Posted by: Dawn Powell | March 26, 2014

Excruciating March 2014 Town Board

A Captain from the Sheriff’s Department ran through the crime stats for Putnam Valley. I will repost when they are up in the minutes. It is much easier to read them than to hear them.

The library is open in the community room for reservations made from the Mid-Hudson Library.

What was good about this meeting was that the Town Board members expressed different opinions. I think that’s a first. What was bad was that Bob-O has so little practice at dealing with the public, he is bad at it, and mean.

Steinmetz is the lawyer for Bob-O’s new incentive zoning scheme. There was so much that was disturbing about this segment.

Incentive zoning means that anyone can build anything anywhere.

Firstly, Mr. Palumbo was before the PB not that long ago for an expansion of his special use, Putnam Sports, the soccer business up on Peekskill Hollow Road and Bryant Pond Road. The thing is, there is a law about segmentation of expansion. If you are planning further expansions, then the environmental impact of the whole project is supposed to be considered together. Now Mr. Steinmetz thinks that he has come up with the perfect solution to this troublesome SEQR requirement, “This is all we’re here to talk about; all that he knows about right now.” Well, in both this project and Mr.s Steinmetz’/Tendy’s other incentive zoning project, these projects have been talked about for years, for more years than anyone is admitting to, because then, well, it would be segmentation. If we pretend it’s not, then it’s not, right? When the last incentive zoning project was enthusiastically welcomed by the Town Board, segmentation was mentioned. Not this time.

Something else really disturbing is the lack of public input. That may seem like an odd thing to say, since there were Tompkins Corners fans present and commenting, but the people who would comment on the Planning Board application were not there, the people whose lives have been negatively impacted by the soccer camp, and who have been ignored completely by the Planning and Town Boards. There was a mention of public comment, but that was bull *&$#. The public isn’t permitted to comment until the end of the Planning process, and by that time, no one cares what they have to say. The exception to that is SEQR, which I believe, would come into play in this application. Bob-O said something about the incentive benefitting the people in the area, but the Church advocates are not in this area (Peekskill Hollow Road is a long road), and the neighbors who objected to the last expansion have not been asked how they feel.

The 13 acre parcel is zoned residential. Despite Hugo Palumbo’s comment that this is a commercial zone, it is not. Is there any reason for zoning in Putnam Valley? What is the point of the Zoning Board’s meticulous calculations which are ignored by the town, and the Planning Board’s approved site plans, the details of which are not enforced?

I don’t dislike the soccer camp. I didn’t like the conduiting of the stream. I still don’t. I think that it destroyed an important natural feature. The stream is a tributary of the Peekskill Hollow Creek, and so was not protected by the DEC. Hugo Palumbo said that they do everything they can to be green. but that culvert was not green at all.

I don’t know how the neighbors whose quality of life is damaged by the camp would feel about the building. The architect’s rendering looked good from what I could see. The proposal was for a 100’X150’building with a height of 35′. Perhaps the neighbors would prefer it. Shouldn’t someone ask them?

SamO gets the prize for suggesting that the barn become the incentive. I don’t know if that is feasible, but it would be nice to see that building preserved, and it would be a good arts center.
There was an intimation that the building could be used for other things besides soccer. So why even have an application for a special use at all? Just everyone do whatever they want. Bob-O seems to prefer that, as long as they are friends of his.

Another disturbing aspect to all of this is the presumption that the building is going to be built regardless of the neighborhood, the Peekskill Hollow Creek (not even mentioned), and the zoning. Mr. Steinmetz pressured the Town Board for a prompt decision, and if they approve, which, of course they will, then nothing can stop it. And all before there is even an application before the Planning Board.

John Cohen expressed concern about the appearance of this metal building on the historically designated Peekskill Hollow Road. Jackie Annabi’s response was that the entrance is on Bryant Pond Road, so it wouldn’t affect the integrity of Peekskill Hollow Road. Huh? Bob-O fought with John. Steve MacKay changed the subject to deflect Bob-O’s hostility. Jackie and Louie had their own conversation. Bob-O really should separate those two. They can have their talks when they are not on the dais.

Bob-O who has set his sights on a new position wants a legacy. His enumerable years in office have given us empty businesses, foreclosures, and higher taxes. He wants the incentive to be the renovation (no one said restoration) of the Tompkins Corner Church.

Steve wants a metal building with 2 bays for the highway department. Perhaps we could have upgraded that building instead of the pricey storage shed at the park.

Tom Carano wants the town to buy the church.

I don’t really think that the Planning Board members should advocate for a project.

Bob-O says, regarding the non-profit that is being formed to buy the church, “You will never purchase that church and it will deteriorate.” The purchase price is $200K. Why doesn’t he buy it for us? I hear that he is doing a lot of lawyering in Carmel. He could give something back!

Hugo Palumbo says he needs an answer. He cannot wait 2 or 3 years. Mr. Steinmetz says that Mr. Palumbo (Joe) has a great idea. Priscilla Keresey asked what determines what they value of the incentive should be. Bob-O said that you can’t measure the value to the community. Mr. Steinmetz thinks that the soccer fields without the building are not as valuable to the community. So nice of him to look out for our interests.

Then the Town Board decided to discuss selling a piece of land to a private person who wants a bigger house. Shouldn’t there be some kind of public process in land sales?

to be continued….

Adopt cats. Save sea turtles.

DP


Responses

  1. Were there two Palumbos addressing the scheme, Joe and Hugo?


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