December 1, 2015
With a limited agenda consisting mostly of a few routine resolutions, two issues, both involving town spending, were raised at Courtesy of Floor and dominated the meeting: the need for more money for paving and using the $1.5 million Spectra money for park improvements.
Paving: Three residents from the Huntersville area, including Susan Katz and Paul Moskowitz, urged the board to allocate more money to pave of Hunterbrook, Baptist Church and Old Logging Roads. Using blowups of photos, they stressed that the issue was one of safety, not property values. Noting that past budgets have included only $690,000 for paving, they asked that $1 million to $1.5 million be spent on paving in 2016. They advised the board that the Huntersville Association has started an online petition asking the board to address the issue. According to Mr. Moskowitz, it has been 20 years since Hunterbrook Road was paved.
Park improvements: Jane Daniels, identifying herself as Yorktown’s “trail lady,” said that the $1.5 million Spectra has given the town as compensation for the “injury” to Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls parkland should be used for park improvements. She identified the need to create a parking lot for the Granite Knolls trails on the site of the old barn once considered for the dog park, improvements to tennis courts and playgrounds, and the Legacy Field artificial turf replacement fund. She also suggested the Open Space fund be used to purchase the “Boniello” property, sandwiched between Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls. Citing Supervisor Grace’s interest in local history, she suggested that it would be nice to protect this parcel that part of the Mohegan quarry.
Responding to both requests, Supervisor Grace said it was a question of the competition for scarce dollars. He acknowledged the need for more funds to be devoted to paving but added that in reality there isn’t enough money to do what needed to be done without bankrupting the town. He said the town has to find a balance between being fiscally prudent, keeping the tax burden in check and doing needed infrastructure improvements.
I commented that the one-time $1.5 million Spectra money should be used for lasting and needed infrastructure projects such as paving and drainage and not hoarded in the fund balance or used to lower taxes as suggested by some residents which would not provide any lasting improvements. I urged the board to come up with a plan for using the money and that there be public input into the plan.
Hilltop Service Station: As a follow up to last week’s work session discussion, Shrub Oak resident James Heller again brought up the issue of the site plan violations at the service station and what the board would require, going forward, to remedy the situation. He said it was disingenuous to believe the owner’s comments that he removed existing vegetation in an effort to beautify the site. Mr. Heller urged the board to require a permanent 8’ fence in lieu of landscaping that might die over the years and create future problems if and when the owner fails to replace the dead trees and shrubs. He also reiterated the point that no used car sales are allowed on the site.