Related question: How is an area deemed unsafe and needing to be cordoned off?

An individual property owner can set up No Trespassing signs at the required intervals, and then law enforcement can prosecute people for ignoring those signs. But what about a municipality? In this case, it's a city in the state of New York. Can the mayor decide that a particular area is unsafe, and order that No Trespassing signs be put up? Can the legislative body (in this case, a Common Council) issue such an order?

I realize that the Common Council can alter the City Code but that takes time -- there needs to be a public hearing, etc. I'm talking about a short-term solution.

I spoke with the head of the local station of the state police, and he said that if the City put up such signs, and notified the state police with a jurat (i.e. in writing, with the required legal language), then they would do the enforcement.


As I alluded to in a comment to your previous question, if the stream is "navigable in fact" then you may have an uphill battle, especially if it is owned by a government entity.

Long review of navigable waterways in NY state

I have a theory of which waterway you are referring to, and I believe I found it by name in this article, referenced to a historic court case under a section titled "held to be navigable in fact".

If I am guessing correctly, I am sorry for your cause, since this suggests that the common law right of access cannot be denied, or at the very least, this is not a simple question and may take much effort on the part of the city to execute to your desires.

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    I appreciate the effort to help me BUT this waterway is far from navigable -- it has dams. The list you found is from 1928! There's no question that it is illegal to swim in it or anything like that. But there are problems with enforcement because of the terrain. So I want access to the danger spot to be cordoned off, with the police tape and No Trespassing signs to be placed on some flat spots, away from the water's edge, to make enforcement more feasible, and safer for the officers. I think I found out today that the answer to my question is that the mayor can issue a "directive." – aparente001 Aug 3 '15 at 22:33
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    Well, the fact that there is a man-made improvement explicitly does not change the navigability, but adds an easement for portage. If there is a recreational use (canoeing or kayaking) that goes through here, kayakers would have a right to portage around the dam. So consider the geography of your proposed cordon: if it would block a portage route, it would be easy for an interested outdoorsperson to challenge. – user662852 Aug 4 '15 at 13:05
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    Interested outdoorsmen want the trespassing (swimming, jumping, rockclimbing, littering, etc.) to stop more than anyone else. Law enforcement people at two levels have told me consistently that the law clearly allows them to issue citations to people in the water, but the terrain does not allow them to do so safely. So I want to move the location of the confrontation higher up, and change the timing of the enforcement to occur at the moment of entry to the area not the water. – aparente001 Aug 4 '15 at 13:07

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