March 11, 2011
Contact: Bridget Fleming
Hundreds of Dangerous Poles to be Removed from Roadsides
Utilities work to comply with Fleming’s Law
Utility companies have begun taking steps towards compliance with a new Town law, sponsored by Councilwoman Bridget Fleming mandating the removal of damaged or double utility poles from Town roadsides. Fleming, Assistant Town Attorney Katie Garvin, and Bob Welch and Mike Rewinski from the Town Highway Department met with Verizon officials yesterday at Town Hall. Verizon committed to dedicating an entire crew to Southampton pole removal twenty days out of each month until the issue is mitigated, with priority given to poles that are damaged or a threat to public safety. They committed to removing 40 to 60 poles per month.
LIPA has also taken measures since receiving a list of subject poles compiled by the Town early this year. In a report forwarded to Ms. Garvin in February they provided a timeline to remove 29 poles by the end of April, with 11 scheduled to have been completed to date. The remaining poles on the list are shared with Verizon and Cablevision and will require a cooperative effort. Based on the responsiveness and interaction between companies thus far, Fleming is encouraged that substantial progress will continue.
“I am pleased that the utility companies have taken this responsibility seriously and will be working jointly to resolve this important issue,” she said. “Removing these dangerous eyesores put Southampton workers to work, and will increase safety and improve the landscape of the Town.”
Prior to adoption of the bill, when a pole became damaged or unusable the utility company would leave the defunct existing pole in place and install a new one next to it resulting in several or more of these “double poles” throughout the Town. Now, existing poles must be removed by the responsible owner within sixty days of the installation of a new pole. In addition, if the Highway Superintendent determines a utility pole in a Town highway or right-of-way is damaged and/or a double pole, the owner will have within thirty days of written notice to remove it, along with any plants or attachments. Failure to remove the poles within the time limits will result in monetary and other civil penalties including a $250 per day fine
Fleming invites residents to weigh in on the issue by accessing a Damaged or Double Utility Poles Report Form on the Town website at www.southamptontownny.gov, or by calling the Highway Department at (631) 728-3600.
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