Bill Text: NY S02910 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Permits the designation of low volume roads and minimum maintenance roads by town boards and enacts provisions relating to the maintenance, improvement and repair of such roads.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Republican 9-1)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-06-13 - referred to transportation [S02910 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S02910-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          2910
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 30, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  Sens.  GRIFFO,  FUNKE,  GALLIVAN,  LITTLE,  RANZENHOFER,
          RITCHIE, SERINO, SEWARD -- read twice and ordered  printed,  and  when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  highway law and the vehicle and traffic law, in
          relation to the maintenance, improvement and repair  of  certain  town
          highways
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The highway law is amended by adding a new section 205-c to
     2  read as follows:
     3    § 205-c. Low volume roads. 1. When used in this section, unless other-
     4  wise expressly stated, or unless the context or subject matter otherwise
     5  requires, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
     6    a. "Low-volume road" shall mean a  town  highway  or  portion  thereof
     7  located  in a town, when such highway has an average daily traffic count
     8  of less than four hundred motor vehicles per day. Such  term  shall  not
     9  apply  to  any  highway  or road or portion thereof which has previously
    10  been abandoned pursuant to subdivision one of section two  hundred  five
    11  of  this  article  because  it shall not have been used or traveled as a
    12  highway for six years. Low volume roads may be classified as follows:
    13    (i) "Low-volume collector road" shall  mean  a  low-volume  road  that
    14  collects  traffic  from  any  other  classification and channels it to a
    15  higher level road, such as a state highway, arterial or interstate high-
    16  way.
    17    (ii) "Residential access road"  shall  mean  a  low-volume  road  that
    18  provides  access  to  residences.   The traffic generated depends on the
    19  number of residences. All year access for emergency vehicles and  school
    20  buses must be provided.
    21    (iii)  "Resource/industrial  access road" shall mean a low-volume road
    22  that provides access to forests  or  industrial  or  mining  operations.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD00669-01-9

        S. 2910                             2
     1  Traffic  volume  can vary and include heavy trucks, extractive machinery
     2  and significant numbers of employees' cars.
     3    (iv) "Agricultural land access road" shall mean a low-volume road that
     4  provides  access  to  farm  land.  Traffic  volumes  are  low  and  vary
     5  seasonally. Such roads shall accommodate farm equipment.
     6    (v) "Farm access road" shall mean  a  low-volume  road  that  provides
     7  principal  motor  vehicle access for the transport of goods and services
     8  necessary for effective support of a farm's daily operations to and from
     9  the primary location or center of such  operations.  Traffic  volume  is
    10  generally  low,  significantly less than four hundred motor vehicles per
    11  day, and may include occasional heavy vehicles  and  farm  equipment  as
    12  well as other motor vehicles.
    13    (vi)  "Recreation  land access road" shall mean a low-volume road that
    14  provides access to recreational land including seasonal dwellings, parks
    15  and recreational lands. Volumes can vary with  the  type  of  recreation
    16  facility, activity and season of the year.
    17    b.  "Minimum maintenance road" shall mean a low-volume agricultural or
    18  recreational access road or portion thereof with an average daily  traf-
    19  fic  count  of  less than fifty motor vehicles per day designated by the
    20  town as minimum maintenance pursuant to this section, except for a  farm
    21  access  road or a road which provides access to an individual year-round
    22  residence at the time it is proposed to be  designated  minimum  mainte-
    23  nance.  In  no  way shall the term "minimum maintenance" be construed to
    24  mean "no maintenance" or  "abandonment",  however,  such  roads  may  be
    25  closed  during certain times of the year subject to standards adopted by
    26  the town board.
    27    c. "Motor vehicle" shall mean a motor vehicle as  defined  by  section
    28  one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law.
    29    2. a. The town board of any town may, by resolution, designate certain
    30  town  highways  as  low-volume roads or portions thereof pursuant to the
    31  classifications defined in this section. In classifying such roads,  the
    32  town  board  shall  base the classification on traffic volumes, types of
    33  vehicles using the road or portion thereof,  and  the  current  adjacent
    34  land  uses.  The  town board shall refer proposed classifications to the
    35  town highway superintendent and the town planning board, if  present  in
    36  such town.
