Posted by: Dawn Powell | July 23, 2012

Public hearings – July 18, 2012

July 2012 Public Hearings

Lots of fun.  With the thunderstorms, I was not able to go to the early meeting.  But they were fun to watch  –  really!

Bob-O wants dumpster enclosures, but it became evident that the reasons for this law were not clear.  Marie Zarcone is one of the property owners at Oregon Corners, and she does not like having yet another regulation, and does not plan to comply.  She mentioned a few other business owners.  What surprised me was that Bob-O had not talked to the business owners about this.  Whatever choices are being made for the Corners, clearly nobody but pols are involved.

The other thing that surprised me was that the problems mentioned will not be solved by this law.  If dumpsters are too small, and are overflowing garbage into the stream, putting screening around them will not solve it.  It may keep some garbage in, but not all of it.  If it is raccoons that are pulling the garbage out of the dumpsters, enclosures will keep some of it in, but it was not established that that was the problem.  Whatever the problem is, that was not clear in this public hearing.

It would seem that the closed covers on the dumpsters would keep the garbage in, unless the dumpsters are indeed too small.  But if there is an enclosure that is locked, wouldn’t that exacerbate the likelihood of littering?  And if enclosures are built, they will not be getting a larger dumpster anytime soon.

I do think that Bob is right about concrete slabs v. blacktop, that dumpsters will sink into blacktop.  Big dumpsters are not inviting to businesses.  It doesn’t make you want to go in.  Marie wants to paint them.

It was interesting that Marie indicated that parking spaces would be lost at Lizzie’s if they had to comply, but were those spaces ever legal?  When VS Construction did that rehab, I don’t recall a site plan, and I’m pretty sure the county would have needed to approve the additional parking spaces, and possibly the terrace, added to the road’s right of way.  This site has already been identified by the county as a hazardous point on the road.  I’d love to see that right angle parking addressed there.

I wonder if dumpster placement is addressed by the PB in site plans.  Probably, but it hasn’t been a hot enough topic for me to remember.

Sam O doesn’t support the new law, but he brought up the issue of enforcement.  Bob-O says that enforcing the existing law hasn’t worked.  So why would passing a new law help?  If the business owners are not picking up garbage on their sites (I do not know that that is the case), then why would they comply with this law.

We’ll have to see what the TB does with it.


Then there was a sign public hearing.  The only thing they are proposing to change is the allowance for the large building signs.  Sam O thinks this is a great idea.  I don’t agree.  He says that this proposal will change the variety of types and sizes of signs.  I don’t see how.

I sent a written comment to the 4 Town Board members, and the Town Clerk.  Steve MacKay and Jackie Annabi got it.  It does seem that they are the only ones who are responsive.  I’m grateful.  I don’t know if Bob-O’s email is rejecting just me, but since he is accusing citizens with harassment charges if they make complaints, and going so far as to threaten to go to the District Attorney, I don’t think I’ll try to send anything to him again.  It just isn’t worth the harassment.

Back to Oregon Corners, I don’t think the signs on the building are all that helpful.  If you look at the western Oscawana Lake Road freestanding signs, those businesses are easy to locate.  Tall enough listings, lots of contrast, and clear street numbers. 

I find it interesting that the Comprehensive Plan committee (remember pre-Bob-O, sort of) and the Wordsmiths committee both considered this issue, and perhaps their input should be considered.  For the uninitiated, Putnam Valley does have a good Comprehensive Plan.  The Boards have largely ignored it.

I commented on the motley grouping of signs for the Lake Peekskill business district and suggested some free ABACA advice on those.  ABACA is the town’s architectural review board.

And I commented on the lawn signs, which was the only issue the TB chose to discuss.   Lawn signs are considered in the existing law, permitted before a specific event, which includes political signs.  It doesn’t say how long before, and that interpretation changes, often depending on whose signage it is.  There are political signs up now, when there is no primary on the near horizon.  Those signs went up before the last primary, even though that primary was unrelated. 

But there is nothing now that can be enforced.  Jackie insisted that the law says political signs are allowed 30 days before, but the code does not say that.  It says “a limited period of time.”  And none of them are allowed in the town right of way.

So why not start over, and do this right.  The Comprehensive Plan did all the work already.

Adding to all of this confusion, evident in a very brief 7 minute public hearing is that the county’s sign “policy” is policy, not law.  And the rights of way on Peekskill Hollow Road and Oscawana Lake Road are county, not town.

That means that the mechanism for enforcement would be county, not town.  And I don’t know that a Sheriff’s Deputy would enforce a resolution that was not written into the law.  The county legislature’s view on political signage is that they can be up 30 days prior to a primary or election, and taken down within 15 days.  Clarity is always nice in a law.

Bob-O said he did not know what I meant by CEO.  It was an odd comment.  CEO is the abbreviation used in the code for Code Enforcement Officer.  That is not Bob-O.  CEO is the abbreviation used in the law that the Town Board was proposing to change.  I guess he didn’t read it.

I did forget something in my written comment.  A lot of people have requested a change in the signs used for zoning applications, and a requirement that signs be used for planning board applications.  Lots of people have asked for this change for years.  Most of you have noticed the Towns of Cortlandt and Yorktown signs for public hearings on sites.  Has anyone ever seen a sign in Putnam Valley?  There are ineffectual signs for zoning board applications.  I’ve never seen one at a site.  I have seen building permit notices in windows.  This problem needs to be corrected. 

Anyway, they were entertaining public hearings, recommended watching.


Adopt cats.  Buy bagels.  Save sea turtles.









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