My comments today are about Mr. Tendy’s bullying and the horrific “roast” he did of poor Priscilla at the last December board meeting. It’s not for nothing that the Lohud bloggers refer to him as “Bully Bob” or even “BB” for short.
If you want to see the true measure of his character, watch any video in which he appears. Not only is he a bully, but he possesses a monstrous ego that is completely unchecked by the other board members who are too wimpy to call him to task for his overbearing behavior.
But I digress. I saw part of the Priscilla “roast” on channel 20 and I felt like I was watching a train wreck. Poor Prissy sat there like a deer caught in the headlights, eyes wide open and stunned. I could not believe my ears when I heard what Bob was saying to her. Not only that, but her boyfriend Sammy O. was sitting there in the front seat, also being insulted by BB’s remarks that included sly references to Prissy’s “boyfriend.” If Sam had been even half a man, he would have jumped up and put a stop to it to defend Priscilla’s honor. What a concept in this day and age, but it still works for me.
And what about Prissy’s feminism? Where did that go? Why did she allow herself to be publicly humiliated at her last official town board meeting? As a woman and as a citizen of this town, I cringed for her.
A town board meeting is not the place for a thinly disguised sociopathic humiliation that bordered on an S&M session. There was nothing funny about it. It was sick. And for anyone who is even considering voting for that bald headed freak in the next election, please watch this video before marking the ballot.
Budget public hearing and Work session – Bob Cinque said there were plenty of seats up front. It was funny. Wendy said there’s no public here, that’s the problem. It was not funny.
Two public hearings about Lake Oscawana. Septic pumpouts. I don’t know how they dealt with the problem of not having authority to go onto private property to enforce. I didn’t read the law. Sam O says the County Leg believes it is a home rule issue, as well as phosphates in fertilizers, and wood-burning boilers. I don’t see how. Water and air pollution cross town lines on a regular basis. I had heard that the Department of Health considers the first two issues to be in their jurisdiction, but I haven’t called them to verify.
Phosphate in fertilizer. This one was generated from Lake Oscawana, but it is for the whole town. (Actually, the law was introduced by Sam, but the Town Board refused to take action. I’m glad that LOCA brought it back.) They say the law is not enforceable. Four members of the board argued that it is good to have an unenforceable law. Gene said it is not. I’m with Gene. I think that passing a law that cannot be enforced does not encourage people to do the right thing. It encourages them to not respect the law. We have enough of that already. Gene and I come from very different political perspectives and visions, and I differ in my view of inviting the public to participate, but he has a respect for the rules and for the process that I really appreciate.
There will be a 9.5% increase in town taxes that will be offset by your reduction in assessment, if you got one. And there will be a 3.7% increase in county taxes.
Priscilla wanted to know why the farm market will no longer be at the grange…..
Bob got a letter from the county about the county’s proposed historic road law and sent his comments back, without asking any other Board members’ opinions. If Sam had even thought of doing that, it would have been front page news for weeks. But for Bob, who actually does what Sam was accused of, not one complaint.
I checked the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority website, and although they have not proceeded with the “takings” of private property for the Peekskill Hollow Road project, it is still on the schedule as starting this year. Nothing has changed.
From what I hear there will be no tree at Oregon Corners this year. I think that’s a shame. It’s sad when neighbors turn on neighbors. I don’t know why the taxes were not paid in the past, but as of the county’s threat to put their roadway up to George’s front door, I don’t know if I would continue to pay taxes under those circumstances. And the responsibility for Bob’s great wall will be determined in the court. I never saw that as George’s responsibility. I think Bob and his buds should pay for it.
Amendments to the agenda
Executive Session – the specific litigation must be announced. They use this one a lot to hold backroom meetings.
And the fire department building – this should not have been an amendment. There should be announced meetings where the public can address their concerns. Eddie McCarthy did a good job of explaining. Patty Villanova did a good job of questioning. Both got a little irritated at the end. The public needs more information. The fire department did their homework, but did not share that homework until this was all planned. The public should be able to ask questions and they should know ahead of time that this is the topic. An $8 – $12 million project is not a mere last minute presentation at the beginning of a Town Board meeting. This subject deserves its own, well advertised meeting. Someone other than testy Tendy should Chair, so that there will be no badgering, “What was the question? This is a question and answer session.” And no one should feel that if they have concerns, and want to ask questions, that they are un-American, or do not appreciate what our volunteers do for us. Patty has been asking questions that others in the community are too afraid to ask. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask about a $10 million building project in a bad economy.
“We can’t spend all night on this.”- BT We need to spend time on this. It is important. – DP
Ag district law – listen to Gene Yetter on this one. The board adopted a neg dec on this law before discussing it, and of course, they didn’t discuss the impacts (a legal requirement). This Town is supposed to adopt a ‘right to farm’ law. This isn’t it. This a farm deterrent aimed at ‘so-called farms’ according to the Supervisor. If you were thinking of getting a few chickens, forget about it. They just outlawed it.
Wendy said, “I feel a little the way Gene does.” Watch her explanation before you vote. The primary is September 15. After 3 1/2 years, she still does not know what she is talking about.
And why is Bob Cinque no longer recused on agricultural issues? Was there an expiration date?
Peekskill Hollow Road – Councilwoman Whetsel has decided that this is a good campaign issue, and that she should talk about it, not actually do anything, just talk. She did not attend the two Physical Services Committee meetings on this important issue. She did not come to this meeting with any action in mind. All she did was table Bob’s “loosy-goosy” letter and make the public wait until the end of the meeting for discussion. Par for the course. Talk about alternative energy and defeat solar panels. Talk about smart development, then broker a secret deal for a development on a dead end road with a grade of 15%.
Bob said that the legislature was showing political cowardice for listening to the public.
The big new is that Mr. Cinque is growing a beard and seeking public opinion. I got a ugh! And an eeuuuuuw… I’m fond of facial hair, so he’ll probably shave tomorrow.
BZ and WW were color coordinated, he in a yellow tie, she in a yellow shrug.
They decided that you should pay for your neighbor’s private road.
They are hiring an outside attorney to represent the Town in a new lawsuit. I don’t know why.
They passed a resolution on LOSAP (length of service awards program – for the fire department) without knowing the cost.
Patty Villanova wrote up the same meeting. It’s fascinating to see two different perspectives.
Come on Baby Light my Fire
8/19 Putnam Valley Town Board Meeting.
The PV town board meeting of August 19th was the last one before the September 15th primary election. Four of the candidates who are running for town board were in attendance, myself, former supervisor Sam Davis and Jackie Annabi, as well as Councilwoman/candidate Whetsel who as per usual made sure she got her share of free face time on Channel 20 as the new spokeswoman for the proposed firehouse. While Davis and Whetsel have spent their share of time at town hall, this may have been a first for Mrs. Annabi as she’s been pretty much a stranger around here, even after she secured the GOP/IND endorsement.
Residents should know that the PVFD’s plan to build a $10-15 million dollar firehouse, similar to the one in Mahopac, is moving forward, with or without our vote or input. I have been researching this budget buster for many months and seriously question the need for such a project and the cost, which in this economy is obscene. I have asked the TB to put the question up for a referendum and been told that”there’s not enough information.” Translation: nobody wants to go up against the revered First Responders in an election year.
In a surprise move, no doubt provoked by my numerous FOIL requests, the meeting began with a dog and pony show, oops, I mean presentation of the new fire station, by volunteers Eddie McCarthy and George Kipp. There were glossy pictures of the new building as well as full color renderings of the plans and layout. Mr. Kipp sat in the back row and seemed a bit confused by all the details about long term financing, notes, bonds and rates of interest. It was so pathetic that at one point attorney Zutt turned to him and said maybe they should have had Frank Tansey give the explanation. (Mr. Tansey is the FD Secretary and also an accountant). According to McCarthy, the FD has applied for 2 grants amounting to some $4 million dollars including one application to the Obama administration for stimulus money. Given the political makeup of Putnam, it seems rather unlikely that a predominantly Republican county will be high on the list for such largesse, but if you ignore that logic and accept the FD math, the new building will end up costing us no more than a few cups of coffee per day. What nobody mentioned is Part 2 of the project, which is multi-million dollar cost of refitting the old firehouse into a new town hall should a new one firehouse be built.
The presentation was short on real numbers of what this building will cost, but long on the merits of the glorious volunteers who are so much cheaper than a paid department. We learned that there is no plan for a smaller building; that they had gone out and questioned all the other departments and found out from Mahopac that even THEIR Taj Mahal is really too small. Also, the new firehouse would become a magnet for underage youth who can’t drink yet, who need a place to go, and hey, what’s wrong with teaching them a little poker, a little pool, while they learn to be brave firemen and women. At that point I just had to ask, are we building a teen center or a firehouse?
