What can a municipality do about someone dumping snow onto a highway?
V&T Section 1219 addresses the issue of placing obstructions onto a highway, including snow and ice.
Vehicle and Traffic Law 1219
Putting glass or other injurious substances on highway prohibited
(a) No person shall throw or deposit upon any highway any glass bottle, glass, nails, tacks, wire, cans, snow or any other substance likely to injure any person, animal, or vehicle upon such highway.
(b) Any person who drops, or permits to be dropped or thrown, upon any highway any destructive or injurious material or any material which interferes with the safe use of the highway shall immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed.
(c) Any person removing a wrecked or damaged vehicle from a highway shall remove any glass or other injurious substance dropped upon the highway from such vehicle.
Fines for violation of the V&T can be up to $150 or 15 days in jail. Also, the municipality can remove the snow and ice and, with proper notification, charge back the offending owners if they habitually keep dumping snow. The board may need to pass local legislation to authorize the highway/public works department to remove the snow and ice and bill back the landowner or contractor doing the plowing. There will need to be provisions to notify the homeowner that dumping the snow is a violation.
Contact your local attorney or statewide association for more details or specific case law citations.
Example notification on the Franklin County
Putting Snow or Refuse Into Street or Road is Illegal (12-6-2010)(DOC – 31.5 KB) Note the fine amount can be as high as $150
Chapter 4—Highway Rights-of-Way and Encroachments
Powers and Duties of Local Highway Officials (pdf 14.4MB)
Cornell Local Roads Program
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Article 33, Section 1219, “Putting glass or other injurious substances on highway prohibited”
Association of Towns of the State of New York