Diverse agenda keeps council busy


Canines, pawnshops, road conditions, baseball and block parties all commanded attention of the mayor and Town Council at last week’s public session.

Acting on a suggestion by animal advocate Barbara Goldberg, the governing body enacted new restrictions on the tethering of dogs.

The law limits the tying up of unattended dogs to no more than seven hours during a 24-hour period, “with a maximum of four hours at any one interval and a minimum one-hour period between confinements.”

It prohibits the use of a “choke-type, pinch-type, prong-type or improperly fitting collar … or rope” or chains and mandates that the dog be “able to move freely.”

It requires that the collar “shall not exceed 20% of the animal’s weight and may not be thicker than one-eighth inch,” that the tether stretch at least 15 feet, be at least six feet above the ground and “tangle-free.”

It requires that the dog “has easy access to potable drinking water, edible food, dry ground and adequate shade and/or shelter,” that the tethering area “shall be clean, clear of obstructions … and no less than 150 square feet per dog in total area” and that the dog “is regularly monitored while tethered …. No dog shall be tethered within five feet of [a neighbor’s property].”

Non-spayed and non-neutered dogs may not be tethered nor may any dogs “under the age of 1 or under 20 pounds” nor may any dogs be tethered between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Essentially, explained Councilwoman Susan McCurrie, the intent is to prevent “junkyard dog” type abuse.


On the human front, meanwhile, the council introduced an ordinance designed to help police and crime victims recover stolen precious metals and other secondhand goods – such as cell phones, cameras, gift cards and GPS units – “by requiring minimum identification, reporting, maintenance and distribution criteria for licensed dealers in these goods” through the creation of an electronic data base accessible to police. The program would be financed through a $250 licensing fee for each participating dealer/pawnshop owner. A public hearing will be held later this month.


Addressing an infrastructure initiative, the governing body agreed to assess Public Service Electric & Gas one road opening fee of $2,000 for a gas system modernization project involving replacement of gas pipes, new gas metering and other system upgrades involving more than 40 locations scattered throughout the town.

Mayor Alberto Santos said the utility plans to “replace low-pressure gas mains, some prone to leaks and breaks, with state funding. We’ve been in negotiations, sometimes contentious, over the repaving of these streets, some from the midline to the curb, others curb to curb,” all of which will require “an extensive amount of work.”

In some cases, the mayor said, the town previously posted notices for repaving certain streets for the utility but there were unforeseen delays. For this project, however, the town will require that the utility deliver notices to property owners in the affected areas.

The town has been told that “they need to get into, the ground by August, then there’s a three-month settling period,” the mayor said. “Contracts have been awarded and we expect they’ll do the work in the summer.”


On the municipal recreation front, the council discussed the status of a movable baseball backstop at Veteran’s Memorial Field that a storm had uprooted soon after its installation earlier this year as part of a field facelift.

After Councilman Michael Landy reported that the backstop “has never been the same” since it was fixed and that some kids have climbed up the structure and perched inside a ledge, town engineer Michael Neglia said that if the backstop isn’t being used, “it should be in the down position and pushed off the field. It’s not difficult to take up and down.”

Recreation Director Ralph Cattafi then said that the Little League president “didn’t want the coaches carrying” its component parts. Ow that the baseball season is over, the device has shut down. For next season, he said, the backstop will be stored in a large “playground box” when it’s not being used.


The governing body denied a request by Miguel Couceiro to close Elm St. between Laurel and Columbia Aves. for parking for a block party to be held in the parking lot at 525 Elm on July 2 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. for some 100 guests. Santos said he saw problems with “using a public street as a parking lot for a private event on a heavily-traveled street that is also a bus route and during strange hours” outside the time limits prescribed by town ordinance.

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