As part of his mandatory face time, Super Bob decided to read in all its excruciating detail, the full text of a Local Law to amend Chapter165, Zoning, to Create Agricultural and Residence/ Agricultural zoning districts. When the vote came, there was at least one surprise for the evening as councilman Yetter attempted to show he still had at least some cojones left and voted “No”.
Following that, #6 on the agenda was another amendment to the zoning law which councilman Cinque was supposed to read. Bob C. pretty much didn’t care about his face time, mainly because he’s in the process of growing a beard and seems a bit insecure about it. He asked attorney Zutt if he had to read the whole thing and BZ surprisingly said there was no need to do so, thank God!
There was a brief discussion of a letter to the county regarding Peekskill Hollow Rd. Apparently there’s still a difference of opinion as to what’s going to happen with the protective law that’s supposed to be written, and Vic Tishup who was in the audience accused Tendy of misrepresenting some of the facts particularly about Oregon Corners. Tendy said they should discuss all this in his office and smoke some really good cigars, not Cuban. Oh well, boys will be boys.
The next item was referred to as BB’s favorite: they voted to reimburse some woman whose laundry was accidentally picked up by the garbage men and taken away to the dump. Apparently the woman was taking out bags of laundry to bring to the laundromat and she left them by the curb while she went back to her house for something. Next thing you know, the overzealous garbage guys passed by and tossed them into the truck. Cost to the town- $774.
Mercifully, public comment took place at a reasonable hour because the meeting was fairly short. Note to the TB: when are you going to allow public comment at the beginning of the meeting as well as the end? It would really work to your advantage as you’d get rid of all the troublemakers right away. Anyhow, I got up to continue my comments about the firehouse, namely, when can this be put up for a vote by the people who will be paying it? The reason last month was that there wasn’t enough information. Well how much more info do you need? I expected a full frontal assault by Bully Bob on this one, but he showed the same professional courtesy that one barracuda gives another and allowed Wendy to answer. Not being one to take on chance on losing votes, WW jumped back on the bandwagon and proclaimed, you guessed it- now there’s really not enough information, especially after what they heard tonight about the grant and stimulus money etc. There’s no way of knowing how much this sucker’s gonna cost so how can we possibly vote on it?
Finally, the most disturbing comments came from none other than former councilman and Sam Oliverio wannabe, Dan Ricci who proclaimed his everlasting love and support for the first responders and more importantly, let it be known that I didn’t have to worry, that even if MY house ever caught on fire, the brave fireman would put it out, I guess despite the fact that I’m against their project. I suppose the implication is that one’s political views might be a consideration when it comes to fire fighting. Memo to Dan: I thought all that KKK stuff went out after the police abolishment. Also, you were wrong about the ambulance corps costs.
The next TB meeting will be after the primary. It will be interesting to see if the dynamic changes once we find out who’ll be running in the November election. Stay tuned.
I attended the meeting for 2 agenda items – cats and Peekskill Hollow Road. Councilwoman Keresey has been consistent in her commitment to animals, and I appreciate that. She is trying to introduce a trap/spay/neuter policy for stray cats to enhance quality of life for residents, to protect the environment, and to be humane. Putnam Felines works very hard to control the problem, and to place cats ready for adoption.
There are kittens for adoption. Adopt a couple. They will bring joy to your life.
And then there’s the pork project on Peekskill Hollow Road – it sounds like they are all on the same side. They are not. So take what they are offering, but be vigilant. Mr. Cinque was right about this one. Pass a resolution asking the county to preserve the road as a historic roadway. Then pass a local law, like the North Salem law to protect the road. The Supervisor kept telling us that it is illegal. Mr. Zutt kept trying to tell him that it’s not. Meanwhile, the county has not changed anything about how this is all proceeding. Stay alert, and vote them out. Once you get that pork, you just can’t get rid of it.
Backtracking, there was a work session discussion about Incentive Zoning. This is a pet project of the Supervisor’s. He wants to allow more houses than the Planning Board will allow. He keeps saying that you need to do this for cluster subdivisions.
That is untrue. Cluster is in our current code, and in even better format in the draft zoning code. He keeps saying that you need to do this to protect our biodiversity, that the biodiversity corridor does not have the force of law. That is because he has stalled the draft zoning code. We don’t need to allow the Town Board to allow more houses than the Planning Board will allow. We need to pass the Comprehensive Plan committee’s draft zoning code.
The two projects that he continues to mention are the Haeusgen/Marinelli property on the old Wagner farm on Oscawana Lake Road, and Fieldstone on Bryant Pond. The Haeusgen property is constricted by steep slopes and wetlands. I don’t think most residents want to see more houses built there. The taxpayers have already funded a well on their property. That is enough benefit to the developer from the Town.
The Fieldstone project had a well attended Planning Board scoping session. The public was eloquent and clear. The Supervisor made fun of them. The two ball fields at this location would destroy the wetland buffer and the houses would damage the NYC watershed. There were lots of other problems. It is the wrong location. So why would we give incentives to the developers to do a project that is not appropriate?
This is a bad law. The discussion should be over.
There is a new name for the wordsmiths committee. Now they are called the “zoning code amendment committee.” The mandate of this committee has changed again, and only one person is deciding. Nobody else knows what this committee is doing or what they are supposed to do. This time, it was called “fine tuning of the code.”
Public comment was Patty Villanova telling us about the fire department’s plans. The Supervisor says he does not have any information. The fire department’s building plan is on last night’s ZBA agenda for a variance.
The cemetery and Mema’s were on the Planning Board agenda Monday. I’ll have to watch to see what happened.
Despite the support for the code, despite the legal difficulty in using a code that does not conform to the Comprehensive Plan, despite years and years of telling us that the code contains ambiguities and needs updating, despite taking public grant funds for the completion of the code, the Town Board refused to pass the code. Instead Mr. Tendy dismissed the Comprehensive Plan committee, and the Board members allowed that. Instead, the Zoning and Planning Boards have chosen to ignore the Comprehensive Plan in their decision making. Instead, Mr. Tendy decided that he wanted to have the code rewritten, with no planner, with no public input, with no Town Board input, with no minutes, with no attendance, with no accountability.
In Mr. Tendy’s own words, this state of affairs is a classic justification for a moratorium. He stated it quite well, in my opinion. (CMP is Comprehensive Master Plan.)
“If a town may drastically revise its CMP based on recent data obtained as a result of a thorough study, it makes no sense to continue to accept applications for development when the developer’s plans may turn out to be in conflict with the new CMP. A new CMP will result in many changes to the zoning and building codes of the town. Why permit building that ultimately might be in conflict with the rules and regulations that have been revised only a few months or perhaps weeks after the permit was issued? If, as the statute states, town government has the authority and responsibility to undertake comprehensive planning and to regulate land use for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety, and general welfare of its citizens it would make sense to impose a moratorium until all new codes and regulations are in effect. Developers, property owners, town planning and zoning boards would all be able to get on the same page vis-à-vis any and all new regulations and restrictions.”
Yet the Putnam Valley Town Board has done exactly what Mr. Tendy has said makes no sense. It should be remembered that two of the current Town Board members opposed a moratorium. Mr. Tendy and Ms. Keresey told us that we could go through this process, that we could complete the Comprehensive Plan, and the zoning code without a moratorium. Town Board member Wendy Whetsel told us that, in spite of the existing code protections against overly steep, overly long roads, she was supporting Mr. Santucci’s Marsh Hill Road because the new code would protect us in the future. Now she tells us that at some time in the future, we will be protected against the cost of new road construction, while she supports taking on new roads.
I would say that these three members of the Board are wrong, that no matter what they do at this point, they have fundamentally failed in serving the public; they have failed in protecting the public; they have failed in doing the job that they were elected to fulfill. Town Board members Keresey and Whetsel have had more than three years to do something. Mr. Tendy has had more than six years.
So how does this relate to non-conforming lots? Non-conforming lots are a major issue in the town’s zoning. When they pass a change in zoning, for example to 3 acre lot size, all existing smaller lots become non-conforming, and so, the way those lots are treated becomes vitally important to all of us.
Mr. Zutt has proposed four new laws on this topic. One repeals a piece of the existing code. One will make a prohibited use in an overlay district into a prohibited use in the base zoning. One would consider a non-conforming commercial lot to be residential. HUH?????
Non-conforming uses came up at the zoning board recently. The gas station on Bryant Pond Road is a prohibited use under our code. Now they are expanding. This is not a non-conforming use. One of Mr. Zutt’s four new laws would make it a non-conforming use. But, if the town code is left as it is, a gas station will be in the listed uses for a CC2 (community commercial 2) zone. It will be prohibited in the ground and surface water protection district. And this new law will now make this prohibition into a change in the base zoning. However, the base zoning will not change. Does this sound confusing?
Then, there was a house up on Tanglewylde Road. It burned down. The house is on .37 acres. This is not a large enough lot for septic or well, and would not be permitted in our code. However, the code allows a non-conforming structure to be rebuilt within two years. This is a non-conforming lot, not a non-conforming use. Rebuilding never was at issue and while it has been noted as relating to these four laws, I cannot see that this application would change under these new laws. The applicant has decided to expand the house to two stories. The expansion might be considered questionable. The zoning board is allowing it.
