Roslyn Estates extends noise hearing, weighs tree removals

Roslyn Estates extends noise hearing, weighs tree removals
The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees opened a public hearing Monday night for a new bill that would amend the village's noise ordinance. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees opened a public hearing Monday night for its new law proposal that would amend its current noise ordinance to address issues presented to the board by residents.

Village Attorney Christopher Prior said the board has considered changes to the noise ordinance in order to better enforce noise complaints, which he said is difficult due to the nature of their subjectivity.

Changes proposed would include a noise complaint qualified by a reasonable person with normal sensitivities, a prohibition that seasonally restricts gas-powered leaf blowers from June 15-Sept. 15 and an updated penalty provision that would impose escalating fines for repeat offenders.

Prior said the ordinance would be enforced through the testimony of neighbors who hear the noise disturbance.

Trustee ​​Stephen Fox said he consulted his gardener about the addition of a seasonal prohibition of gas-powered leaf blowers. He said his gardener told him that if the law as is was enacted, he might be forced to leave the neighborhood as electric leaf blowers are cost-prohibitive.

Fox said his gardener implored him not to pass the ordinance amendment.

“I’m fairly sensitive to a small business owner being so concerned about one law creating an enormous cost to his small business,” Fox said.

He said his gardener told him the electric leaf blowers are not powerful enough and prohibitively expensive to maintain as they are required to be charged consistently and need specialized equipment to do so.

Fox said the options for gardeners then are to either not work in the village or increase pricing for residents.

Mayor Paul Peters argued that blowing leaves is not an issue during the summer months when the prohibition would be enacted. He said the reasoning behind including the prohibition was to reduce noise and diminish fumes emitted from the leaf blowers.

The Town of North Hempstead has a similar law in which gas-powered leaf blowers are prohibited during the same time period for commercial landscapers.

The law, which was initially presented at the board’s July meeting, was adjourned to be continued at the next meeting on Sept. 18.

The board also approved various plantings at the Serpentine Sump, which would amount to $8,000. The funding would come from the village’s beautification fund.

The board also entertained two requests to remove trees from individuals’ properties.

One request was from a resident who was appealing the village’s decision not to allow him to cut down his tree after the village’s arborist declared it was not necessary to have it removed. He argued that it was a danger as it hung over his infant son’s bedroom and was a potential fire hazard as it hung over his chimney.

The board opted not to vote on the matters as there were only three of the five board members present, meaning it would need to be approved by all three present members. The issue will be addressed at the board’s September meeting.

The second tree removal request was granted by the board as it was determined that the two trees were either dead or leaning over, posing a danger to people in the area.

The board determined that the owner could remove the trees under the condition that he replace them with not more than two trees. They said the village’s Architectural Review Board will determine how many trees need to be planted by the property owner.

Some residents were present to ask the board about other trees removed in the village, concerned about a property on The Intervale that had nearly all of the trees removed.

The board addressed the resident’s concern that the village fought to keep as many trees preserved on the property, but that they had to allow for many to be removed in order for a house to be built on the property. They said the property owner is required to plant more trees and paid a significant sum of money to the village to cut them down.

Fox said an issue is that the property was an overgrown area, and if the board had not allowed them to remove trees from the property to develop it, then it would deter development.

He said that while cutting down trees is something that pains the village and himself personally, it was necessary to let someone build a house on the property.

Prior added that the property owners have the right to develop their property within the village’s ordinances, and the village cannot use its ordinances to prevent the development of a single-family home. If the village had prevented them from developing, Prior said the owners could obtain a court judgment that would require the village to pay them the fair market value for the property.

The Roslyn Estates Board of Trustees will convene again at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18.

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