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Citizens contest law on boat parking

Residents came to the Town Board meeting last week to speak out against an old law dictating where boats and recreational vehicles can be parked on private property -- and most board members were sympathetic.

The 1983 law bans residents from parking recreational vehicles, including boats and campers, in front of a house. Some Youngstown Estates residents recently asked the town to start enforcing the law.

"The law says nothing should be stored in front of your house. I don't agree with the law, but there has been no support from the public to change it. We don't change laws unless there is opposition," said Councilman Joe Fleckenstein.

Building Inspector Roy Rogers has to act when there are code enforcement complaints, Fleckenstein said.

Rogers told the board that there were several violation notices served in the last month.

"The will of the few should not be imposed on all of us," said Andrews Hooker, of River Road.

But Supervisor Merton K. Weipert said, "I understand this is a boating community, but this law has been in effect for years."

Weipert agreed that it's never really been enforced before.

"I disagree with this boating ban," said East Avenue resident Pete Kaminski. "I see debris in yards, houses in terrible condition. Do something about them before you start picking on people with nice houses and yards."

Zoning Board Chairman John "Duffy" Johnston agreed with those who opposed the law.

"Everybody puts boats away in the winter, so they can plow their driveways, but there is a very short window to use a boat or camper," Johnston said. "I like to leave my camper out on the driveway to air it out. I'd like to amend the law somehow so maybe we could leave them out from May until September."

Town Attorney Michael Dowd said the Planning Board is discussing prospects for some variations to the law, and there will need to be a public hearing before the law is changed.

Several board members suggested that the building inspector stop citing residents for code violations regarding boats and campers, but no action was taken.

Fleckenstein said all violations should be enforced. "The law on boats is on the books, and we should keep enforcing it. If we get enough people riled up, we can change the law," he said.

In another matter, the board announced the Fourth of July celebration, "Summerfest," will be held from 2 to 11 p.m. July 3 in Porter-on-the-Lake Park on Dietz Road. The board said an anonymous donor donated half of the $5,000 cost for fireworks.