And then there is the cemetery’s non-conforming use. It is hard to say what effect these new proposed laws would make in this application. The newest law added says something about expansion of non-conforming uses in commercial zones. I was unable to obtain a copy. But the cemetery expansion could be stopped by the current law. If there is no will by the Boards or attorneys to uphold prohibitions that are in the law, then there won’t be any if we make the laws more circuitous.
Segmented and convoluted changes to the code make it more circuitous and byzantine.
When these zoning changes about non-conforming lots were presented by Town Board member Keresey, she wasn’t even able to explain what these changes were. Mr. Tendy and Mr. Yetter were rude when I attempted to find out what the changes meant.
These changes are not minor. Non-conforming use and non-conforming lots are not minor issues. This tinkering with provisions of the code as issues present themselves is piecemeal and destructive. It is also expensive. It costs the taxpayers money to go through this process. We should have had a moratorium while the politicos played this game.
The public hearing is on May 13. I doubt that the Board members will be listening.
Town Board – March 18, 2009
Robert Tendy had himself a four hour meeting Wednesday, and while his mood was much better than at last week’s work session, it was still foul. He mocked Councilwoman Keresey for her disagreement on incentive zoning, and he yelled at me for asking questions about non-conforming lots, and the proposed laws, even though I had held my questions until public comment.
He is becoming angrier and angrier, and more and more uncaring about the public’s point of view. Most people stay away, and I really can’t blame them.
There were eleven Town Attorney driven agenda items, things that Mr. Zutt has decided must be considered by the board. There was resistance on some items, but almost none on others. Mr. Zutt has stepped very far out of the role of Town, Planning, and Zoning Attorney. I am quite uncomfortable with this situation.
The hot topic was road dedication. The resolution was really brilliant. It said that the town would not automatically accept dedication of roads, but that they could negotiate for them, thus leaving the door wide open for acceptance. Of course, the town has always had the right to accept or not to accept roads, and the Planning Board cannot speak for them, nor can the developer.
We have lots of private roads in Putnam Valley, and some of them are not all that old. When a homeowners’ association is formed to handle maintenance of the development’s drainage district, it is an indication that the road was not intended for public dedication. That is the circumstance at Timberline Court. As much as I don’t care for the Town Board management of some of our special districts, I do think that drainage districts are a good idea. I do not, however, think that a private road should be accepted because the developer represented that it would be, or because the homeowners do not want to pay for snow removal. I understand the concept of paying for services for my community. I am in a special district, and I pay for that district’s upkeep. I do think that homeowners’ associations are a much better representative body for the individual district than are the town board members. They allow the members a much greater level of control.
Timberline Court has a homeowners’ association, and someone said it cost them $40,000 to plow the snow. They would prefer that you and I pay that. I think they should shop around, or maybe get a pick-up truck and put a plow on the front of it. I am thinking of another road with relatively new houses on it. I’m sure it doesn’t cost them that much. One resident says she wants to be part of the community, and apparently that means we should pay for her road.
There was also conversation about school buses, and it should be noted in all of this that the school buses do not necessarily go to every house, even on town roads. That happens in Lake Peekskill all the time, and probably in other areas as well. It should also be noted that those of us who reside in less than 1/3 of the houses that these residents own, and less than 1/3 of the property, and homes that are not new, do not pay proportionately less in taxes. New, large houses may pay high taxes, but they are still largely subsidized by the rest of us. The views expressed did not make me feel comfortable about the inclusion of the rest of us in their concerns. They have their concern, and the impact on the rest of us doesn’t matter. It really was about having their snow plowed. A resident asked me why the Town Board is planning to accept this road, and I had no answer. Votes in the next election, maybe?
On April Fool’s Day, there will be an informational meeting about the Jersey planners concept of Oregon Corners. It’s an appropriate day. I asked Mr. Tendy to consider holding a visioning meeting, so that the public would feel that their input was of value. He said they already had a vision. You and I need not bother. He has decided what he wants to do, and nobody else matters. A Master Plan for Oregon Corners would include everyone’s ideas. This will not. The purpose of the meeting will be to inform us and get us on board, not to listen to our concerns. Mr. Tendy does not believe in that. He was in on the county conversations, so it is of no importance that no one else was.
A resident said to me, thank goodness the monster wall is the only thing he’s done.
Mr. Tendy asked Eileen if he was allowed to second a motion. And twice Mr. Cinque asked for a second when there was a discussion.
Mr. Tendy does not want to change the rules for the agenda. After the last work session, three of the board members would like to publish the work session agenda on Friday, and add only urgent items at the meeting. One point of agreement with Bob. He is right. They can vote no.
Mr. Cinque again stayed in the agriculture discussion. I wish they would tell us what is going on there.
They are going to televise work sessions, if it is not too much work for our videographer.
They created a new senior clerk position for the assessor’s office.
They discussed incentive zoning, and now Gene is intrigued. It was Mr. Zutt who was intrigued before.
Gene did see a problem with implementing this. There is a problem with the Town Board assuming the powers of the Planning and Zoning Boards. Mr. Zutt again told us that he is not promoting this. He seems unaware that it has been discussed before by the Comprehensive Plan committee. It has been rejected before, but that does not mean that the men won’t proceed with it anyway.
I was in Mr. Tendy’s group at the CP visioning meeting, and his views were not well received. He was so insulting that I left and joined another group. Now he feels that he gets to impose his opinion on everyone. We did, at least, find out some of the incentive zoning that he and Mr. Zutt are considering. They want to put a well on the Hauegsen property on Oscawana Lake Road and Cimarron. The town, at its own expense, dug a well on that property, with no contractual agreement for its use. This well is their proposed solution to the salt contaminated houses at Crofts Corners. Mr Zutt mentioned 24 houses with salt contamination there, but it was corrected to 14. I haven’t seen the numbers since I left town hall, and I have to say that before me, no one had actually looked at them. The situation was improving, and if the county were to change its salting practices, that might help considerably. Long ago, the county DOH had suggested distillation. I thought it was a good idea. It would not relieve the town of the DEC mandated obligation to test, but it would certainly help the residents. If I were in that area, I would consider it. The Hauesgen well is not a solution that I support, so I wouldn’t support incentive zoning to accomplish it.
The Ingersoll house was brought up. We were supposedly getting gifts to support that project, and there are still people living there, so I wouldn’t change the zoning for that one either. And I wouldn’t get involved in more of this unpaid tax morass.
The Fieldstone project was mentioned. Mr. Tendy supported that, but no one else did. That wouldn’t require any incentive zoning, so that’s out as a reason for this law. He mentioned a few times, that we could use this law to mandate cluster zoning. We can already do that! He mentioned that we could get nature trails or open space, but we can already do that. Both Mr. Zutt and Mr. Tendy came across as misinformed on this. Mr. Tendy came across as surly.
White Rock Road was on the agenda. This project has been ongoing for years and years. When the current contractor defaulted on his bond, the town foreclosed, and then let him keep on building. Now he wants part of the bond back, and his attorney, Mr. Steinmetz, was there to get it for him.
Ag district. I wish that everyone who thinks this is a wonderful, feelgood piece of legislation, would just stop telling us that we can’t let one bad experience dissuade us. For Putnam Valley, It has been three bad experiences, and one of them has been a really bad experience. There was an inclusion in the district that was purely political. It is a bad idea, no matter how many ways we look at it. Mr. Zutt is attempting to get a right to farm law on the books to conform to state law. Sam D. and David Gordon tried that too. The problem is that the town wants to be protective and a little restrictive. I understand that and agree with it. But NYS ag and markets will not allow us to be restrictive. There are two solutions. Get rid of the county ag district, or get our state legislators to change the law. Promote farming, but do not damage the surrounding community. Nothing that was proposed in this discussion will help us.
There was some discussion about non-conforming structures and uses. I am still working on this one. Mr. Zutt offered to help me, and I will take him up on it when I have done a little more homework. Apparently, my lack of understanding of this is a great annoyance. I was scolded by Mr. Yetter, and yelled at by Mr. Tendy. I’m so glad that Mr. Tendy didn’t continue his teaching career. I’d just prefer that he was defending criminals, instead of “serving” us. I did notice that Mr. Tendy refuses questions when they are from Sam D. And apparently, there are special rules of which I am unaware, for my public comment. Questions were allowed by Kathleen, and by Mark Pawera, but it seems that they are not allowed by me. I am used to separate rules for me from all of these board members. The ethics law was changed just for me. They should have just said, Dawn Powell cannot work for the town. It would have been more honest. Apparently I am not allowed to ask questions at public comment, even if I sit through a four hour meeting to do so.
Mr. Tendy angrily shouted that the rules do not allow questions at work sessions. What rules? Where?
Alas, I am not allowed to ask those questions either.
