[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead 9-9-2014 by L.L. No. 13-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This Town Board hereby finds and determines that public utility companies place poles on Town of North Hempstead highways, streets, roads and rights-of-way to facilitate the delivery of electric, telephone, cable television, and other telecommunications services to the residents of the Town of North Hempstead.
This Town Board finds and determines that local governments have the authority to regulate their highways, streets, roads and rights-of-way to protect the public.
This Town Board finds and determines that wood utility poles that are treated with hazardous chemicals such as pentachlorophenol, creosote, inorganic arsenic, or other similar chemicals constitute a potential danger to the public and that the public should be informed of such potential danger.
This Town Board deems this chapter to be an exercise of the police power of the Town of North Hempstead for the preservation and protection of public health, safety, and general welfare, and it is enacted pursuant to the authority contained in the Highway Law, Town Law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to require warning signs on new and recently installed utility poles that have been treated with hazardous chemicals.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL
- Any chemical compound used as a wood preservative to treat wood utility poles to protect them from fungal decay and wood-destroying pests.
- LINE OF UTILITY POLES
- A row of utility poles connected by service lines for a public utility.
- PUBLIC UTILITY
- Any corporation, authority, or other entity that provides electric, telephone, cable television. or other service, including telecommunications service, to the residents of the Town of North Hempstead.
- SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS
- The Town of North Hempstead Superintendent of Highways or his/her designee.
- UTILITY POLE
- A column or post used to support service lines for a public utility.
- WRITTEN NOTIFICATION/WRITTEN NOTICE
- A writing directed to a representative of a public utility, who may be designated by the utility to receive such notice, sent by regular mail, facsimile transmission or electronic mail.
The provisions of this section shall apply to any utility pole treated with a hazardous chemical and installed after January 1, 2014.
In a line of utility poles, the public utility shall post a sign on every fourth pole. The sign shall be posted in a conspicuous location at least four feet and no more than five feet from the base of the pole. The sign shall contain the following warning: "NOTICE — THIS POLE CONTAINS A HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL. AVOID PROLONGED DIRECT CONTACT WITH THIS POLE. WASH HANDS OR OTHER EXPOSED AREAS THOROUGHLY IF CONTACT IS MADE." The sign shall be oriented towards pedestrian traffic wherever possible. The text of the sign shall be of a font size that is no less than 36 point. The text of the sign shall be black on a white background. Failure to comply with the requirements of this section may result in penalties as provided for in § 64B-4 of this chapter.
When the Superintendent of Highways issues a permit for the installation of a utility pole that is treated with a hazardous chemical as defined in § 64B-2, the Superintendent of Highways will provide written notice to the public utility installing the pole that it must place a hazardous chemical warning sign as described in § 64B-3B within 30 days. Failure to comply with the notice may result in penalties as provided for in § 64B-4.
When the Superintendent of Highways determines that a utility pole on a Town highway, street, road or right-of-way is treated with a hazardous chemical as defined in § 64B-2, the Superintendent of Highways will provide written notice to the public utility that owns the pole that it must place a hazardous chemical warning sign as described in § 64B-3B within 30 days. Failure to comply with the notice may result in penalties as provided for in § 64B-4.
Any person, firm, corporation or public utility convicted of a violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation, for a first conviction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500; for a second or subsequent conviction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000. Every day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.
In addition to the penalties provided above, any person, firm or corporation or public utility that violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each such violation. Every day that the violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.
If a person, firm or corporation or public utility violates the provisions of this chapter, the Town Attorney may commence an action in the name of the Town of North Hempstead in a court of competent jurisdiction seeking any remedy provided by law or equity, including any civil and/or injunction proceeding necessary to enforce compliance and/or enjoin noncompliance with this chapter. Such action may seek to affix warning signs to such poles, the imposition of civil penalties as authorized by this chapter, the recovery of costs of the action and such other remedies as may be necessary to prevent or enjoin a dangerous condition from existing on a Town highway, street, road, or right-of-way.
No violation of this chapter will be charged prior to March 1, 2015.
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, the Superintendent of Highways may extend the time frame of any written notice provided under this chapter for an additional period not exceeding the original statutory time frame set forth in this chapter. The public utility shall make a request for an extension in writing to the Superintendent of Highways prior to the expiration of the time frame contained in the original written notice, together with the basis for the request. The Superintendent of Highways shall determine whether the request for extension should be granted or denied, and provide a written response to the public utility. In such instances where the request is granted, the Superintendent of Highways shall issue another written notice, which shall then be applicable instead of the previously issued notice.
The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to supplement applicable state and local laws, ordinances, codes and regulations, and nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to abolish, impair, supersede or replace existing remedies of the Town, county or state or existing requirements of any other applicable state or local laws, ordinances, codes or regulations. In case of conflict between any provision of this chapter and any applicable state or local law, ordinance, code or regulation, the more restrictive or stringent provision or requirement shall prevail.
The Public Utility Advisory Committee established pursuant to § 64A-7 of the Town Code is authorized to adopt rules and establish procedures relating to hazardous chemical warnings insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, word or part of this chapter is adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section, word or part of this chapter directly involved in the controversy in which judgment is rendered.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.