Posted by: Dawn Powell | February 18, 2013

Town Board “work session” February 2013

February 2013 Irregular Town Board meeting.

There was a fuller explanation of the wall encroachment on Hollowbrook Road at the work session.  It was brought to light in a building violation prosecution.  While a previous wood wall was mentioned, it did seem as if a concrete wall has been in place, and it was a repair that was undertaken this time.  It would be within a wetlands buffer, but wetlands were only mentioned regarding the steep slope and wetlands on the town property on the opposite side of the road.

Steve MacKay brought up the fact that there are encroachments all over town, and this would be a precedent for other homeowners.  Old Muttonchops says it would be case by case, but that does not  seem equitable – selective enforcement.

A lot of this stuff seems prejudicial.  Even the problem with this owner applying or not for a building permit, what should be involved in his permitting or plans, or wetlands, or encroachment seems to open  astoundingly byzantine possibilities.   Indeed, it has become that byzantine.  All to repair a wall that was in place when he bought the property.  Why isn’t it the town’s responsibility to repair?  Some walls in rights-of-way are, but how would anyone know which ones?  And if residents are fearful of an unclear code, and just what is expected of them when they undertake a repair, and if certain residents are treated with bias, and subjected to all kinds of obstacles, doesn’t that encourage non-compliance with permitting, rather than compliance.  It has become worse and worse with this administration.

In the end, they decided that $100 was consideration, plus filing fees.   Bill thinks that adverse possession against the town really isn’t a consideration, but shouldn’t it be?  Shouldn’t the “owners” have some protection for a situation that was in place when they purchased their property?

Bill said a few times that it would be illegal to gift an easement without some consideration, so I still wonder about that easement that he arranged next to Big Blue, opening up the possibility of development.

Old Muttonchops opened his irregular meeting and amended the agenda before starting the first public hearing.  Public hearings are their very own event, not part of a regular or irregular meeting, and should be opened and closed themselves before the board meeting.  Executive sessions are not amendments to the agenda.  They are announced and voted on by the board.  Except in Putnam Valley.

And speaking of irregularities, Bill and OMC were discussing the DEC’s insistence that the erosion and sedimentation law requires a change.  Our fearless leaders maintain that because they adopted the model law verbatim the state shouldn’t be upset about this omission.  I don’t think that the town could necessarily have anticipated this particular issue, but I have expressed my dismay at the practice of adopting model laws verbatim.  They are intended to be a guide, to be adapted to local conditions. Especially when the laws are subjects like erosion and sedimentation or flood prevention, they should be adapted.  And when laws are brought up for changes and public hearings, there should be consideration of the issues in the section of the law, as in the sign law.  The Board discussed the outdoor wood boiler law ad nauseum for a long, long time, in spite of the fact that the state was writing its own law.  But they do not discuss important local laws.  Of late, there are some murmurings of change.  That would be nice.

OMC looks forward to bulk drop-off.  I look forward to a more effective system for bulk.  Jackie introduced the concept of garbage pickup for the town.  Nice concept.  It’s a shame the OMC’s administration has been so lackluster, and none of this research has been updated.  We asked for a change in Lake Peekskill’s collection last year, but OMC doesn’t care what the community wants.  We have asked for changes before, but OMC is quite adept at maintaining status quo.  Bill Zutt  suggested consolidation and expansion of districts.    How about town recycling and composting first?  Jackie commented on the number of garbage trucks on her street.  Noisy, inefficient, inconvenient, and polluting.

Jackie mentioned that some people take their garbage to their jobs.

Tom Carano, Mike Raimondi and Peter Belefant will go to the NY Planning Federation.  OMC said that it is required, but it is not.  Continuing education is required and can be obtained locally and free, but it is definitely a good idea for the Town to have Board members at this conference.

Someone brought up the exterior lighting law again. I am not sure who.  Bill Zutt says that it was brought up two years ago, and the law is not ready for primetime.  He said that It has a lot of technical language and should be understood by laymen.  He wants to take advantage of Mary Ann Arrien’s knowledge on this, and thinks that the law should be understood by normal people. OMC says he’ll confer with MA.

Yeah, $54K for the new backhoe for Lake Peekskill…

The ambulance corps contract was extended for a month.  Their lawyer is talking to their lawyer.

The TB is applying to the DEC to put carp in Lake Oscawana.

They have hired Brian Shook for the Hurricane Sandy damaged to the roof and the break room in Town Hall, $21K.  Insurance will reimburse.

The Town will be contracting with the SPCA for humane enforcement.

The camp contract amount went up.  OMC did not mention an amount.  He believes that it is money well spent.

Adopt cats.  Buy bagels.  Save sea turtles.

DP


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