And speaking of that, Mr. Tendy did find some people to interview for ad hoc, so he probably won’t have to let me do it. It’s March 20 and the PB still doesn’t have an ad hoc. I noticed that he broke into a very long agenda for the interviews after agenda item 8, while I was asked to wait until the end of the meeting for my January interview. I think it was rude.
The meeting began and ended with Mr. Tendy’s self aggrandizement. He was talking to the camera for his opening comments, so I didn’t figure that I was expected to listen. He rattled off a list of all kinds of taxes. I find this opposition to taxes a bit hypocritical from someone who has benefited from the structure for so very long, and has raised taxes year after year after year, while simultaneously managing to depress the general fund, and deplete highway maintenance. On this evening’s agenda, there were tax consequences to at least four items, but those consequences were not even discussed.
At the end Bob felt the need to bring up the legal case that I brought. It was dismissed because Judge O’Rourke believes that I don’t have standing to bring the case. That’s the last time I’ll defend Judge O’Rourke when Bob tells residents that the Kaspar situation was his fault! In Mr. Tendy’s gloating (he really is a poor winner – no sign of sportsmanship there), he still fails to recognize that he was defending a lawsuit, not looking out for the public’s interest. He has a small group who he represents, and the rest of us need not bother. I still believe that allowing minor revisions on approved, signed, and filed plats, while it might be a boon to developers, is bad for the town.
There was a decision in the Kaspar litigation. David Gordon had obtained a temporary injunction, and a decision was just rendered. The North County News had an article about it. I have not yet read the decision. Mr. Kaspar was quoted as saying he’s done here. Maybe he can sell the land to the Trust for Public Land if they are still interested, and maybe this time, Mr. Cinque wouldn’t work against the sale.
Bob praised himself for all his work on enforcement, but In Lake Peekskill, there are vehicles that shouldn’t be there, fueling of trucks, piles of salt (oh no those will be leaving since it’s spring), a dumpster on the roadway. …..
The only LP topic was garbage cans. Maybe he doesn’t want us to know that there’s a district meeting tomorrow. Oops, the word is out.
In June, there will be tall ships as part of the the Hudson Quadricentennial Celebration. That should be fun.
And a day early, it is Spring. That should be fun too.
Putnam Valley Town Board
Work Session – March 11, 2009
Guys, you missed a good one, and there is no videotape since Mr. Robert Tendy does not see any reason for transparency in his government. He was in a foul mood, and yelled at three of the Board members, who objected to 7 amendments to a 4 item agenda. He didn’t want to put off his discussions for “a technicality” like open government, So he yelled at them, then called an executive session and yelled some more. Even though it’s a closed session, his yelling came through the door. And when he came out, he did that ‘badgering the witness’ thing, where if someone disagrees with him, he challenges every word out of their mouths. I doubt that it’s an effective legal technique. It’s certainly not much fun at a town board meeting. Thank you to Gene, Priscilla and Wendy for at least raising the subject of transparency. Next time, stick to your guns.
This meeting only exists in my, and Eileen’s imaginations, or existential realities, so what we say goes, although our versions will differ, not on substance, only in tone. You would think that my posts would be enough incentive for Bob to tape the meetings, but he just keeps handing me material. Town Attorney William Zutt is setting the agenda for the town these days, and tonight was no different. Personally, I find Mr. Zutt to be personable, and he loved his dog. That goes a long way with me. But still, I do not care for his agenda, nor do I support his setting it. I live here. He doesn’t. I vote here. No one here elected him. Even though the Dems are in the minority, they could have had an impact equal to that of Bob’s when he was a constantly disaffected minority. Instead they are reactive. But then again, so are the Republicans.
There is a settlement proposal in the Kaspar litigation. The Town Board authorized that. Since this was the number one problem in Putnam Valley at this time last year according to Mr. Tendy (it was pushed aside for the monster wall), you would be think we might be kept in the loop. When the Adorno stipulation of settlement was authorized, the alleged offending activity was still ongoing, so I admit that I never have much confidence in the current administration’s way of doing business. I was impressed, though, that at least they voted on the settlement, since they never seem to vote to authorize litigation.
Mr. Zutt discussed eminent domain. They were considering proceeding against a resident on Shamrock Road. He says that the process takes 9-12 months, is cumbersome and expensive. Make a note of that, Peekskill Hollow Road residents, if the county is planning to take your property away from you. The resident says she never got the communications from the town, and she has some objections to what they are proposing on her property. At this point, the project won’t proceed unless the FEMA deadline is extended.
Then they talked about the beaver dam at the Barger Pond outlet, that is causing flooding. They seem fixated on whether or not the town had legal responsibility, and completely missed the issue that beavers and waterbodies have DEC regulations. The residents should not be advised to just take matters into their own hands. At one point, Mr. Tendy suggested that the residents were better off if the town wasn’t responsible, because then they could deal with the situation themselves. But that is justnot the case. And our public officials are bound by laws which they are supposed to uphold. Perhaps a consultation with the wetlands inspector would be in order.
Maybe we could use BB’s on them (that was Mr. Tendy’s goose solution). I have been told that Mr. Tendy went to a goose control presentation, so perhaps he can come up with a better solution for the geese. We could have helped him, but he doesn’t talk to us. It seems that he is just as stuck regarding solutions to beavers. My problem with this inability to consider the humanity of living with creatures is the promotion of unacceptable solutions. Recently, a cat was rescued, injured and battered, with BBs under his skin, and obvious pain. Someone had taken this type of solution to heart. Mr. Tendy told us that BBs wouldn’t hurt the geese. And so that way of coping is endorsed. As with the cats, dogs, and geese, the beaver conversation showed that Bob doesn’t get it. He mocked Priscilla’s compassion for the wildlife.
I almost forgot! Mr. Tendy announced that there would be two people interviewing for the ad hoc planning board member. It’s now March 14, and that position is still empty, despite one person who wanted to interview for the regular member (solicited by Mr. Tendy himself), and my interview for ad hoc. Later Mr. Tendy said that Mike found these two men. They didn’t show up….
There’s always me, Bob. I wil post a summary of my interview soon. What is clear at this point is that Mr. Tendy is not looking for an ad hoc member, he is looking for a point of view.
They talked about the law for the zoning map. It makes no sense to adopt a map that does not conform to the Comprehensive Plan, but Mr. Zutt wants to. Town Board member Wendy Whetsel tried to ask why we would adopt a map with the old zoning code, but Mr. Zutt does not see this as a problem. His Wordsmiths group has finished with their secret code changes, and now they are waiting for Mr. Crowder to write it all down, so that it can be revealed to us peons who just happen to live here. For some reason, Mr. Zutt and Mr. Tendy are content to piecemeal a zoning code that does not conform to the Comprehensive Plan. They have done it for years and it works for them, if not for the rest of us. There was no updated map available, so they had to table it. What really surprises me about this piecemeal process is that there is no vision. As an issue arises, they change a law, or propose to, like the Floradan law, ripe for challenge, the incentive zoning law, the ag district law. These are reactive, short-sighted changes. Mr. Z has said several times, and again on this occasion, that he can only guess what the framers of the draft code had in mind. Here’s a novel idea, ask them. (Wasn’t he there?)
Wildwood Knolls – the Bill Kneuer property is not in the district, and he wants to be. He has been using the beach and having his garbage picked up for years (since 1948 actually) without the accompanying tax burden. This came up before, and they will rehash the research, because we go around and around and around….
Then we had a slew of Mr. Zutt’s proposed laws. He sets the priorities, writes the laws, then tells them what to do. His version of the ag law – a floating zone that embraces state ag regulations. While we have an obligation to pass a right to farm law, I’m not sure that I see the advantage to conforming our zoning to the lousy state ag district law. I’d rather try to change that law. I’d have to go back to the draft code to see how they solved this dilemma.
BZ part 2. A restriction on properties coming out of the ag district. This was suggested by Legislator Oliverio, and investigate, and apparently it is too restrictive of the right to farm. I don’t believe that you can restrict ag land, in opposition to town base zoning, once it leaves the district. Town Board member Wendy Whetsel had an interesting idea of an overlay district of already mapped prime farmland, along the lines of wetlands or steep slope districts. Bob tells us that farming is a hobby in PV. Perhaps we can use Wendy’s idea for some sort of incentive zoning. I did like BZ’s explanation of the state ag law – it provides protection from enforcement of zoning laws. Oddly enough, Mr. Cinque, the other Bob, didn’t recuse himself from these discussions. Remember when he said that he would not participate in agriculture discussions. The Ethics Board told him that it was a potential conflict. He represented the Cabots when they were selling the land, and favored the sale to Alex Kaspar, for less money than the Trust for Public Land was offering. That property was already involved in a conflict over agricultural and non-agricultural uses when Mr. Cinque was the attorney. So why was he there?
