HARRISON, N.Y. - Mayor/Supervisor Ron Belmont and his GOP board approved one of their first major policy changes Thursday night, banning overnight parking for commercial vehicles in Harrison's residential neighborhoods.
The changes, which take effect March 1, expand on policies that previously only banned such vehicles from parking overnight in driveways between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
While the entirely GOP board was united in support of the changes, some residents took issue with the murky classifications of what differentiates a commercial vehicle from any other.
Harrison resident Rob Porto said he was opposed to the changes, citing unclear definitions of what a commercial vehicle is according to Harrison police.
"I think it's totally ridiculous," Porto said. "It doesn't sound like a law to me at all."
Porto said he disagreed with the board's wording to classify commercial vehicles, which reaches beyond a car with a commercial license plate. According to the policy change, Harrison police will be given the task of determining whether or not a vehicle is being used for commercial purposes, which may go as far as looking inside to see what kinds of items are readily available.
"Police officers are using their judgement every single day out there to enforce the laws of this town," Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said, adding that residents who feel they were unfairly ticketed would have the option to appeal. "Unfortunately some people circumvent the law by putting passenger plates on commercial vehicles."
Belmont echoed Marraccini's sentiments.
"This has grown to be a nuisance in the Town of Harrison," Belmont said. "Many of our citizens have this problem. That's something that we can't afford to let continue."
Council members also showed unanimous support for the change, with some more in favor than others. While Councilman Fred Sciliano said he placed his trust in the police department's common sense judgement, Councilman Joseph Cannella said the wording was more of a "broad" statute, but still necessary to take effect.
Those in violation of the new rule will be subject to a $100 ticket from Harrison police. The penalty was initially drafted as $50, but was raised after Councilman Steve Malfitano said it wasn't high enough to send the appropriate message.
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