Homeowner responsible for repairs for damage done by state agencies in winter months

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Winter is only a few months away, so who is at fault when a plow driver with the town, county or state damages your driveway?

Neal Townsel is in a rut when it comes to the driveway outside his rented Rotterdam home, a place he’s lived for 17 years.

“Rotterdam is a nice place to live, but let’s get this property taken care of,” he said.

Townsel claims the holes along the bottom of the driveway aren’t his fault.

“We use snowblowers,” he said. “They don’t scrape the ground and pull up the blacktop.”

Townsel believes the plows scrape the roads every winter. He said he has patched the 5.5 inch-deep ruts only to have them scraped up every winter by the plows.

Townsel said his elderly landlady owns the Giffords Church Road home, and he said she has tried in vain to determine who’s responsible so they can make the repairs. Townsel estimates the repairs are around $600.

“She’s like a mother to me, and she doesn’t have that kind of money to shell out for a driveway,” he said. “Let’s get this done.”

NEWS10 ABC reporter Anya Tucker went to the town of Rotterdam’s highway department, which said the state is responsible. Schenectady County also agreed. NEWS10 ABC then went to the garage owned by New York State.

A few hours later, New York State DOT spokesperson Bryan Viggiani gave a definitive answer over the phone.

Viggiani: It’s their responsibility.

Anya Tucker: So, the homeowner is responsible. But what if it is the way they say it is damage done by plows owned by the state?

Viggiani: Sure, it’s still part of the homeowner’s responsibility.

It’s an answer Townsel’s landlady wasn’t happy to hear claiming it’s unfair.

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