Non-conforming uses and non-conforming structures, and non-conforming uses in the overlay districts. This would have been entirely different if the zoning code had been passed in a timely manner. I am angry at all the Town Board members and the Town Attorney for their shoddy manner of dealing with the moratorium, the zoning code, and the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. They all share in the blame. And this issue, and the gas station issue would have been altered completely with the passage of the code. Since there are only two gas stations in the town, and the zoning board of appeals (three of them anyway) lacks the motivation to adhere to the overlay district, the point regarding that is moot. Mr. Zutt actually said, “what we are doing here is patching up” and that is a big part of the problem.
Incentive zoning – Bob yelled again. Wendy and Priscilla don’t agree with him, and so they must be wrong, and he must be right. Why try zoning or vision, when we can throw it away? Mr. Tendy, himself, pointed out that the Town Board can change zoning any time they want. And because of Route 6, we can’t listen to anything Nick Bianco (Yorktown Councilman) has to say. I’m sure that Nick appreciates the mention. That may have been Bob’s best comment of the night. He also said that they could use incentive zoning to encourage cluster zoning. Uhhhh…..cluster zoning is mandated by the Comprehensive Plan, and the draft zoning.
And road dedication – Bill clearly wants the town to take some roads. The argument that it was implied that the roads would be accepted by the town does not hold water. Timberline Court does not have a drainage district. They have a homeowners’ association, so none of them anticipated town responsibility for the drainage district or the road when they bought their houses. To impose that burden on the rest of the town now that they are unhappy with their choice, and when significant modifications must be made to their drainage system is unconscionable. Bob talks about some unspoken agreement. I remember the spoken words that conflict with his point of view.
And then, there is the Woods End Road extension. Does that mean they have already accepted the private part of the existing road? Do I have to dig out the legal cases again? Did they make a public decision? And this applicant knew that the Town Board was considering not accepting subdivision roads for the town to take over. So the argument is bovine scat. This is just a sham to promote acceptance of these roads. Who is representing the residents’ interests?
Wendy wants a calculation of the costs of taking over their roads. Gene mocked her. I thought it was the responsible way to proceed.
The Councilwomen did raise good questions. They just ask the wrong people.
Bill will write a resolution.
Wendy commented about a whole packet of Mr. Zutt’s memos in her file, supplied by Bob’s secretary. The thing is, if Mr. Zutt had computer skill, these memos could be online, and each Town Board member could have a file or files according to topics, or better yet, they could have a shared file. That would mean that if they wanted to look up relevant information, they could do a computer search, instead of thumbing through copies of memos. Can we at least progress to the space age? And we would save about a million trees!
The agenda for the regular meeting is posted on the website. The meeting is this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2009. You can watch the post discussion of Mr. Zutt’s vision for Putnam Valley. I’m sure that Mr. Tendy will be better behaved for the camera. There is also a decision on creating a senior clerk position in the assessor’s office. Was this budgeted? Has it been considered with an overview of the functioning of town hall personnel? And they will be setting a date to tell us what they are going to do to Oregon Corners……
Town Board Meeting – February 18, 2009
I was grateful that I didn’t attend the regular town board meeting this month. They started late because only the Bobs were there. Town Board member Wendy Whetsel had a conference with Dr. Somers announced at the work session. Assistant Principal Sam Oliverio had a school vacation, so Town Board Member Priscilla Keresey was off with her beau. When Town Board member Eugene Yetter arrived back from Pennsylvania, the Board went into a 1½ hour executive session.
There were no Supervisor’s comments, no County Legislator report, and no Lake Peekskill report, although Mr. Tendy did talk about garbage cans.
The meeting was all Zutt all the time, and mostly behind closed doors. This administration has disturbingly taken more and more to leaving the public out of the loop. They have also taken to following Town Attorney William Zutt’s lead on priorities and decisions. One member of the public asked, “Who elected him?”
Mr. Zutt presented his views on incentive zoning. He said, “It is intriguing to me.” He has already discussed projects where he would like to see incentive zoning with the board, although he has not shared those views with the public. No one feels the need to vet their ideas through a public process. And to move forward his vision, Mr. Zutt is proposing to change the Comprehensive Plan. Incentive zoning allows a developer to ignore local zoning in exchange for some kind of ‘gift’ to the town.
Mr. Zutt referred to an application that is already pending, where ‘we’ would let them do whatever it is they want to do in return for giving something to the town. This has already been discussed behind closed doors with the Board, but he was quite coy in his presentation, unwilling to let the public into the discussion.
Mr. Zutt again raised his interest in accepting Woods End Road for public dedication. His rationale is that the town was regularly taking on new roads. Woods End Road has long been a private road. Mr. Zutt wants the town to accept it. It wasn’t clear to me if he has decided that the town should take possession of Trading Post Lane – North Shore Road ext.
Mr. Zutt is going to start eminent domain proceedings against a property on or near Shamrock Road, for a drainage project. There is an April 20 project deadline. Note: Barger St. in Putnam Valley is not pronounced as Barjer St.
Mr. Zutt raised the issue of the Steizl property in Lake Peekskill, but does not remember anything about it.
The “discussion” on residential co-op zoning variances was raised in executive session, and the public is not being included in the discussion. There were just 2 zoning board decisions on houses within coops, and perhaps they are suing. But despite the open meetings law, they will not tell.
Mr. Zutt wants a local law updating the zoning map, even though he tells us that he is nearing completion on his rewriting of the draft zoning code, which would require another new map. He has not had time to write the law. He said, “I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.”
Mr. Yetter showed us his warm and fuzzy side and read the leprechaun resolution.
Mr. Tendy is going to replace his computer. Does that help to evade disclosure in the multitude of litigations that he has brought into the town?
Mr. Zutt brought up his interest in and support for establishing a drainage district at Timberline Estates, and having the town accept dedication of their private road. He raised this issue before the subdivision has acquired the requisite number of signatures for the drainage district.
The highway department is buying a $78,000 dump truck with a plow. They are borrowing money, but that doesn’t matter because it is money that they have borrowed before.
Mr. Zutt told the Town Board to accept a letter of credit for a driveway, so that the building department can issue a CO for a house that doesn’t have a driveway yet.
He also told them to grant a conditioned waiver to an applicant who has a finished basement without a building permit, if he presents proof that it was like that when he bought it. I’m not a fan of decision making before the information is presented. I wonder what the applicant’s assessment and inventory said for all these years.
Lake Oscawana is buying the harvester that they were going to buy all along, but it was more complicated than that. The final accepted bid, $93,000.
They are also discussing two parcels for Lake Oscawana biofilters. One of the property owners has two applications before the Planning Board, and possibly a lawsuit. Doesn’t that get a little dicey?
Then they went into yet another executive session to discuss the status of White Rock Road repairs. Since the Town Board has taken over this project, they have kept all information from the public. Why aren’t you guys over there suing them? You’ve been through enough. Maybe you are. The way this board operates, it’s hard to say.
Before that executive session, Town Board Member Eugene Yetter grumbled about having another exec session. His complaints are often not unfounded, but he rarely sticks to them. This time he said to, “Call the girls,” to have another meeting. It is in moments of fatigue that attitudes come to the fore. The two female Town Board members are not girls.
And they didn’t appoint an ad hoc to the Planning Board, not even me. I’m so surprised.
PV Work Session and Combo School Meeting – 2/11/09
There was a short work session, so that the Town Board could go to a meeting at the high school about shared services.
There were a few topics raised at the work session, which was videotaped.
Town Attorney William Zutt would like to see incentive zoning in the town. This is the means whereby a developer can do things that are not in line with current zoning in exchange for giving something to the town. A developer can, for example, build four stories in return for a small park. Perhaps there will be a ball field at Fieldstone (Living Springs). That idea might be related to the combo meeting at the school – sports fields use, needs, and public opinion. Town Board member Wendy Whetsel raised some concerns about allowing overrides to zoning. I am grateful for that.
Mr. Zutt would also like an updated map that reflects the Floradan zoning change. That was the Town Board’s change that was not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Now if we are saying that we are changing the zoning code any time soon so that it will conform to the Comprehensive Plan, why would we spend the taxpayers’ money to update the zoning map, when it would change again soon?
An aside – I did not go to this week’ wordsmiths meeting. I don’t know if they met and they are not talking. There is no public record about it.
Back to the work session – Roaring Brook will talk about boat tags and storage. This was delayed because the district budget was spent by September last year.
Mr. Robert Tendy told us that the County has now reimbursed the Town for the money spent on “the wall.” And that he has pressed the DEC to pursue the Super Station to remove the underground tanks. I still find myself wondering about the Town uncovering a buried tank, and then just covering it right up again. I’m also wondering, if there is litigation, and the county has now shouldered the expense, who sues whom? If the DEC forces the station out of business, wouldn’t that just mean that the county will have to remove those tanks anyway? Isn’t that what they have been trying to avoid? Also, the county’s Peekskill Hollow Road plan identifies some other areas where there may be underground oil tanks. Is Mr. Tendy pressing to have those located and removed or is this business the only one about which Mr. Tendy is concerned? And one more question, Mr. Tendy thinks it isn’t right that the taxes haven’t been paid on that property, but wasn’t he telling us that he wants to provide a place to live for the people at Crofts Corners who also haven’t paid their taxes?
