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Brightwaters passes law against cutting village trees and shrubs

Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012,

Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012, houses the village court, board of trustees meetings, vehicle and traffic department, and more. Credit: Brittany Wait

The Brightwaters Village Board passed laws to levy fines on anyone who cuts down trees or shrubbery on village rights-of-way, and to limit use of nonvegetative or nonimpervious surfaces in residents’ backyards.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the two laws at its monthly meeting Monday.

Fines for cutting down trees and shrubbery on village rights-of-way or public spaces will start at $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third offense.

Village attorney John Finnerty said that state law prohibits the village from levying greater fines as a deterrent. “There is a cap on it, and it’s in that range,” he said of the proposed fines.

The second law restricts the use of artificial, nonimpervious materials in residents’ backyards, such as driveways.

If the plot is larger than 15,000 square feet, the limit is no more than 30 percent of the rear yard area can be composed of nonvegetative, nonimpervious material. If the property is less than 15,000 square feet in size, the limit is no more than 35 percent of the rear yard area.

The village defines non-impervious surfaces to include decks, patios, walkways, sheds, rear garages, and other outbuildings. The law will not be applied retroactively, Finnerty said.

The board will also hold a public hearing at 8 p.m. April 7 at village hall on a proposal to pierce the state mandated tax cap if necessary.

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