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Flower Hill Village requires hydrants be cleared of snow, ice

Elaine Phillips is the mayor of Flower Hill,

Elaine Phillips is the mayor of Flower Hill, where officials may voted to require property owners to clear snow and ice from hydrants. Credit: Uli Seit

Flower Hill officials have passed a law requiring property owners to clear hydrants of snow and ice so firefighters have better access to them.

The 7-0 vote Monday night authorized an amendment to the village's code on property maintenance.

The past winter's storms buried hydrants, and firefighters have relied on tracking software more than usual this year to find them, officials said.

"This is a common-sense law, for the safety of all of our residents," Mayor Elaine Phillips said. The village of roughly 5,000 residents has about 250 hydrants managed by three water districts.

Some hydrants have 3-foot high steel or flag markers placed above hydrant tops while others have additional location identification.

Village officials have said they plan to issue warnings before resorting to the fines for violations.

Officials will investigate the circumstances surrounding buried hydrants and may clear them for residents who cannot, Phillips said.

"The village's intention is to never have to fine anyone," she said. "We would be more than glad to do it for them."

The village code allows residents to be fined no more than $2,500 for civil violations.

A similar change was considered in 2011 by North Hempstead Town, but officials dropped a proposed requirement for residences, instead mandating hydrants be cleared by commercial property owners.

Town council members had raised concerns about residents who were elderly, out-of-town, or who had cleared their hydrants only to see them covered by passing plows.

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