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Lawrence Trustees Chilled by Snow Covered Sidewalks

Board members say that village didn't do good job ticketing those who created a safety hazard.

When the Village of Lawrence administration announced that all of its resident were in compliance with the law requiring sidewalks to be shoveled, it left a few trustees in disbelief.

“I know today that some weren’t shoveled. There were plenty,” said Deputy Mayor Joel Mael during the board of trustees meeting on Thursday. “When you have one house that isn’t shoveled it forces people into the street. I’m embarrassed.”

The issue arose after Michael Ryder, Lawrence’s Building Department superintendent, said that while 42 notices and three summonses were issued after December’s snowstorm, none were issued after this week’s snowfall. Village Administrator David Smollet also said “everyone was in compliance.”

Trustee Ed Klar pointed out that the village also has a problem with its crosswalks after snow falls, when corners are buried in hard snow and people are forced to climb a mountain. “It’s very unacceptable what happened in the snowstorm,” he said. “We changed the code to give people time to shovel.” When people don’t, he said, “It creates a major danger.”

Another issue is abandoned cars, Trustee Michael Fragin said. They are “impending our snow removal,” he said. “They’re sitting all day at the meter.”

While the trustees had plenty to plow about, they did commend the job the village did with clearing its streets. Fragin said that Lawrence spent less than Cedarhurst did on its snow removal, and was able to clear its municipal lots.

Still, in the future, Mael wants the law to be “enforced vigorously,” he said. “We’re asking for trouble or an accident. It’s a problem waiting to happen.”

Other issues discussed during the meeting:

  • The board discussed the $53,000 purchase of a Bobcat Skid Steer, but after Mael expressed reservations and said he’d like to do more research, the item was tabled.
  • The trustees approved an expense not to exceed $1,700 to send Lawrence Yacht and Country Club General Manager Leo McMahon to Florida to attend the Club Managers Association of America annual conference in February.
  • Lawrence is considering putting a truck restriction or eliminating a sidewalk on William Street, which the board will discuss at its next meeting.
  • The village adopted a policy restricting its employees’ use of the Internet.
  • It also waived the fee for the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department to use the country club for its installation dinner.
  • Mayor Martin Oliner got approval to pursue a grant for $25,000 to plant trees in the village. Lawrence just needs to provide the labor.

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