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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rec'd 1172A Failure to stop at a stop sign this evening coming out of Marketplace Mall.

Leaving the mall, exiting to a stop light on a main road (in other words, it was a stop sign @ the mall, then a left turn, then a stop light, then a left turn onto the road).

Already taken photos of stop sign obstructed (overhanging tree).



There is a white line in the road, with STOP printed on it, but this appears to be superfluous.

Already been over the MUTCD and NYS addendum, and can't really find anything that addresses obstructed traffic signs (any pointers here would be appreciated if there's something I'm not seeing). Haven't measured sign height or dimensions to determine if that is legal, but it appears to be a proper sign.

Here's the most interesting part, and probably my best bet. I found the town's codes in regards to stop signs placed in "private plazas".

Specifically:

"The owners of privately owned plazas in the Town of Henrietta are hereby authorized, upon approval by the Town Fire Marshal/Building Inspector, to erect and post a sign or signs regulating traffic and parking within such plazas.
[Amended 2-15-1006 by L.L. No. 1-2006]

B. Such signs shall bear the legend: "Enforced by police pursuant to ordinance of the Town of Henrietta."

There certainly wasn't any legend on the sign, and in fact, I've never seen such a legend on any traffic sign on private property in town. I would think a traffic sign that doesn't comply with the town code (when it is the town code that specifically AUTHORIZES it) would be invalid.

And I also found this section in regards to pruning trees:

"It shall be the duty of any person or persons owning or occupying real property bordering on any street upon which property there may be trees to prune such trees in such manner that they will not obstruct or shade streetlights, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on the sidewalks, obstruct vision of traffic signs or obstruct view of any street intersection. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be 10 feet over sidewalks and 12 feet over all streets, except truck thoroughfares which shall have a clearance of 16 feet."

I believe based on either of these two items, the sign placed on private property was not within town code, and therefore is not valid.

Thoughts?

Its not really the end of the world, and will most likely get reduced anyways when I plead not guilty, but it will be worth fighting unless they offer me a real good plea bargain... Although i'm wondering if its worth it to fight it all the way and not take any plea bargain based on the code violation...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Care to cite any?

ticket had nothing to do with the public road it occurred completely on mall property.

Not sure how town code can be ignored, since it is the sole thing that authorizes the stop sign in the first place.
 

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I am pretty damn sure any lawyer worth his salt would get this completely dismissed in a heart beat. The trouble with a lawyer worth his salt is that it will cost you.
 

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Tough one. Given there is a stop line in the road and the word STOP there too, don't know if that would be an issue they would push. Agree with above, see if an attorney to see what they think. Good Luck!!
 

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I think I recall something to the effect that road markings actually are advisory and do not count.
The picture of the obstructed sign should be all you need to earn a dismissal.
 

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^ Agree on the dismissal. Fill out the "Not Guilty" plea on the ticket, write a brief business-formatted letter addressed to the Court explaining that the sign was obstructed -- as a result of the obstruction, you did not see it. Provide a print-out of the photo and mail it in with the ticket. It would probably be helpful to take a photo with the date imprinted on it in case someone comes by and prunes that tree in the near future. The more details you can provide, the better - volume of traffic at the sign, etc. at the time you were ticketed. The reason I suggest the letter is that some towns are willing to handle traffic matters entirely by mail. Saves the Courts time and money. Best case scenario is that you receive a letter in return from the Court informing you of a dismissal. More likely however you'll receive a response requiring you to appear in Court to meet with the DA.

Most traffic matters don't require an attorney, but if you can afford to have one (or have a legal benefit plan through your employer), an attorney will always get the best results as far as a reduced plea agreement. In the OP's case there is a high probability of a dismissal.
 

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Care to cite any?

ticket had nothing to do with the public road it occurred completely on mall property.

Not sure how town code can be ignored, since it is the sole thing that authorizes the stop sign in the first place.
au contrare ...

N.Y. VAT. LAW § 129-a : NY Code - Section 129-A: Parking area of a shopping center

An area or areas of
private property totaling at least one acre, near or contiguous to and
provided in connection with premises having one or more stores or
business establishments, and used by the public as a means of access to
and egress from such stores and business establishments and for the free
parking of motor vehicles of customers and patrons of such stores and
business establishments.

Article 23 - NY Vehicle and Traffic Law OBEDIENCE TO AND EFFECT OF TRAFFIC LAWS

S 1100. Provisions of title refer to vehicles upon highways;
exceptions. (a) The provisions of this title apply upon public highways,
private roads open to public motor vehicle traffic and any other parking
lot, except where a different place is specifically referred to in a
given section.
(b) The provisions of this title relating to obedience to stop signs,
flashing signals, yield signs, traffic-control signals and other
traffic-control devices, and to one-way, stopping, standing, parking and
turning regulations shall apply to a parking lot only when the
legislative body of any city, village or town has adopted a local law,
ordinance, rule or regulation ordering such signs, signals, devices, or
regulations.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) §1172. Stop signs and yield signs.
(a) Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection and the right to proceed shall be subject to the provisions of section eleven hundred forty-two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Norm- This section seems to be most pertinent:

"(b) The provisions of this title relating to obedience to stop signs,
flashing signals, yield signs, traffic-control signals and other
traffic-control devices, and to one-way, stopping, standing, parking and
turning regulations shall apply to a parking lot only when the
legislative body of any city, village or town has adopted a local law,
ordinance, rule or regulation ordering such signs, signals, devices, or
regulations."

Henrietta has in fact adopted a "local law,
ordinance, rule or regulation ordering such signs", which in fact states that "Such signs shall bear the legend: "Enforced by police pursuant to ordinance of the Town of Henrietta.""

The first quote appears to be just the general definition of "parking area of a shopping center", and the third quote would apply to publicly/gov't maintained roads. The gov't has no authority to install stop signs on private property, however the property owner can, and by code in Henrietta must have the additional signage when they do so.
 

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If you can not see the sign you can not be expected to stop for it.
And if you are convicted, sue the mall in small claims court for the amount of the fine for failing to maintain their property.
 
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