October 3, 2017
1. Reports from the Town Board
Gomer Street: Supervisor Grace said that the town “came down hard” for the disruption Con Ed is creating during its gasline replacement work. He said that the utility company will be coming before the Town Board for a review of its plans, which he added, will take several years.
Opioid Crisis: Councilman Diana read a letter he had sent to the newspapers criticizing Ilan Gilbert’s earlier letter to the newspaper. He accused Mr. Gilbert of criticizing the town’s efforts to fight the drug crisis. During Courtesy of the Floor, Mr. Gilbert responded, accusing Mr. Diana of distorting what he had written for political purposes.
John Kincart to the Board of Assessment Review.
Lynn Briggs to the Landmarks Preservation Commission
Phyllis Bock to the Conservation Board
Dale Saltzman to the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission
Tom Schmitt to the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission
3. Presentation on proposed Work Order Management System
Representatives of Woodard & Curran gave a power point presentation of a system that would replace the existing uncoordinated paper work order system with a computerized system shared by the highway, sewer and water departments. They stressed how the system would increase efficiency which would result in savings. Although there was a resolution on the agenda authorizing the supervisor to sign a $51,762 contract with the company, after the presentation, Supervisor Grace said he wanted to discuss the system further at a work session before voting on any authorization.
4. 2353 Granville Court/public hearing on wetlands permit
(See Town Board 9-26-2017.)The board opened and closed the hearing. There were no public comments. After making some changes to the conditions in the resolution included in the agenda, the board voted to approve the permit. One of the changes was lowering the performance bond to $1,500 from $2,500. Although the town engineer was confident that the town’s camera would be able to inspect the pipe, he said that if it coulodn’t and an outside company had to be called in to test the pipe’s integrity, the cost would be $2,500. If that became necessary, it was unclear who would be responsible for paying the bill.
5. Harwood Place rezoning/decision statement
(See Town Board, 7/18/2017.) The board approved the rezoning to R-3, multi family, from R-2, two family, in order to legalize the existing six units in the building.
6. Kitchawan Road rezoning/public hearing
After the board reconvened the hearing, the applicant’s attorney reviewed the changes that had been made to the plan based on discussions with about six area homeowners who agreed to withdraw their opposition to the rezoning. Lee Pollack, one of the neighbors, explained that while they appreciated the applicant’s concessions, they remained concerned about the use of transitional zoning and the possibility of any additional commercial use in the area.
Supervisor Grace said the conditions should allay the residents’ concerns and that if the applicant wanted to change anything on the approved plan, he would have to come back to the board that would treat the request as a new rezoning application. Councilman Bernard said he was also aware of the “commercial creep” issue but assured the neighbors that the board wasn’t interested in commercializing their neighborhood.
The board took what Supervisor Grace called a “consensus” vote in support of the rezoning, but a binding vote will be taken at a subsequent meeting when the approving resolution and related documents have been drafted.
Citing two examples where commercially zoned property was rezoned for residential use, Bob Giordano of the Small Business Association said he supported the rezoning that would put the property on the tax rolls. (Note: For most of its history, the property was owned by a not for profit entit6y and was tax exempt. After the non for profit use ceased, the property was put back on the tax roll.)
7. Village Traditions, East Main Street, Mohegan Lake/rezoning public hearing
Acknowledging that he had erred when he said the July hearing had been closed, Supervisor Grace reconvened the hearing. There were no public comments. The board took a “consensus” vote in support of the rezoning but postponed a binding vote until the approving resolution and related documents were drafted.
8. New garbage contract
The board awarded a bid to AAA Carting and Rubbish Removal for proving garbage removal and recycling. The $1,999,999 contract is good for two years with three one year options to review if the town so wishes. (Although the supervisor said that the contract was $600,000 lower than what he said was the current $2.4 M contract with Competition Carting, the arithmetic works out to a $400,000 savings.) The contract begins January 1, 2018.
9. Hiring of attorney for ethics complaint
In a 3-1-0 vote, with Councilmen Diana, Bernard and Lachterman voting yes, Councilman Patel no and Supervisor Grace recusing himself, the board voted to spend $2,500 to hire attorney Marvin Ray Raskin to represent Supervisor Grace in connection with a grievance filed by Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) with the Grievance Committee of the Ninth Judicial District. When Councilman Bernard asked Councilman Patel why he had agreed to the expense during an earlier closed executive session but voted against it tonight, Councilman Patel said it was because he learned that the ethics complaint related to Mr. Grace’s actions as a private attorney and not as a supervisor. Supervisor Grace said he took exception to the statement that he committed an ethical violation, adding that this being political season, there was a lot of “vitriol.” Councilman Lachterman said he wouldn’t have voted for the resolution if he didn’t understand what it was all about, and Councilman Bernard characterized the complaint as a “lawsuit.”
During Courtesy of the Floor, when two speakers asked why the town was paying for a lawyer to defend the supervisor’s actions as a private attorney, the town attorney responded by reading a sentence from Ms. Siegel’s letter, which prompted Ms. Siegel to go to the microphone to say that the attorney was misrepresenting her letter.
10. Selected miscellaneous resolutions
Lowes: The board authorized the supervisor to sign a Letter of Authorization to allow Lowes to submit its water and sewer application to the appropriate regulatory agencies. The supervisor said that demolition was expected to start next week.
Budget transfer: $48,000 was transferred into the Yorktown Sewer Maintenance & Repair line from other budget lines. No explanation was given for the transfer.
Request for proposals: The board authorized requests for proposals for the purchase of new vehicles for the Police Department and Water Department.