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After Turkey Trot leaves marks on roads, Town Board keeps $250 deposit


While passing a law in July that banned charity runs and bike races during the summer months, the Southold Town Board — which was fed up with some race organizers making illegal marking on local roads — said future groups that didn’t clean up after themselves wouldn’t get their deposits back.

On Tuesday, board members unanimously followed through on that new policy.

A $250 cleaning deposit for the 10th annual Turkey Trot in Matittuck this past Thanksgiving wasn’t returned to the Mattituck-Cutchogue Teachers’ Association because of markings left on the road that hadn’t been washed off. A Town Board resolution to give the deposit back had been on the agenda, but was nixed after board members at Tuesday’s work session meeting.

“It’s sad because it’s an event they have out here every year,” said Councilman Bill Ruland, who pushed to keep the deposit. “We’re trying to be consistent with everyone … Whoever did what, the rules have to be followed as the rules.”

The teachers’ union had agreed to clean up after the race, as part of the agreement allowing them to use the public roads. But according to Mr. Ruland, the event’s organizers used white paint to put arrows on the road near the race route, which still remain.

Those markings could confuse local drivers and highway crews looking for underground utilities, Mr. Ruland added.

“I suspect there was no [ill] intent in any of this, but there wasn’t any thought either,” he said Tuesday.

He added the group’s $250 deposit probably wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of painting over the arrows. Starting in January, organizations will have to provide a $1,500 deposit for cleaning, to prevent similar situations from happening again.

Mr. Ruland suggested adding a stipulation to future agreements specifically forbidding organizations from making permanent marks on the roads and said the teacher’s union shouldn’t get their deposit back.

Councilwoman Jill Doherty agreed.

“We don’t give it back,” she said at the work session meeting. Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the group could get the money back once the road was fixed, adding that he didn’t want to “make a mountain out of a molehill.”

Photo caption: Runners pack the street in Mattituck for the ninth annual Turkey Trot in 2014. The 2015 race left marks on local roads. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)