What they did not bring up was my appointment as ad hoc to the Planning Board. Gee, I was surprised. There is still a notice posted of the opening. The Board is still ad hoc less. And Mr. Tendy hasn’t called me to tell me that he is appointing me.
Then we all went to the combo meeting. It was a tentative beginning, but a good idea. More public participation will be helpful, and better advance notice will help. I am sure that there will be a lot of useful ideas on this topic. I was struck by the demeanor of the Town Board contrasted with the School Board. The School Board seemed essentially devoid of politics. It was noteworthy.
County Legislator Vinnie Tamagna was there. It is an election year. We haven’t seen much of him over the last couple of years.
First up was a discussion of athletic fields. Noteworthy was the fact that it hadn’t seemed to occur to the Town that the taxpayers have no responsibility to provide fields to private out-of-town groups. An examination of our needs is really in order. While the fields are in full use, a lot of that use is not school or town. They will be looking into setting priorities, and will report back.
The school is looking for a location to store and wash trucks. Mr. Tendy told us that the Town will be providing truck storage for the county.
Garbage was brought up, but no one had any ideas. This is a topic that needs more discussion.
There is more that we can do with recycling and hazardous waste removal.
There will be future meetings. Watch for them. Your input is needed on this subject. If state and federal aid are cut to the extent seems likely, we need to deliver services more effectively.
The Town Board meeting is Wednesday at 7PM.
Town Board – Regular Meeting
January 21, 2009
I just heard the end of Billy Lee’s comments that we need more people on the Conservation Commission. HUH??? Carl Sandburg said there were 9 – that was two too many according to the town code. They can take on two youth members, maybe that’s what he meant? Maybe the children can lead the way.
Mr. Tendy has more “fun” events planned. He should read Jeff Green’s Friday blogs. There’s always lots of fun listed. Or maybe, he should become a Dem. We had a great party for Inauguration Day, at PV’s own Camp Combe, with a beautiful fire, great music, our elegant Assemblywoman, some beautiful ball gowns and a top hat too. We even had compostable cups! Admission was a can for the food bank. We all took the time to feel some hope about the future. These are tough times, and together we will get there. It was the place to be.
Maybe we should give the money back, so they can fix the plant, or maybe we should give it to the fishermen because of all the fish kills from the plant, or maybe we should give it to Jeff because of the community service he provides.
The councilwomen stuck up for us, twice at this meeting. Good for them! They voted for the Comprehensive Plan, and against one acre down-zoning that conflicts with the CP. The law could have been passed with R3 zoning with the same effect for the community, and in conformance with the CP, although it would still have been segmentation under SEQRA. You can look at the Dems’ website for a fuller explanation – putnamvalleydemocrats.wordpress.com.
I find myself wondering what it is that the County Planning referral does or is supposed to do. When a law like this is changed, it has to be referred to the county planning department for their comments. My experience has been that everything is just passed. This law has a CP problem and a SEQRA problem, and they didn’t say anything about that. I’m just not sure what the county part of the process is supposed to accomplish.
Then, the Councilwomen tried to get the fellows to wait to appoint a full member to the Planning Board until everyone had been interviewed. That would seem appropriate. Mr. Tendy himself found an interested party with prior planning board experience, the day after I sent my email to him, expressing interest in the ad hoc position. I don’t have any idea what Mr. Landi’s background is, but Mr. Tendy’s candidate would seem more qualified. He hasn’t been interviewed, and the men would not consider waiting. The motion had previously been tabled, so the Councilwomen were unable to delay the vote.
They passed the RV law again, this time with the neg dec they had forgotten. They didn’t read the law again, so there was no chance of getting that wrong. Is it okay to pass the neg dec with the resolution for the law?
The traffic light seems to be functional for more hours than we were led to believe it would be, so you get to sit at a red light when no one is going in or out of the school.
Mr. Yetter read a dull list about cold patch, blacktop, and in place bids. I was grateful. A bit too much is abbreviated in the meetings, and it’s better to hear it. It’s too difficult to FOIL all the documents, and the public documents could be requested at the meetings, also too much. Reading the dull stuff with a little editing seems like a better choice. This is what the meetings are about, and the business aspect of the Town government should be public. I like transparency.
There is an erosion and sedimentation control training course at the Westchester County Center on January 29. Be there or be square. If you live on a slope, or a riparian buffer, don’t cut down the trees or denude the area of undergrowth.
The two ball fields in the park will now be named after Phil Keating and Steve Johnson. Not a commentary on the decision, but I am wondering who made it. Isn’t it public property?
The Board is paying Insite Engineering (isn’t it time to use our town engineer?) to determine the feasibility of building a structure over the basketball courts and maybe the tennis court. Isn’t this really bad timing?
Mr. Tendy had nothing to say about Lake Peekskill, kind of like the sign at the entrance.
The BAN (bond anticipation note) for the shutdown of the Lake Peekskill water system and the engineering to study the feasibility of a year-round system that was not feasible, was renewed at 3.2%
There was a lot more discussion about the Lake Oscawana weed harvester. Mr. Tendy missed the last TB meeting to attend the school band concert, and needed to express his disagreement with the Board’s decision while he was gone. They decided to throw out the bids, and come up with new specs. There was a heated argument.
I was there for that long discussion and since no one in the room at the work session was supporting the low bid, the Board did have to consider taking the action they took. After all the discussion, I had no idea what ended up in the new bid specs. I think that only the higher priced harvester company will be able to bid this time.
Ms. Keresey thanked a resident for his assistance to her, and talked to the camera, so perhaps it is contagious. We still have two Board members who haven’t caught it yet.
Mr. Tendy seems very upset about my exercise of my first amendment rights,but I think other points of view should be expressed.
Perhaps my present voice is the unintended consequence of Mr. Tendy’s strategies.
Correction from January work session post: The Town Board has not set a protocol for publishing the meeting agenda. It’s not in the rules of the board.
So – a discussion of agenda and posting. The state law, in a bizarre twist, has strict rules for posting PB and ZBA agendas, but not Town Board agendas. The PV Town Board agendas are sent to the papers, but are not published. Since we have a quaint practice of using weeklies, they couldn’t be published anyway. By policy, they are posted on the website, by the Saturday before the meeting. That is a good policy. Perhaps it should be solidified in the rules. These days it’s easy to post the agenda, and get verbatim minutes. We need to try to incorporate new technology to increase accessibility.
Monday, there is a Planning Board meeting at 6PM or before. The cemetery is on for sketch, more about Kisslinger, the Y camp, the gas pumps on Bryant Pond Road, as well as the project gone awry on Siefert Lane. We don’t need more fun in PV. We’ve got these meetings.
And if that’s not enough, there a Wordsmiths meeting on Tuesday at 6 in Parks and Rec, I think.
All right, those are not so much fun, so just come to the Planning Board meeting.
Town Board, “Work Session,” January 14, 2009
Last night’s Town Board meeting was a work session, sort of. If you look at the website calendar, and go to next Wed, and to the non-existent Zoning code meeting, and click on it, you will find the agenda. I discovered it by accident. It’s like a Rube Goldberg sculpture.
There are two items on the work session agenda – accepting the bid on the harvester for Lake Oscawana, and going over the tentative agenda.
There was a lot else on the actual meeting agenda, which gets us to the point. It used to be that if a decision was to be made at a work session, there was a noticed special session. That was the way Carole did the agendas and announced the meetings. When Sam was Supervisor, we went over this policy with Carole, David Gordon, then Town Attorney, and Robert Freeman, the Director of the Committee on Open Government.
State law on open meetings considers the meeting of a quorum (three for all of our boards) of a board to be a meeting. It doesn’t matter what kind of meeting, and Mr. Freeman does not distinguish between work sessions, special sessions, and regular meetings. The need for notification is the same and they are all public open meetings and decisions can be made at all of them.
However, Putnam Valley does make a distinction. Putnam Valley sets rules, and follows certain protocol. Their rules set work sessions and regular meetings. They set protocols for setting up, and publishing the agenda. They live broadcast the regular meetings. They post the agenda on the website. And I guess that, despite the vote to tape work sessions, since they are not taping them, they are making a distinction there, too. They did not notice a Special Session of the Board, they did not notice that they would be conducting business at the meeting, they did not videotape the meeting, or even the part of the meeting where business was conducted; they did notice a “work” session.
So we are sliding further from transparency. It turned out that most of the meeting’s business was not on the advance agenda. The agenda did not make any distinction that decisions would be made. There is no longer a distinction between work session and regular meeting, except for the camera. No transparency, no camera. There are minutes, but how many of us FOIL the minutes and how long does it take for the minutes to be prepared? Why even call it a work session? We are now having two Town Board meetings a month. Change the rules of the board if you are not willing to follow them.
