Village of Great Neck increases fines to deter violations

Village of Great Neck increases fines to deter violations
The Village of Great Neck voted to increase its village fines Tuesday night in an effort to diminish violations. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Village of Great Neck is increasing the fines for village offenses in an attempt to deter residents from violating sections of its village code.

The village’s board of trustees opted to adopt the newly escalated fines Tuesday night.

Mayor Pedram Bral said it is in response to some residents not taking village laws seriously and committing violations due to an ability to pay the previously established fines.

“So hopefully this will prevent people from [violating the village code],” Bral said.

The previously established penalties were set at a maximum of $1,000 or jail time not exceeding 15 days.

The new fines are set at a maximum of $5,000 for first offenses, a maximum of $10,000 for second offenses within 18 months of the initial offense and a maximum of $15,000 for third offenses within 24 months.

The village opted to remove the penalty of jail time, which Bral said he believed to be unjustified as a village penalty.

Bral said the newly increased fines are not intended to increase the revenues of the village but rather strengthen determent for residents to violate the village’s code.

The board also adopted to establish an amnesty program in light of a wave of residents discovering their basements to not comply with the village’s building code, which will offer a flat fee of $1,500 for residents seeking to make their basements compliant.

On top of the flat fee, the amnesty program will not penalize residents for noncompliance, with penalties that bring the fees up to $4,500. Residents will have to submit building plans to bring their basements to compliance and will be responsible for paying for the cost of construction.

The amnesty program will be in place through June 2025.

In other news, the village changed the previously established parking restrictions on Church Street to loosen the restrictions and focus on school hours to deter student parking.

Previously, parking on the east side of the street was limited to two hours and was in place from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Now, street parking on Church Street will be limited to two hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. only on school days.

The west side of Church Street will remain a no-parking zone at all times.

Bral also took a moment at the start of the meeting to advocate for the defunding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, otherwise known as UNRWA, calling it one of the “strongest obstacles” for Palestinians to find residence after refuge.

The United Nations agency is solely dedicated to supporting Palestinian refugees, while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, was established to aid all refugees.

UNWRA also provides aid to Gaza amidst the Israel-Hamas war, providing food, water and shelter to civilians.

According to the United Nations, the two separate agencies were established in 1949 to address distinct refugee crises.

The agencies were then adopted by the international community through the 1951 Refugee Convention and the UNHCR statute adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

The agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees described its pursuit of supporting the refugees “until a just and durable solution to their plight is found.”

Bral, who immigrated to the United States, said he was a refugee supported by the UNHCR but that the general refugee agency has limits to how long they support a refugee. He said his was terminated within a year of receiving his green card.

But he said this is not the same for Palestinian refugees, who he said can be supported for an indeterminate amount of time and can be passed onto their children regardless of where they are born.

“This is what the problem is in the Middle East,” Bral said.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has been accused by Israel of having ties to Hamas, which Bral also echoed Tuesday night.

UNRWA has denied these accusations.

These accusations have led to the agency’s funding being cut by the United States and other countries.

Bral said he is happy with President Joseph Biden’s cutting of funds to the United Nations agency, but asked that residents ask their congressman to defund and dismantle UNWRA.

The Great Neck Board of Trustees will convene again at 7:30 p.m. on March 5.

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  1. Once again, Mayor Bral oversteps his authority as a village mayor and attempts to involve himself in international politics, over which he has zero influence.

    He would do well to concentrate on his responsibilities as mayor of the most populous village in the Great Neck peninsula instead of pontificating on global affairs.

    • Your assertion is at odds with the first amendment rights of freedom of speech granted by the constitution.

      You may wish to retract your unwarranted statement

  2. He has the right to free speech under the constitution.

    It seems that you are trying to suppress his right to free speech as apparently you don’t like it which is unconstitutional and unwarranted.

    You may wish to retract your unwarranted statements. That is the right and mature thing to do and people would respect that.


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