    37    b.  Upon  receipt  of the proposed resolution, the town highway super-
    38  intendent and, where applicable, town planning board, shall report their
    39  recommendations to the town board, accompanied by  a  statement  of  the
    40  reasons for such recommendations within forty-five days of receipt. Upon
    41  receipt of the recommendations from the town highway superintendent and,
    42  where  applicable, town planning board, or upon the expiration of forty-
    43  five days from the date the proposed resolution was referred,  the  town
    44  board may adopt by majority vote, the local classification resolution.
    45    3.  a. The town board of any town may, after a public hearing, adopt a
    46  local law designating any low-volume road or portion  thereof  providing
    47  agricultural  or  recreational land access, except for farm access roads
    48  or roads that provide access to an individual  year-round  residence  at
    49  the  time  of  designation,  as  a minimum maintenance road. No such law
    50  shall restrict farm operations in an agricultural district.  Such  local
    51  law  shall  not prevent the state from maintaining such road if the road
    52  passes over, or provides access to, state land. No such law  designating
    53  a  minimum maintenance road shall be effective until minimum maintenance
    54  standards are adopted and signs are posted advising the public that such
    55  road is a minimum maintenance road. No road, once designated  a  minimum
    56  maintenance road, shall be determined to have been abandoned pursuant to

        S. 2910                             3
     1  the  provisions  of  subdivision one of section two hundred five of this
     2  article solely because it has  been  designated  a  minimum  maintenance
     3  road.
     4    b.  At least forty-five days prior to the public hearing on such local
     5  law the town board having jurisdiction over such road shall issue  find-
     6  ings  that  such  road or portion thereof should be designated a minimum
     7  maintenance road. Such findings shall include, but not be limited to:
     8    (i) the volume and type of motor vehicle traffic on such road;
     9    (ii) a determination that the property owners  of  land  abutting  the
    10  road shall continue to have access to their property;
    11    (iii)  a  determination  that  the  users  of  the road traveling at a
    12  reasonable and prudent speed, under  the  circumstances,  shall  not  be
    13  placed in a hazardous situation;
    14    (iv)  a  determination  that  such  road, or portion thereof, does not
    15  constitute a farm access road as defined in this section;
    16    (v) the effect of such designation on any  farm  operations  dependent
    17  upon  the  road,  and that such designation does not restrict farm oper-
    18  ations in agricultural districts; and
    19    (vi) the standards of maintenance developed in consultation  with  the
    20  town  highway superintendent to be provided for such road including, but
    21  not limited to, the intention to close such road during certain times of
    22  the year.
    23    A copy of the town board's findings shall be made available for public
    24  inspection in the town clerk's office and posted to the town website  if
    25  available.
    26    A copy of the findings shall be sent to the school board of the school
    27  district  in  which each road is located and to the town planning board.
    28  Such school board and planning board may review the findings of the town
    29  board and within forty-five days file with the town clerk  their  recom-
    30  mendation  and findings. In the event the school or planning board takes
    31  no action within the forty-five day review period  the  town  board  may
    32  proceed  without  said  board's  recommendation  and findings. School or
    33  planning board review may be waived, shortened or extended  upon  mutual
    34  consent  of  said  board  and the town board. The town board of the town
    35  may, by resolution, accept, accept in part, or  reject  the  recommenda-
    36  tions  of either the school or planning board prior to any vote upon the
    37  proposed local law.
    38    A copy of the findings shall also be sent to the department  of  envi-
    39  ronmental  conservation  or  any  other  relevant  state agency that has
    40  jurisdiction over the land that the road proposed to  be  designated  as
    41  minimum maintenance passes over or provides access to.
    42    c. At least thirty days prior to the public hearing on such local law,
    43  written  notice  of  such  hearing, including a summary of the findings,
    44  shall be served by certified mail upon every owner of real property,  as
    45  determined  by  the latest completed assessment roll, abutting such road
    46  or portion thereof.
