At Tuesday night's meeting, the Rockland County Legislature voted in favor 15-1 of a possible lawsuit against Clarkstown for closing a public . Legislator Frank Sparaco (R-Valley Cottage) voted against it and Legislator Jobson was absent.
“Road closures under NYS Highway law require a permit from the County Superintendent of Highways and in this case, Clarkstown did not seek a permit from Rockland’s Superintendent Skip Vezzetti and therefore, is clearly in violation of state law," said Ramapo Legislator Ilan Schoenberger.
The legislature’s resolution also questions why the 170 plus-member Clarkstown Police Department cannot control speeding on a town street without closing it off to residents. Chestnut Ridge officials and area residents are concerned that the safety of residents will be compromised in the event of emergency situations as the longer routes to and from major thoroughfares would affect response time.
Clarkstown closed the road after pleaded with the Clarkstown Town Board to put a stop to the speeders driving through their Nanuet neighborhood. the excessive speed and volume of vehicles puts their children and them at risk each day.
However, other Nanuet residents are In May, Nanuet Resident Nicholas Miller sent a petition to Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack with from Nanuet residents of Duryea Lane, Duryea Place, Bradl Lane, Clearwater Court and Vincent Street.
Legislator Patrick Moroney, who represents Legislative District 15 in which both streets are located, has met with Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack to represent the concerns of the area residents.
“I have had three meetings with Mr. Gromack to impress upon him that this is a dangerous situation that places the safety of numerous people at risk,” said Moroney. “My attempts to resolve this matter in a cordial manner failed and I am disappointed in the Supervisor’s attitude. Police, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles need to access these roads. People are at risk and Clarkstown has acted in an illegal and egregious manner.”
"Furthermore, Clarkstown’s resolution stated the road would be closed by the installation of a breakaway metal pipe type double gate with chain and padlock, with keys distributed to affected emergency services at the municipal boundary with the Village of Chestnut Ridge," said Schoenberger. "Instead, Clarkstown built an impenetrable structure of concrete barriers, chained to two snowplow trucks.” Schoenberger said that the Village of Chestnut Ridge would join the county in the lawsuit and will urge the Town of Ramapo to do the same.
The resolution will be referred to the County Executive, who has 30 days in which to approve or disapprove of the action recommended by the legislature.
“Clarkstown shouldn’t try to reverse road planning decisions made 30 years ago by concrete barriers," said Moroney. "That only serves to jeopardize the safety of hundreds of citizens, including those on Newport Drive. If reckless driving is the issue, let the Clarkstown Police Department handle it through regular traffic enforcement procedures. “
The resolution was introduced by Moroney and Schoenberger. The resolution authorizes the county attorney to sue the Town of Clarkstown for illegally barricading Samuel Road. Samuel Road crosses the boundary of Clarkstown and the Village of Chestnut Ridge and runs into Newport Drive in the Clarkstown hamlet of Nanuet.
In the Patch video interview, Doug Caulk, a resident of Newport Drive, says there is less traffic but people still speed since it is a straight road. He finds the road closure inconvenient to get between his home and business. He lives at the end, past Samuel Road and owns two buildings in Chestnut Ridge.