was the first time in 11 years in office that he has gotten more than a few complaints about snow plowed up into driveways. "It's not that we don't have compassion. I just can't do it."

Southold Town was spared the worst, with about 13 inches of accumulation in Mattituck, about half of the 26 inches in the hamlet of Mount Sinai in the Town of Brookhaven, but more than the 10 inches reported in the City of Long Beach by the National Weather Service.

Still, there were drifts and other problems common to the open spaces of the East End, and just two main roads in the entire town that had to be kept clear. The town supervisor Scott Russell declared a state of emergency, and -- on the whole -- local residents have praised the town's response: except for the driveways.

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Harris told the town board that he does not have the staff or the equipment to stop at every driveway to shovel snow left by plows. And, his only suggestion to the town board was just as unrealistic. "Maybe they should call the sheriff," he said, explaining that all those prisoners in orange jump suits could be given shovels.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell had a more creative, tongue-in-cheek suggestion, that everyone call their county legislator, Al Krupski, who served on the town board until being elected to the Suffolk Legislature on Jan. 14.

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