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Riverhead considering weather-related parking ban

Plows clear snow and slush as they travel

Plows clear snow and slush as they travel on Route 58 in Riverhead on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 Credit: Randee Daddona

Parking could soon be banned on local streets in Riverhead Town during snow emergencies.

The town board held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed code change requiring that cars be off the streets between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. whenever a snow or winter-storm emergency is declared.

"This is important, and we will enforce it," said Councilman James Wooten. "But first, we have to enact it."

The town board, following its normal procedure, voted to keep the public hearing open for 10 days for written comment starting Wednesday, and the new law could come up for a vote as soon as the next regular board meeting on March 18.

The proposal drew almost no comment at the public hearing, and there was some discussion among board members about where people who live on some of the town's older and narrower streets would put their cars.

Under the proposal, the town supervisor or his or her designee, including the town highway superintendent and police chief, would have the power to declare a snow emergency when weather forecasts call for heavy snow, freezing rain, ice or other problems that would make driving and snow plowing difficult.

The restriction would remain in effect until the supervisor's office or designee declares the weather emergency over. Before the restriction can be imposed or lifted, town officials would have to notify at least one local radio station. Notice would also be posted on the town website.

Cars left on the street could be towed at the owner's expense, which would include towing and storage costs, as well as a fine of as much as $250.

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