2008-03-07 / Letters

What Happened To Justice For All?

Dear Editor,

Section 163.19 of the NYC Health Code mandates that the owner, agent, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person who manages or controls a building or lot shall be jointly or severally responsible for keeping the sidewalk, flagging and curbside abutting the premises free from obstructions and nuisances and for keeping such sidewalk, flagging and curbside… free from garbage, refuse, rubbish, litter, other offensive matter or accumulation of water.

Yet, the NYC Department of Sanitation has violated this law for years by forcing residents to place garbage and recyclables at the curb. The law was designed and enforced to protect homeowners and pedestrians alike.

How can the Department of Sanitation violate the law on the one hand and, on the other, prosecute property owners for the same offense? Why is the NYC Sanitation Department able to break the law with impunity and at the same time collect fines from property owners for the same offense?

What happened to justice for all? What right has the NYC Department of Sanitation to manipulate the law to its own advantage and to the detriment of the property owner?

It is time for New Yorkers to realize how they have been abused by the Department of Sanitation and to protect themselves from pedestrian lawsuits by placing their garbage, or light refuse or rubbish within the building line (Section 316 of the Sanitary Code). These codes are available at the main branch of the public library.


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