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Gromack: 'Shocked' at County's Road Lawsuit Threat

Letters were also submitted by: Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, Harold Straut Chairman of the Nanuet Fire District, Christopher Dunlavey, Captain of the Nanuet Community Ambulance Corps and Anthony Sharan, Ramapo Superintendent of Highways

 

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Rockland County Legislature against Clarkstown for closing a Samuel Road in Nanuet without proper approval from the county's superintendent of highways. Legislator Frank Sparaco (R-Valley Cottage) voted against it and Legislator Jobson was absent. 

In response to this, letters have been submitted by

  • Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack
  • Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan
  • Harold Straut Chairman of the Nanuet Fire District
  • Christopher Dunlavey, Captain of the Nanuet Community Ambulance Corps
  • Anthony Sharan, Ramapo Superintendent of Highways. 

The full letters are attached to this article as well.

"On behalf of our mutual residents of the Town of Clarkstown, I respectfully request that our Clarkstown Legislators sponsor a new resolution rescinding the one which was passed suing the Town at your next Legislative meeting on Tuesday September 4," said Gromack. "I don't know if I am more shocked or disappointed that prior to taking this vote against our residents in the County Legislature you did not think it was important to call me to learn the background and the truth as to why the Town reverted this road to its former dead end status, which was for the safety of our residents."

Clarkstown closed the road after pleaded with the Clarkstown Town Board to put a stop to the speeders driving through their Nanuet neighborhood.  the excessive speed and volume of vehicles puts their children and them at risk each day. 

"I don't think there has ever been a time in my 28 years as a public official that I never returned a call or refused to hold a meeting at the request of another elected official to discuss or clarify an issue, especially affecting the safety of our mutual residents," said Gromack. "What in the world were you (the legislators) thinking that night?" 

The legislature’s resolution also questions why the 170 plus-member Clarkstown Police Department cannot control speeding on a town street without closing it off to residents.

"The Clarkstown Police Department takes great pride in our vehicle and traffic enforcement policies and procedures," said Sullivan. "We have been working at the bequest of the residents of Newport Drive for the last two years on this issue ... However, our efforts have also led us to the inescapable conclusion that the real problem on Newport Drive is not speeding vehicles but the volume of traffic." 

"I would also like to note, the Rockland County Legislature press release of August 8th takes a negative swipe at the men and women of the Clarkstown Police Department. For the record, the job they do protecting the residents of the Town of Clarkstown is second to none and I find those remarks insulting to the professionalism and integrity of our Police Department," said Gromack. 

In response to concerns from area residents and emergency units about the response time with the road closure, a permanent, but movable gate has been installed as off Aug. 9 replacing the plastic barrier.

"I also want to address the issue that this move presents an unacceptable danger to the residents regarding emergency service response. A gate that can readily be opened and moved out of the way poses no serious response issue for the police department," said Sullivan. "The permanent gate can be easily opened by all emergency personnel and will reduce the volume of traffic for both neighborhoods. I believe this solution should be agreeable to both residents of Chestnut ridge and the Newport Drive neighborhood thus negating any legal action by the Rockland County Legislature." 

Straut added that the Nanuet Fire District has no objections with the installed metal gate; keys to the gate are being distributed to emergency personnel. 

"I have spoken with Chief Anthony Knapp regarding any mutual aid calls to the South Spring Valley Fire District who serves Chestnut Ridge as our district line coincides with the municipal boundary. Our drivers have already been instructed to use Pascack Road for routine access if necessary," he said. 

"The placement of this barricade/ crash gate—that is intended to divert passing motorists from travailing down Samuel Road and onto Newport Drive as a "short cut" to avoid the traffic on South Pascack roa—will not affect our daily operation, nor will the placement of this barricade/ crash gate hinder the response of emergency vehicles," said Dunlavey.

Sharan added that his department deals with a similar road closure—a gate in the Village of Montebello (Viola Road and Canterbury Lane). A photo of this gate is attached to the article. 

"The Town of Ramapo put our lock plus a Fire Department lock on the chain. So far there have not been any issues during snow removal operations," he said. 

Other Nanuet residents are  In May, Nanuet Resident Nicholas Miller sent a petition to Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack with  from Nanuet residents of Duryea Lane, Duryea Place, Bradl Lane, Clearwater Court and Vincent Street.

LFN August 12, 2012 at 06:17 PM
To further comment on Mr. Gromack's letter: As for it being a "shortcut," does Gromack plan to close every road that people use as a quicker means to get from point A to point B? That would be absurd and result in a great many road closures. And we are not protesting this to "avoid the traffic on South Pascack Road" but to ensure our own safety as Gromack has closed off one of our access routes in the event of hazardous conditions. It should also be noted that in addition to the 50-signature petition collected by Nicholas Miller in Nanuet, there is a 164-signature petition that includes not only those signatures of residents living on the Chestnut Ridge side of the barrier, but also those of 18 members of the Hugh Gassner Fire Company, including the assistant chief.
Watchdog August 12, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Maryann, are you privvy to the meetings Moroney had with Gromack? You shouldn't mischaracterize and disparage the work of Legislator Moroney to suit your own agenda which was only speeding until Chief Sullivan said it wasn't speeding, then it became volume when he realized he could be criticized for not doing his job. Now everyone is backtracking. Fact is, Gromack had no legal right to close that road which you will see when it hits the courts.
Watchdog August 12, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Lynn, if you ever had a dealings with Town Hall, this is the way they end up with people at each others throats. Gromack had a way of seeing to that since e pvery decision he makes is political. You can tell a lot about a person by the friends they keep. People like Ed Lettre, Vinny Reda, Frankie Sparaco, political wheeler dealers.
Maryann August 13, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Please specify how it is more dangerous to Chestnut Ridge residents. The gate is easily opened if evacuation via Samuel is necessary. As for any fire, ambulance or police, how many times have Nanuet or Clarkstown responded to an emergency in Chestnut Ridge via Samuel Road? And the only reason that Samuel was opened was to give a second point of ingress and egress in case of an emergency for the residents of NEWPORT, not for Chestnut Ridge.
Voice of Reason August 18, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Furthermore, I understand your concern with the speed. Your study did have FACTS in it, but... If you did that study on other streets you might find the same results or even worse. The solution is not to close the street. If we closed every street that had speeding problems, there would be lots of closed streets. JUST PUT IN SPEED BUMPS to slow the cars down on the residential street. You just can't go around closing streets because there is too much traffic or speed.

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