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North Hempstead delays ATV ban to add confiscation provision

An all-terrain vehicle is driven near the North

An all-terrain vehicle is driven near the North Hempstead Aerodrome in Port Washington on April 2, 2017. The Town of North Hempstead wants to ban ATVs on town property, including parks, driveways and parking lots. Credit: Steven Sunshine

North Hempstead town council members have delayed their vote on banning all-terrain vehicles to add an extra punishment to the proposed law.

Town officials drafted a law that bans ATVs on town property, imposes fines and in some cases includes jail time. However, during Tuesday night’s meeting, Supervisor Judi Bosworth said council members want to also give police authority to impound an ATV. The council will likely vote on the proposal April 25.

Council members didn’t vote on it Tuesday, Bosworth said, because there were too many unanswered details about impoundment.

“How do we arrange them to be towed or moved to storage?” Bosworth asked Tuesday. “Where could we store them safely so they can be retrieved? What conditions could be put on retrieval? If no one retrieves the ATV, what do we do with them? We need to get the answers.”

Port Washington Police Chief James Salerno answered some of Bosworth’s questions at the meeting.

After a resident calls Port Washington police, officers would locate the person riding on town property. The vehicle would be towed by Chester’s Highway Garage of Port Washington, where it would sit in their impound yard until the offender pays a fine, Salerno said. If someone abandons the ATV, Chester’s would put a lien on it and the vehicle would become the garage’s property, he said.

“I believe that if we impound one ATV, we could almost curtail the problem,” Salerno said.

Residents across North Hempstead have told Bosworth and council members that ATV riders are ruining the natural habitat at North Hempstead Beach Park’s Aerodrome area and the Hempstead Harbor Nature Sanctuary.

Bosworth said it’s time to pass the ban because some ATV riders have ignored the town’s pleas to avoid hilly and grassland areas.

“Even when we try to prevent the ATVs from going up the hill by putting up barriers, we couldn’t solve the problem because the barriers were removed,” she said. “Signs were also ineffective; they were just not adhered to.”

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