July 5, 2016
Devin Gregorio and Timothy Mullen were appointed police officers.
2. Quality of Life Committee/Public hearing
(See Town Board 5-24-2016 and 6-7-2016) Board members explained that the rationale for creating the committee was to enhance residents’ ability to register complaints with the town and to offer them an additional venue for communicating with town officials, even if having a Quality of Life Committee might be redundant. Residents could use the venue of their choice. They reiterated that the committee was not a substitute for Courtesy of the Floor.
Howard Frank and Miriam Curtin supported the creation of the committee, both citing quality of life issues in need of attention, including graffiti, spitting on the tennis courts and excessive noise. When Ed Ciffone objected to the fact that four of the five committee members would be town officials and that the chairman would be a Town Board member, Councilman Bernard responded that if the committee was to be effective in resolving complaints, the people on the committee has to be in a position to act.
The law was adopted 4-0 with Councilman Patel abstaining because he felt residents already had venues to reach town officials.
3. Tax assessment reduction
Approved a tax certiorari settlement that reduced in the assessed value of 800 East main Street, Shrub Oak (Contractor’s Register office building) for 2011 thru 2015 from $197,800 to $180,000.
4. Miscellaneous Resolutions
Speed zones: Scheduled a public hearing on July 19 regulating speed in school and park zones.
Digitizing project: Authorized the supervisor to sign a contract for $419,102.31.
Library: (See Town Board, 6/28/2016) Approved a $19,800 budget transfer for the window repairs.
Auction of unneeded vehicles. Authorized trying to sell 9 unneeded vehicles from several departments via an online auction.
5. Courtesy of the Floor
Sparkle Lake: Howard Frank questioned the work that was done on the rebuilt dam and why he hadn’t received all the cost information he had asked for in a 2014 FOIL request.
Hilltop Service Station. James Heller brought up the issue of the illegal used car sales being conducted at both the Hilltop Service Station and the Getty Station at what he called the “book ends’ to Shrub Oak. (Town code prohibits the sale of used cars in gas stations.) He said the owner of the Hilltop station was thumbing his nose at the town while other residents got permits for what they wanted to do. In response, Councilman Bernard reported that the owner of the Hilltop Station had hired an engineer to prepare a site plan and that both the usage issue and screening along Route 6 will be discussed when the applicant returns to the Town Board. He noted that the station is located on two parcels, each with a different zoning designation. Supervisor Grace noted that the owner has made a major investment in the property and has improved its appearance. Councilman Diana said he wanted to preserve the “quaintness” of Shrub Oak.
When Jay Kopstein repeated Mr. Heller’s concerns, adding that the code enforcement officer had been told to “lay back,” Councilman Bernard said that was “absolutely not the case.”
Highway garage: In response to a question from Ed Ciffone on what the proposed highway garage would cost, Supervisor Grace repeated the benefits of a new garage for the Highway and Parks departments at an estimated 60,000 sf, but added that staff would be meeting shortly to finalize actual space needs. He said he anticipates that the cost of the project would be fully covered by the sale of the current highway garage site with an approved plan and that the actual private sector developer would be selected based on an RFP process. He also said that the town had received a grant from the state thanks to Senator Murphy (see Town Board, 1-19-2016 for a different take on this issue) and that project would be fully vetted at public hearings before the Planning Board that will be the approval authority for both the highway garage and the site plan for the mixed use building..
Both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard dismissed the accuracy or value of the petitions signed last year in opposition to the garage (Mr. Ciffone said he had about 5,000 signatures) and both board members said that those opposed to the project have been spreading misinformation and lies.
Councilman Patel spoke out against the project, saying that the town should focus its attention on fixing other infrastructure projects. And Supervisor Grace dismissed his suggestion that the issue be put to the voters in a referendum. The councilman and the supervisor also expressed conflicting opinions about the accuracy of the Phase II environmental study of the highway site conducted a few years ago.