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Photos courtesy of the Office of Councilman I. Daneek Miller
Photos courtesy of the Office of Councilman I. Daneek Miller

New legislation passed by the City Council last week aims to address two problems that have plagued southeast Queens for years: commercial waste dumping and illegally parked trucks.

In order to improve the quality of life in southeast Queens neighborhoods, Councilman I. Daneek Miller announced the City Council’s passage of Introduction 656, which will toughen the current civil penalties and criminal fines for unlawful commercial dumping. The mayor is expected to sign it soon.

“Unlawful dumping and illegally parked 18-wheel trucks are two nagging quality-of-life issues that have been especially troublesome for my Southeast Queens constituents,” Miller said. “Introduction 656 will send a clear message that there will be steep consequences for those who dare to dump their garbage wherever they please, and the ‘Commercial Truck Abuse Act’ will serve to make the cost of doing business more than the companies that own these vehicles can afford to bear, which they have been all too willing to do at the expense of our community, but we’re determined to change that attitude.”

Under Introduction 656, criminal fines for unlawful dumping will start at $4,000 for first offenses and will raise to $9,000 for each subsequent offense. Matching civil fines and an $18,000 penalty will be imposed if subsequent offenses take place within 18 months and fines for dumping near public litter baskets adjusted to $300 and $400 for second and third offenses.

Vehicles that are impounded twice may be subject to forfeiture, and civil penalties can be imposed regardless of relationship between owner and operator. Additionally, the DSNY will now be able to presume culpability of a person or business for the improper placement of waste near a basket if its contents bear the name of that individual or owner.

“Ask anyone in the 29th Assembly District and they’ll tell you the issues of illegal dumping and commercial vehicle parking are tremendous nuisances,” Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman said. “My colleagues and I are seeking to apply greater penalties and fines for those who violate common courtesy owed to our neighbors. Actions such as these are by no means minor steps in ensuring the cleanliness of our streets.”

The new bill will join two pieces of legislation that make up Miller’s “Commercial Truck Abuse Act.” The bills would reduce the amount of time that a tractor-trailer can be legally parked from three hours to 90 minutes. Fines would also be increased for a first violation to $400, and $800 for subsequent violations within a six-month period.

“Quality [of] life concerns such as illegal dumping and illegal commercial truck parking are some of the issues that lead to the highest volume of complaints in Southeast Queens,” Councilman Donovan Richards said. “We must work together to find better solutions than we currently have at our disposal. That’s why these pieces of legislation are so critical to addressing these concerns.”

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