    47    d. The town clerk shall give notice of such hearing by the publication
    48  of a notice in at least one newspaper  of  general  circulation  in  the
    49  town,  and post such notice on the town website if available, specifying
    50  the time when and the place where such hearing  will  be  held,  and  in
    51  general  terms  describing the proposed resolution. Such notice shall be
    52  published once at least five days prior to the day  specified  for  such
    53  hearing.
    54    4.  A  road or road segment, which has been designated minimum mainte-
    55  nance, shall be maintained at a level which allows the road to  be  made
    56  passable  and  functional  in  a  manner  determined by the town highway

        S. 2910                             4
     1  superintendent in accordance with the standards developed  in  consulta-
     2  tion  with the town highway superintendent and adopted by the town board
     3  to be consistent with the volume and type of traffic traveling  on  such
     4  road.    Such  standards shall not restrict access to farmland by a farm
     5  operation eligible for agricultural assessment pursuant to article twen-
     6  ty-five-AA of the agriculture and markets law.  Normal road  maintenance
     7  practices  including,  but not limited to, snow and ice removal, paving,
     8  patching, blading, dragging  or  mowing  may  be  done  less  frequently
     9  depending upon the existing conditions and use of the road but shall, at
    10  a  minimum, be consistent with other superseding standards or guidelines
    11  developed pursuant to state law. Minimum maintenance roads shall contin-
    12  ue to be part of the town highway system.
    13    5. a. Any person or persons owning or occupying real property abutting
    14  a road or portion thereof which has been designated  a  minimum  mainte-
    15  nance  road  may petition the town having jurisdiction over such road or
    16  portion thereof to discontinue the designation of such road as a minimum
    17  maintenance road or to modify the  standards  of  maintenance  for  such
    18  road.  Such  petition  shall  be filed with the clerk of the town having
    19  jurisdiction over such road. Such petition shall identify  the  road  or
    20  portion thereof to be discontinued as a minimum maintenance road and set
    21  forth  the  reasons  for  such discontinuance or modification.  The town
    22  board having jurisdiction over such road shall  hold  a  public  hearing
    23  upon  such petition within thirty days after its receipt. The town clerk
    24  shall give notice of such hearing by the publication of a notice  in  at
    25  least  one  newspaper  of general circulation in the town, and post such
    26  notice on the town website if available, specifying the  time  when  and
    27  the place where such hearing will be held, and in general terms describ-
    28  ing  the  proposed  resolution.   Such notice shall be published once at
    29  least five days prior to the day specified for such hearing.
    30    b. In the event the town board, after such public hearing,  determines
    31  that  such  designation  or standards shall continue unchanged, no addi-
    32  tional petition may be submitted by a person or persons pursuant to this
    33  section until the lapse of at least twenty-four months from the date  of
    34  the filing of the previous petition filed by such person or persons.
    35    c.  The town board having jurisdiction over a minimum maintenance road
    36  may adopt a local law discontinuing such minimum maintenance road desig-
    37  nation in the event it determines  such  discontinuance  to  be  in  the
    38  public interest.
    39    6.  Where the minimum maintenance road designation is discontinued, or
    40  a low-volume road classification is changed, road improvements  may,  in
    41  addition  to  other financing mechanisms available for road construction
    42  projects, be undertaken in accordance with section two  hundred  of  the
    43  town law.
    44    §  2.  The  vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
    45  124 to read as follows:
    46    § 124. Minimum maintenance road. A low-volume road or portion  thereof
    47  which  is  designated  by  the  town  having jurisdiction over such road
    48  pursuant to section two hundred five-c of the highway law.
    49    § 3. Subdivision (a) of section 1683 of the vehicle and traffic law is
    50  amended by adding a new paragraph 18 to read as follows:
    51    18. Designate a road or portion thereof as a minimum maintenance road.
    52    § 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
    53  it shall have become a law.  Effective immediately, the addition, amend-
    54  ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen-
    55  tation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on  or
    56  before such date.
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