So what was so important that the Town Board needed to evade public view?
First up, Earl Smith, our Superintendent of Highways, said that he needs new trucks. The trucks are 18-19 years old. He is using 9 trucks for 9 routes. Usually, there are two trucks down (not running) at a time. Last year, they retired a 1988 truck.
Clearly they need, and will continue to need equipment into the future. Wendy asked about energy efficiency. Priscilla asked about the impact of outdoor storage. The problem with the whole conversation is that the budget was prepared a couple of months ago. Equipment and personnel needs should be analyzed and clear. We should have a plan for replacing the equipment, not sudden, emergency needs that are not emergencies. We need financial planning, and future needs analysis, as technology is changing so rapidly.
We need to stop with politically pleasing, artificially low budgets, followed with the use of Bond Anticipation Notes to fund needs. BANs are a reasonable way to finance, but basic needs should be part of the budget process.
The garage also needs an oil-water separator for the garage floor. The drains are closed, and the snow on the trucks melts and puddles. This also should be a budget item. It should not be a surprise.
They will probably borrow money. They just borrowed for a backhoe, and a lawn mower.
Then, there was an executive session to interview members of volunteer boards. The Republicans had already made up their minds. This was a show for the Democrats. John Landi will be the next regular member replacing Billy Lee Crowder. Bill Maskiell will be the next ZBA Chair. Mr. Yetter announced the appointment when he was talking about next week’s agenda, not that they would make a decision in exec session. Very bad form, on a number of levels.
The big surprise was that they did not interview me for the ad hoc planning board position. I sent in my email of interest to all board members, no one else wants the position, and they still have not expressed any interest in my application. That’s pretty bad when no one else wants the job. They are probably trying to dredge someone up to take the (volunteer) job, so that they don’t have to give it to me.
They also talked about White Rock Road in executive session. I have already said that I don’t know if this qualifies as litigation, if there is pending or even intended litigation at this point. I admit that I don’t quite understand how you call in a letter of credit after it has expired, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I would have asked a question, but it was a “work” session, and no questions are allowed at “work” sessions.
Mr. Yetter ran the meeting, and he ran it well, though he actually has less patience with the public than does Mr. Tendy, hard though that may be to believe. Mr. Tendy was at the high school for a band concert.
The traffic light at the school is operational, and hopefully will make all the difference in the safety of the children, that Mr. Oliverio, and Mr Tendy have been talking about. And that will leave us able to speak realistically about the horrific Peekskill Hollow Road project that will damage our community forever.
The county is planning to “take” those parcels on the road this year.
The Board voted a five year term on the Planning Board for Mike Raimondi, after making him Chair. They reappointed Friedl Mueller-Landau and Ross Keating to 3 year terms with the CCE. There are only 2 year terms. Here comes that parallel universe again. I look at the Town Code. It says 7 members. They have 9. It says 2 year terms, but I seem to be the only one who sees it. Like the word pooka, it is only there when I look.
Then there was the subject of road dedication, specifically North Shore Road – Trading Post, Timberline Court, and Woods End Road. When a builder builds a road, the natural order of things in Putnam Valley is that you, the taxpayer, will get stuck with the bill. We have not increased the manpower on our highway department in at least 10 years, yet we continue to accept more roads. One of those roads, Woods End Road, is a highly controversial issue, since we do not own the road that was assumed to be public. I will have to revisit the legal precedent that makes it clear that it is not our road. The Town Board should not accept it. With budgets, taxes, and the economy the way they are, we really don’t need to increase expenses.
The Board will be reconsidering the local law on trailers. Yours truly pointed out that Councilwoman Keresey read the wrong version of the law, and that they had not considered nor passed a neg dec. They will go back and pass a bad law correctly. No one had the class to acknowledge that I was right, and to thank me for my input. Since it wouldn’t have been public, they really should have managed an acknowledgement.
They talked a lot about the harvester for Lake Oscawana. LOAC (the advisory committee) had gone over the bid material, and had decided on the lowest acceptable bid. There was a lot of discussion, Mr. Zutt reminding the Board that the district is a “public” district, administered by the Board and they do not have to listen to the advisory committee. As Gene had suggested at the last meeting, they rejected the bids, and with new specs, will rebid the project.
Ed Grieff, of PCNR, stayed for about half of the exec session, then decided it was time to go. As he left, he said that readers could buy his paper for the beginning of the meeting, and NCN for the rest. I said they could just read me for free! Art Cusano, NCN, came during the exec session, and was there for a long time, but couldn’t hold out for the bitter end.
Oh, and the Wordsmiths……there are hand drawn arrows from Wednesdays to Tuesdays on the calendar posted outside the clerk’s office, and a new list of Tuesday dates announced, starting with January 27, and skipping a date on the third Tuesday. Not very impressive, but what else is new!
Town Board meeting next Wednesday at 7 PM. They will pass a bad law about Floradan that conflicts with the Comprehensive Plan. And they will again pass a bad law about trailers that conflicts with itself, this time with a neg dec, and the correct version. The agenda will be posted on the website today or tomorrow.
2009 Putnam Valley Reorganization – January 5, 2009
I remember going to a Carmelo reorganization meeting in the snow once. This time I didn’t venture out, and it didn’t look like anyone else did. Almost no one went out in the snow for the Carmelo meeting either. Luckily, since Mr. Tendy talks to the camera, you will feel like you were in the room.
There wasn’t much reason to. Few surprises. Everything old is new again, or it’s just old.
Councilwoman Keresey did object to appointing a different Chair to the Zoning Board without interviews. The rules of the Board, that the Board themselves make up and pass, and had just passed, say that there will be Board interviews. Mr. Tendy reprimanded Ms. Keresey for not looking at the reorganization edict before coming to the meeting.
Thanks to both Councilwomen for sticking up for the current Chair, even though it will be decided against them by the Republicans. Mr. Cinque is not actually a Republican, but he acts very much like one. Mr. Belefant, the current Chair, has brought the “communications” session of the zoning board meetings out of the back room. He has clarified the process, so that the basis for zoning decisions is more accessible to everyone.
Ms. Keresey did not press the point that these items should be discussed. Mr. Tendy said that the issues should be raised and questions asked and answered before the meeting. I think that discussion should be public. It helps everyone if they can see the process.
Were there interviews for the Ethics Board appointment?
In the whole process of tabling the motion, it seems that no one understood that if no new Chair is appointed, or new Board members, the law allows for the existing conditions to remain, for the sake of smooth transition. They should know that from all the tabling when the John Zarcone debate was going on.
But then, there is the question that was raised, if you second a motion for discussion, is it on the floor, or can you still table it?
There is still an opening on the Planning Board, so I’m going in!
They are appointing Bob Lusardi to act for the town with regard to the Rose Hills
Cemetery. Bill Zutt already took the liberty of asking him.
He also expressed his regard for Billy Lee Crowder. Mr. Crowder has left the Planning Board.
But Mr. Zutt will get to continue to work with him on the Tendy Zoning Code Committee. The members are Mike Raimondi, Bill Zutt, Billy Lee, Peter Belefant, Tom Carano, and Irv Flinn. No planner. He hasn’t been there for months.
They have appointed extra people to the CCE.
[Chapter 8, Article III, Section 21A of the town code.
The Commission shall consist of seven members. In addition, there may be appointed up to two members of the Commission who are between 16 and 21 years of age.]
This was established in 1998. Could someone please read it?
Mr. Tendy mentioned that Mr. Campo would become the ad hoc member of the zoning board, rather than a full member, because he takes extended vacations. Ms. Keresey raised the issue of attendance requirements, but Mr. Tendy says he will fulfill them.
Regarding the appointment of the water systems operators in Glenmar Gardens – is that above and beyond their existing jobs? Or is that to be subtracted from district funds and paid into their existing salaries? One job description at least, includes water operator. The resolution was unclear.
I’m kind of wondering how it works if the town uses a bank as one of its depositories and that bank has an application pending with the town. Who protects the townsfolk against abuse in that situation?
So we have returned peacefully to the past. The newspapers must like the good old days as much as …. who else likes the good old days? They have had nothing to say.
Salaries and Contracts
Confidential Aide $33,280
Director of Finance $64,615
Town Supervisor $70,000
Plus Chief Budget Officer $7,280
Town Board $13,000
Plus Deputy supervisor $1,000
Highway Superintendent $87,607
Town Clerk $58,899
Plus Registrar and Records management $728
Plus Tax Receiver $1112
Code Enforcement Officer $62,872.52
Plus Fire Prevention Inspector $5252
Plus Pump Station inspector $3850
Town Prosecutor $15,000
MS – 4 no amount discussed
Director of Parks and Recreation $62,046.42
Deputy Highway Superintendent $62,452
Community Media Coordinator $52,000
Plus $900 for equipment and maintenance
Dog Control and Code Enforcement $33,880
Kellard-Sessions for planning – no amount discussed
Hydroenvironmental Solutions – no amount discussed
Town Justices $19,000
Part time, per hour
Supervisor’s Office $12.50
Clerk $11.85, $13.50
2008 – some reminiscing.
