I have residents who live on private roads who leave their garbage for collection in the right-of-way. A landowner whose property is utilized for garbage collection wants this practice discontinued. What (if anything) can I do?

What can be done depends upon the type of Right-of-Way (ROW).

Dedicated ROW

To verify if you have a dedicated right-of-way (ROW) or to verify the width of a ROW you should reach out to the County Clerk for any documents related to that road. If there is a dedicated ROW there will be a document that identifies its existence and how far that ROW extends. Many county roads have been dedicated with a specific ROW.

If the land is part of the dedicated ROW, the county has the authority to allow or deny the placement of the trash cans in that ROW, since the liability is with the county.

ROW by Use

If there is no documentation, then it is likely that the ROW for the road is “by-use.” A ROW by use is the portion of the roadway, shoulder, and ditches that have been maintained by the municipality for at least 10 years. If the trash cans are placed on the shoulder, the county should determine if it is acceptable and safe. If the trash cans are placed on the property owner’s land, the land owners have the right to have them relocated.

In either case it may be safer for the trash cans to be placed at the end of the private road off of the main road, where pick up can done safely and out of traffic. Items placed on the side of the road can become projectiles when hit by an automobile and become dangerous.


NYSLTAP-CLRP Workshop Manual: Powers & Duties of Local Highway Officials

NYSLTAP-CLRP Workshop Manual: Identifying and Reducing Legal Liabilities