Town Board

October 17, 2017


1. Anti litter cameras

Supervisor Grace announced that the cameras have been installed but for obvious reasons he would not disclose the locations.  (During Courtesy of the Floor Susan Siegel, the person writing this summery, asked what the cameras had cost. There was no reply.)


2. Tennis Courts

In an item not on the agenda, Supervisor Grace announced that based on an inspection of the town’s 12 tennis courts, six courts are closed because of their condition and the remaining six, while open, need upgrading. The town will prepare bid specs for the lower Downing and Blackberry courts. The cost for the Downing court has been estimated at $40,000. The cost for the upper Downing court that needs total rehabilitation was estimated at $130,000-$150,000. Supervisor Grace said any plans to rehab this court are on hold pending decisions about the relocation of the Parks Department garage which is tied to the highway garage relocation project. The closed Shrub Oak courts were also mentioned, but no cost estimate for their rehab was noted.


The supervisor added that once the specs are ready for the lower Downing and Blackberry courts and bids are advertised, the town was not necessarily committed to awarding the bids.


During Courtesy of the Floor, several residents spoke about the need to rehabilitate the courts and expressed their thanks that the town was planning to do something. However, one resident suggested that the town actually appropriate the money for the project, noting that contractors may not bid on the job is they don’t anticipate a bid being awarded: they have to know you’re serious about proceeding, he said.


3. Hill Blvd bridge replacement/Veterans Rd culvert replacement

A representative of the town’s bridge consulting firm gave a presentation of the two projects that are being funded by the Build Safe NY program.  (The consultant inspected 25 potential sites for the grants and submitted applications for two bridges and five culvert projects.)  The project will fund 95% of the $2.6 million Hill Blvd project (the bridge is over Barger Brook just south of Route 6) and 100% of the $820,000 Veterans Rd project (in the vicinity of the intersection with Greenwood St). Design work for both projects should be completed by January, 2018, and after final plans are approved by the state DOT, construction is expected to begin in roughly January, 2019 and take 9 months for completion. Both roads will be closed off during construction so that the work can be completed in as short a time as possible.


4. Weed harvester

Supervisor Grace announced that the town is anticipating a grant of about $80,000 from the state that will be used to purchase a weed harvester than can be used on all town lakes. He anticipates that the equipment will cost about $120,000. Bid specs are being prepared.  The harvester will replace the one currently owned by the Mohegan Lake Improvement District that has outlived its effective usefulness and is beyond repair.


5. Jefferson Valley Mall

In a series of votes, some of which the supervisor called “consensus votes,” the board approved the following resolutions after briefly outlining the points that had been previously agreed to in work sessions. See prior meeting summaries for details.


(Note: Supervisor Grace explained that written approval resolutions and SEQRA resolutions were not ready and it appeared that the resolutions that were voted on may have authorized the supervisor to sign the actual site plan map. According to the supervisor, the signed map is more important than any written resolution. In some instances, the board also approved a SEQRA negative declaration.)


Amended site plan. Keeps the 26’ pylon sign. The road maintenance agreement has not been finalized.


Changes to CRS zone to allow for a fitness center.


Amended site plan for Sears site. The board reconvened the hearing and after closing it, voted to approve the amended plan.


6. 712 Kitchawan Rezoning

The board voted to approve the rezoning, have the supervisor sign the site plan map, and approve a SEQRA negative declaration, all in the absence of any written resolutions.


(Note: Supervisor Grace explained that written approval resolutions and SEQRA resolutions were not ready. According to the supervisor, the signed map is more important than any written resolution.)


7. Village Traditions rezoning

The board voted to approve the rezoning and a SEQRA negative declaration There was no written resolution.


8. 1711 Mohansic Avenue/wetlands & stormwater public hearing

(See Town Board, 9-26-2017.)  The board opened and closed the hearing. There were no comments from the public. The board approved the permits based on a revised plan that addressed concerns raised by the town engineer.


9. 3211 Lakeshore Drive/ wetlands & stormwater public hearing

(See Town Board, 9-26-2017.)  The new owners explained their plan to erect a smaller house that was more sensitive to the lake and the environment. Two out of three adjoining neighbors opposed the project. Ken Belfer, speaking as a resident and not for the MLID, said that while in general he would like to see the lake protected, he had no problem with this smaller, more environmentally sensitive plan.


The hearing was adjourned so that the applicants can meet with the board in a work session. Supervisor Grace said he wanted to compare the original plan with the new one. He advised the applicants that the threshold for denying the application would be high and that in order to avoid a regulatory “taking” issue, the town would have to articulate its reasons for denying the permit.  He added, however, that the applicants could be “optimistic” that a total denial was not likely. The adjournment will also give MLID an opportunity to review the plan.


10. Fluoridation

In an item not on the agenda, Supervisor Grace commented on the recent suspension of the addition of fluoride to the town’s water supply, adding that he had heard from at least one resident who was against fluoridation. He also took exception to comments in a newspaper that said the town had been negligent in not upgrading the fluoridation sooner.  His comments left the impression that a decision whether to proceed with adding fluoride to the water would be made once the engineering plans for the new system were prepared and a budget for the projected arrived at. While there was talk of a public hearing, it was not clear if one would be convened.


In a separate action without any discussion, the board authorized the supervisor to sign a grant application for the addition of fluoride at the Catskill plant.


During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing his summary, asked if a January 10, 2017 resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign an agreement with an outside engineering firm to study the fluoridation needs at the Catskill plant had been signed and implemented. There was no response.


11. Courtesy of the Floor

Kear Street project.  Jay Kopstein commented on the traffic blockage on Kear Street. In response, Mr. Quinn said that traffic had been blocked for a sewer installation and was now back to normal. Dan Strauss repeated his objection to the project which he called an “embarrassment.”


Town support for Grace grievance complaint. (Note; this involves a grievance filed by the author of this summary.) In response to a question from Paul Moskowitz why the town was paying for an attorney to defend the grievance which related to Mr. Grace’s actions as a private attorney and not otown supervisor, Mr. McDermott said the town expense was justified because the grievance was against the town supervisor. He added that the grievance was best addressed by an attorney who specialized in this type of issue.


Friends Road drainage issue:  (See Town Board June 20, 2017.) Maria Lucas asked why the town has not helped resolve her problem since her earlier request for help four months ago.  She advised the board that if the town issued a violation notice to her down gradient neighbor who created the problem, the two parties could settle the lawsuit. She said her neighbor was prepared to correct the problem he caused. Both Supervisor Grace and the town attorney insisted that this was a legal matter best dealt with by attorneys.  An up gradient neighbor on Friends Rd. said that he and his other up gradient neighbors should not have to spend money on the portion of the swale on their property in order to solve the Lucas’ problem. Mr. Grace said that no such plan was being suggested.


Status of resolutions: Citing two examples of resolutions that had been approved by the board but never implemented, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked how residents are to know if a resolution passed by the board is ever implemented.


(Note: The observer is not including Courtesy comments that could be characterized as political in nature and which caused a heated exchange.)