Its a filthy job, but someone has to do it. Members of Community Board 11 are taking a stand against the citys dirty area rule, where Department of Sanitation (DOS) officials can give hefty tickets to residents if just up to five pieces of litter are found in front of their homes. During a meeting held Thursday, board members approved a resolution demanding that the DOS place a moratorium on dirty area tickets until the law could be better evaluated. Officials at Community Board 11 said that they have fielded dozens of complaints from area residents who claim that they are pelted with dirty area tickets every time the wind and the candy wrappers, bits of paper and other light refuse that come with it blows. If theyre not quick enough to pick the garbage up, theyre liable to get hit with a fine, they said. Tickets, depending on the severity of the problem, range from $65 to over $100, board members groaned. Were not against the Department of Sanitation writing summonses, said Howard Feuer, Community Board 11s district manager. But we are getting a lot of calls. One of the calls came from an 85-year-old woman that lives off of Bay Parkway a major commercial strip who has received several of these tickets, Feuer said. Its very difficult for some to deal with this dirty area violations, he said, adding that another resident had complained that he received a dirty area ticket for garbage a sanitation officer found thirty feet away from the sidewalk. There may be a piece of paper lying in front of someones house, but that doesnt mean its a dirty area, Feuer said. Five pieces of paper in front of a property is not a big deal when your property is sixty feet by 100 feet. If someone has twelve weeks worth of circulars lying on their stoop and this can be seen from the sidewalk, that deserves a dirty area ticket, said Feuer, adding that the summonses should be generated by complaints to the community board or 311, rather than the eagle eyes of roving DOS workers. If the rule is re-evaluated, Feuer said that he would also ask that DOS personnel come equipped with digital cameras so they could record the messes they are writing summonses for. Community Board 11s moratorium already seems to have the support of the local elected officials, many of whom claim that they, too, have received several calls about dirty area tickets. Just today we had someone come in complaining that they got a ticket for having leaves inside their own fenced in area, said John Quaglione, a spokesperson for State Senator Marty Golden. If someones property is so bad that it becomes intrusive to people walking by, then I say yes, that person deserves a ticket, he said. If someone gets a ticket for having a few pieces of paper on their own property, then we should be looking to create some type of measure that is more reasonable and fair. Quaglione added that many of the residents in Senator Goldens district are elderly and arent able to sweep the street in front of their homes every day, leaving them liable to a dirty area ticket if more than five pieces of trash are found in front of their homes. They cant do it and they cant wait for a neighbor or a friend or a grandchild to do it, and then a kid walking home from school drops a bag of chips in front of their home. What do they do then? he asked, adding that there needed to be a more fair and regimented policy. Rules like this shouldnt be so overbearing, he said. City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who supports the Community Board 11 request for a moratorium, agrees. [The moratorium] is a call for more sanity and more reasonableness, Gentile said. We know that things get blown around by the wind, and if you live near a bus stop or a candy store or deli, youre likely to get a fair share of trash. You cant stand out there and pick them up every time they blow by, he said. As this paper was going to press, Feuer said that he had yet to send off the letter to the DOS about the moratorium. A call to the DOS for comment had not been returned as this paper went to press.
©2007 Community News Group
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