NYS Supreme Court Rules Hen Island Health Codes Enforcable by City of Rye

January 25, 2011

RYE – On January 20, 2011 Heal The Harbor’s legal action, which attempted to require The City of Rye to simply enforce its own laws; mandating inspections of the sewage systems in Rye’s most environmentally sensitive areas including Hen Island which has been polluting The Long Island Sound for years, was rendered.

This decision is favorable to Heal The Harbor.com and Ray Tartaglione’s continued efforts to protect Milton Harbor and the Long Island Sound.

While the court’s decision ultimately did not compel the City of Rye to enforce its laws, the court did recognize that the City has the discretion to do so and protect the environment. Otherwise they could continue to ignore these laws and leave the environment unprotected.

More particularly the court found that the law clearly supported Mr. Tartaglione’s paramount positions including most significantly: 1) That the city has the power to enforce city code 161-1 which requires a homeowner to perform annual inspections of a private sewer system but only if the city feels the need to. 2) The court also confirmed that city code 161-1 is still a valid and enforceable law governing sewage disposal in the city of Rye, contrary to Rye’s contention that it is no longer a valid law.

The people of the City of Rye should know that the City Council has the authority and responsibility to enforce its ordinances as they relate to raw sewage pollution. The City Council continues to allow the homeowner’s of Hen Island to expel raw human effluence into the Long Island Sound, where it is free to contaminate and wash up onto the beaches of Green Haven, and Milton Point, as well as other nearby communities. The decision of whether or not to enforce the city code is left to the Mayor and City Council. When it comes to protecting the environment, this should be an easy decision for the Rye City Council. Ray Tartaglione and Heal the Harbor cannot understand why the City Council under the direction of Mayor Douglas French has been struggling with this issue for so long.

The case caption is: In the Matter of the Application of Heal the Harbor.com and Raymond J. Tartaglione, for a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the CPLR v. The City of Rye, et. al., Index # 10/14742 (Sup.Ct., Westchester Cty., 2011).

Click Here to view the Court’s decision.


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