We’ve made it through a whole year, and it was worse than we thought it would be.
After a full, sort of full time, year of Mr. Tendy, it is interesting to hear what people are talking about. Mr. Tendy was, of course, a part time council member, before being elected as Supervisor. The “sort of” about the full time is that he has continued to practice law while being Supervisor. So he hasn’t really devoted himself to the job.
Surprisingly to me, the increase in the library budget is a hot topic for conversation. I thought it flew below the radar, and no one would really care. There are a few reasons why it has achieved hot topic status in the deli-post office chatter. The economic crisis has not really missed anyone. Prices at the supermarket have gone up dramatically. Everyone scaled back over the holidays. Some people have been laid off, some people are afraid of layoffs. Businesses are affected, and some are closing. Pension funds are down. Almost all of us have noticed the problem. Mr. Tendy, however, did not. While all around us, towns were going back to the table to lower their budgets to 0% increases or decreases, Mr. Tendy and his board did not. They didn’t even try. Mr. Tendy felt that he had done well enough, and since the media was not going to give him the pounding that others got, he was finished.
Then, there were some who felt that they had done their best to cut down to 0% in their budgets, or better. Some contractors, affiliated organizations, and departments had made sincere efforts to pare down and cut back. They were not offended when the library came in with an increase. They were offended when the increase was increased. They felt like everyone should make the same effort to scale back, that everyone is living within the same economic climate.
Then, there is the rumor that the library has a reserve fund of $500,000. I have no knowledge of this, and I have not checked into it. Whether it is rumor or truth, ideas take hold in this town and people ask questions. If it is true, then they have a cushion that should help them get through the next year. If it is not, then the anger that this increase has spurred is creating its own reality.
I am surprised at the vehemence about this item. It did not change the percentage increase in the budget, but like the salary raises, taxpayers feel that they are being asked to streamline, and make do with less, but government and its affiliates are not, or at least not equally.
Symbolic actions are important, in addition to the nuts and bolts cutting and reorganizing. It shows a unity of purpose, and a solidarity to tough things out. My cock-eyed belief in the American people, and in our little microcosm of Putnam Valley, is that we can get through this together. We can make it. We can help each other, and we can solve the problems that we are having. When one group is seen as grabbing for themselves, rather than pulling together, it is resented.
I don’t know if the library did any of that, or what their needs are. The Board should have analyzed that, and presented their case well. There are lots of others who did not increase their requests and were content to get by this year. Perhaps the library had special needs that justified the second increase, but that has not been communicated.
And speaking of symbolism, there is that wall – another favorite topic. “The wall” will be the symbol of the Tendy doctrine for years to come. Indeed, it seems indestructible. It seems just a tad overbuilt, but then, I’m sure there was a lot of advice to the town that they should not proceed with it. I’m always a bit shocked by its scale when I happen through the corner. There was only a little piece of wall there before. It seemed to become a cause de célèbre for Mr. Tendy and Mr. Zutt. And Mr. Tendy seems to be harboring a real grudge toward the property owner. As I look at the rushing water, I wonder how that area can be modified, now that the wall has encroached on the stream, so that the channel is not narrowed, and the flow and depth of the stream are not increased.
And “the wall” was expensive. I wonder about the money. The county does provide relief to the town from those who owe taxes, and the town can declare a special tax levy, which they have done. But can the county fight that? Will the litigation show that the property owner was not at fault and not liable? Will we be paying for this for years to come? I acknowledge the argument that we are paying for it anyway, since we are county taxpayers. They have just changed the pocket from which the money will be taken.
I do, however, perceive this as a public project. I think there should have been a public solution. The storm damaged the wall. I think that FEMA should have helped repair it, because of the sewer line, because of the City of Peekskill water supply, and because of the DEC stream.
But it seems too large, too quick, too expensive, and unmindful of the natural features it was supposed to protect. And it seems shortsighted. What will happen when the garage is no longer there and the bridge is being rebuilt? What will happen when there is some attempt to repair the stream’s natural buffer, and there is a monstrous wall there?
Like Big Blue, our errors leave permanent scars. And so, “the wall” will be one of our reminders.
PS – I didn’t go out again in the ice, so the Wordsmiths had to get by without me last night. Their next 2 scheduled meetings will conflict with Town Board meetings.
Sent: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 10:27 am
Subject: ad hoc – Planning Board
|Dear Supervisor Tendy, Council Members Whetsel, Keresey, Yetter, and Cinque: I would like to express my interest in the opening on the Planning Board. While it has been traditional to appoint members in the building trades, I would appreciate it if you would consider my letter of intent favorably.I have a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. I have a Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College. Additionally I have other science credits, including environmental science. I have attended seminars in land use planning, SEQRA, MS-4, biodiversity, and water protection. When I was employed by the town, I facilitated the Comprehensive Plan process, with regard to SEQRA compliance and notification. I attend most Planning Board meetings, and I am familiar with many of the applications currently before the Board.I am motivated and dedicated, and would sincerely value this opportunity.Yours,
Dawn V Powell
January 21, 2009 Ad Hoc Interview
|The Town Board waited until the end of the meeting to interview me. That way there was no chance that I would be appointed that evening, and they would have a month to look for someone else (that didn’t work). It does appear that they would not even consider appointing me. They’d rather have no one. Mr. Tendy said that he has two other resumes for ad hoc, but no one was there to be interviewed. Mr. Zutt wanted to talk about 4 litigations first, didn’t specify which. The Town Board did that first. Mr. Zutt, then, sat in on the interview. CouncilmanYetter asked me why I wanted to volunteer to go to all those meetings. I said that I was already going to all those meetings, so that was not going to change. I said that while my background was scientific and environmental, I am interested in land use, planning, watershed protection, and storm water. Councilman Cinque asked me what I would base my decisions on. I said, the code and the Comprehensive Plan. He said what if they didn’t fit neatly into either of those. I said that we have experts to consult with, and come up with mitigation plans. Since I said that I was going to all the meetings, he asked about some of the issues. So I talked about the issues surrounding the Kisslinger application, and the major grading dispute going on, that is affecting both that application and the Adorno /Oscawana Lake Road issue. Then Mr. Tendy asked what I thought was a bizarre question. He wanted to know what I thought ZBA board should base their decisions on, and whether I thought that they were too lenient or too strict, and as a PB member, how I would respond to the ZBA. I said that they are an independent board and it isn’t up to a PB member to do anything about their decisions, that the decisions were based on relief from code which created a hardship for them*. I said that I have not watched the ZBA meetings, and I really have no opinion of their decisions. (I watched that last ZBA meeting, and wrote a post about it. This Thursday’s meeting, Feb. 26, concerns significant issues for the Town – the gas station, Kisslinger times two, the bank at Oregon Corners.) So then Mr. Tendy asked me how I can work with a team, when I say such terrible things about people and why he should support me when I have been writing such misleading and nasty things about people in the room, not that he reads the things I write (he made sure to say that). I told him that I welcomed but had not anticipated his support, that my writing as a private citizen exercising my right to free speech was very different from my behavior when I was working in Town Hall, that I felt that my writing was fact with opinion, but it was never intended to be misleading or nasty. I recalled that he has publicly expressed some nasty opinion, and said that it was his right to do so. I told him that as a person, I didn’t expect his vote, but as Supervisor, perhaps he could appreciate the fact that I would add an important perspective to the PB, that for a layman, I really have a lot of knowledge of the planning process, and the inclination and ability to learn more. He asked how I would be able to work with people who I had accused of having illegal meetings. I said that the illegal meetings were a real issue for me, that I had spoken with Robert Freeman, and he was clear that if the meeting is announced for a specific time, in a specific place, then it should be held at that time, in that place, and that pre-meetings were unacceptable, and I said that everyone else in the room should be upset by them.
That about did it. The Councilwomen didn’t ask any questions. There were no pigs flying around Town Hall as I left.
There is still no ad hoc member on the Planning Board. I am posting the Planning Board meeting summaries on “Points” at dawnpowell.workpress.com. The public can judge whether or not I would be a responsible member of the Planning Board.
*I looked up the law.
In making its determination, the zoning board of appeals shall
take into consideration the benefit to the applicant if the variance is
granted, as weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and
welfare of the neighborhood or community by such grant. In making such
determination the board shall also consider: (1) whether an undesirable
change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a
detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the
area variance; (2) whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be
achieved by some method, feasible for the applicant to pursue, other
than an area variance; (3) whether the requested area variance is
substantial; (4) whether the proposed variance will have an adverse
effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the
neighborhood or district; and (5) whether the alleged difficulty was
self-created, which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of
the board of appeals, but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of
the area variance.