Huntington Board Revises Animals Section of Town Code

The Huntington Town Board, at its August 16, 2016 meeting, approved revisions to the section of Town Code dealing with animals, including setting requirements on the proper disposal of pet waste, limiting the length of time animals may be restrained outdoors and establishing guidelines to aid in the prevention of animals being abandoned.


Under the revisions, dog owners will be required for the first time to “pooper scoop” after their dogs, placing pet waste in a sealed plastic bag and depositing the bag in a covered garbage receptacle. The proposed revisions also prohibit tethering, leashing, fastening, securing, restraining, chaining or tying a dog to a stationary object outdoors for more than two continuous hours in any 12-hour period. For animals who are restrained, the proposal, among other requirements, bans the use of a choke collar; and requires that the restraint be at least 10 feet for a running able trolley and 15 feet for a tether to a stationary object and long enough to give the dog continuous access to food, water and shelter.


The resolution enacting the changes was sponsored by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. The changes about treatment of animals were promulgated after the Town Attorney’s office conferred with the New York State director of the Humane Society of the United States, who advised as to humane methods of tethering animals as well as proper practice on how animals are to be attended.


The pet waste restrictions are part of a joint effort by the Town and the Villages of Northport and Asharoken to protect local waters from the contaminating effects of pet waste and to protect the health, safety and general welfare of those using local waters from exposure to this particular source of pathogenic bacteria. These changes stem from the Inter-Municipal Council the three governments formed in September 2014 to cooperate on management plans and in seeking grants for measures that affect water quality in Northport Harbor, Centerport Harbor, Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor and Price’s Bend/Eaton Harbor .


In other action, the Town Board:


— scheduled a September 27, 2016 public hearing on an amendment to Town Code that would create the Division of Park Rangers in the Department of Public Safety. The amendment notes that Park Rangers shall have peace officer training and status and will be responsible for maintaining the peace and good order of the community including parks, beaches, other recreational spaces and Town-owned property. A companion resolution sets a public hearing on amending Town Code to include park rangers among the Town employees who must be fingerprinted as a condition of employment.


— banned smoking at Town athletic fields (smoking was already banned at Town beaches and playgrounds). The Board also expanded the definition of banned smoking to include vapors, e-liquids and legal marijuana derivatives, as well as tobacco and herbal products.


— authorized applying for a $350,000 state grant as part of the “Zombie” and Vacant Properties Remediation and Prevention Initiative.  The funding would be used to upgrade the Town’s real property management technology to identify at-risk properties, to develop outreach programming to counsel at-risk individuals and to assist the Town Attorney in enforcing existing local law with respect to blighted and vacant properties.


— scheduled a September 27, 2016 public hearing on a proposal authorizing the Town Board to adopt a 2017 budget that pierces the state tax cap, estimated at 0.68 percent


— authorized the sale by public auction of a buffalo head in the Heckscher Museum’s collection. The buffalo head was donated to the museum prior to 1954 and has sat in storage for decades. The proceeds of the sale will be used to acquire works in line with the museum’s focus on visual art, with an emphasis on American art of the New York region.


— authorized the General Services Department to demolish the second structure behind the main dwelling at 163 1st Avenue, Huntington Station. The demolition cost will be added to the property owner’s tax bill.


— set winter wet storage rates for boats at Town marinas at $19.50 per foot for Town residents who sign up before September 1, 2016 and $20.50 for residents and non-residents who sign up after September 1, 2016 an increase of 50 cents per foot. The increase was recommended by the Harbors and Boating Advisory Council.


— reappointed Gary V. Hamilton to the Board of Assessment Review and Robert Carter, Linda Furey and Caitlin Sempowich to the Public Art Advisory committee. The board designated Janine Seifert as chair of the Public Art Advisory committee.


— rezoned a parcel on the east side of Prime Avenue, north of New York Avenue in Huntington from I-4 Light Industry District to R-5 Residential. Several years ago, amid some controversy, the owner had sought to build an automotive repair shop on the site but did not receive Town Board approval. The owner now plans to open the shop on the site of an abandoned gas station adjacent to this parcel and erect homes on this land.


— rescheduled the September Town Board meeting to September 27, 2016 at 7 p.m.

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