Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 14, 2007

The Village Board of Trustees met on November 14, 2007 at 7:30pm.

The meeting began with the Mayoral report.

Mayor Stebbins met with Tuxedo Union Free School District Board President Jim Hickey and High School Superintendent Joseph Zanetti to discuss the impending situation with Greenwood Lake and the Tuxedo Union Free School District.  On December 12, 2007 residents from both Greenwood Lake and Warwick will vote on whether or not to transfer Greenwood Lake’s students out of Tuxedo’s high school and into Warwick’s.  In an effort to keep residents informed, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Zanetti are working with Mayor Stebbins to set a date and location for a public meeting.  The Village has been supplied with a copy of the TUFSD’s audited financial statements that are available in the Village Office.

There have been an increasing number of noise complaints within the Village in recent weeks.  While much of this noisy activity can be attributed to leaf blowers and other fall landscaping projects, the Mayor reminded everyone to be mindful of their activities and not commence noisy outdoor work until after 8:00am.

Cleanup of the Race Track has been completed.  Mayor Stebbins thanked former Trustee Oliver Parker, committee members and previous administrations for all the work done in this effort. The Environmental Committee will continue to monitor the Race Track and the Village Improvement Advisory Committee will be looking into safety issues relating to elephant drains and broken pipes.

During his police report, Acting Police Chief Ken Sanford reported that during the month of October 40 non-criminal reports and 1 criminal report were filed.  20 summonses were issued including 16 for speeding.  There were 5 fire calls, 2 intrusion alarms, 2 medical calls and 1 animal related call.  The Village Police assisted the Town Police on one occasion and on one occasion the Town Police assisted the Village Police. In light of a recent incident, Sgt Sanford made a plea for all dog owners in the Village to license their pets with New York State (this must be done at the Town Hall) and to make sure they are up to date on rabies vaccine.

Jeff Voss, acting Superintendent of the DPW, reported that an issue involving a service leak in the water main near the High School has been resolved and the leak repaired at the school’s expense.  In addition, gas pipeline workers on Warwick Brook Road have broken through the Village water line 3 times despite clear markings and have been billed for all ensuing repairs.

Advisory reports were given.

Reporting for the Environmental Committee, Susan Goodfellow thanked the Board for having approved their mission statement at the previous meeting. She went on to report that the EAC has been busy educating themselves on the process of evaluating the condition of the Village’s lakes and watershed.  Dennis Miller has joined the group.

Together with Trustee Shaw, acting DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss and Village water consultant Chis Yaeger, the committee met with representatives from the Orange County Land Trust, the OC Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Senior Planner in the Planning Department, all of whom are involved in watershed management projects in our area. A myriad of topics were discussed relating to what needs to be included in a lake and watershed evaluation and management plan.

The committee has reached out to both NYSFOLA and the DEC in an effort to investigate the CSLAPS volunteer program (Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program) In addition, a number of firms that provide watershed and lake evaluation and management have been referred to them and are being contacted.

Mrs. Goodfellow went on to say that since all committee recommendations to the Village will involve the expenditure of money and therefore, require funding, the committee has begun exploring possible funding assistance from sources in addition to Village taxpayer money.

One very important issue that has emerged in the Committee’s work thus far is that phosphorus and nitrates are feeding the plant life and blue green algae growth in Village lakes. While treatment with copper sulfate fixes the symptoms, it is not a cure.  The Committee is gathering information about how to handle runoff and storm water in our lakes.  Both Jeff Voss and Chris Yaeger will be involved in this project.

Michele Lindsay reported on behalf of the Village Improvement Advisory Committee.  A new sub-committee will be formed with members from both VIAC and the Environmental Committee to continue work on Race Track.  Michele and Eric Honor will be working on a guiderail proposal for the stretch of Tuxedo Road between Pepperidge and Pine Roads, where there is serious road erosion as well as open streets drains.  Committee member Alan Heywood has developed a survey pertaining to street signs and dangerous intersections within the Village, but the committee requires Board approval of their mission statement before the survey can be sent to residents. Trustee Worthy reported that a light bracket and fixture have been installed near Clubhouse and Tower Hill Roads which will be assessed as a possible alternative to cobra head fixtures. Mrs. Lindsay inquired on the status of VIAC’s proposed tree removal at the south end of the lake. At the October BOT meeting, VIAC presented the board with an estimate of $5600 from Canadian Tree Service for the removal of 11 trees in the lake and 14 trees on the land in this area.  Mayor Stebbins responded that because of the other current demands on village resources, he was hesitant to allocate $5600 to this project.  Instead, he resolved to meet with Jeff Voss and discuss the ability of the DPW to do some of the work.

Trustee Darby updated the board on the current status of the BST recommendations. BST is the forensic accounting firm hired by the Village to investigate potential wrongdoing in the Police Department. In their final report, BST outlined 15 recommendations pertaining to the systems of internal control procedures within the Village.  While these recommendations have not yet been made public, Trustee Darby announced that they will be very soon and that the Village will implement all 15 recommendations.

During the public comment period David Morton expressed his concern that the Weewah Lake will be drained to make repairs on the Weewah dam. Mr. Morton urged the Board to involve the Environmental Committee in this process. The Mayor responded that initial engineering analysis of the Weewah dam has shown that leaking water is coming from a gap between stop logs and NOT underneath the dam as originally feared.  This is fantastic news as the leak can be repaired without draining the lake.  Divers will insert new stop logs in front of the leaky ones.  Once these logs are in place, engineers will be able to take a dry look at the base of the dam, which will allow them to better assess the dam’s bulge as well as any smaller leaks that might exist.

Michele Lindsay commented that she had attended the November 14 Town Planning Board meeting at which Tuxedo Reserve and the preliminary approval for Phase 1 of the development, Northridge, was discussed. In October, Tuxedo Reserve came before the Planning Board with a list of 102 waiver requests for Phase 1 of their development.  The waivers requested were deviations from regulations specified in either the Town Code or the Special Permit for the project.  This list has now been narrowed to 55 requests.  Town consultants circulated to the Planning Board members a list of the original 102 waivers, complete with a status report on each one.  This list along with other important issues regarding Tuxedo Reserve will be discussed on Tuesday, November 20 at 7pm, when the Town Planning Board will hold a special workshop with their consultants.  The public is encouraged to attend but will not be allowed to participate.  Michele distributed copies of the waiver list to Village Board Members.

Peter Regna inquired as to the status of the Sterling Place water litigation, which has been ongoing since the previous administration. He was informed that of the two pending lawsuits, one is in the preliminary stages of appeal and the other is on hold while the Village waits to hear when oral arguments will be scheduled.

A public hearing on Local Law Introductory No 1  (the Fence Law) was scheduled for December 12, 2007.  Because the Board of Architectural Review plans to review and comment on the law, the current temporary version will be extended rather than ratified. 

The Board voted unanimously to accept Westin and Sampson’s adjusted bid for the Map Digitization project.

The renewal of the Weewah Beach Club’s lease was discussed.  Mayor Stebbins reported that despite making multiple pleas to concerned residents for input and alternative suggestions for the property, he has not received any proposals to date.  In the meantime, the Village has conducted a site visit to the Beach Club and the Mayor completed a careful review of Club documents. Trustee Shaw commented that residents need more time to prepare their proposals. Mayor Stebbins replied that although he has asked for a general fiscal analysis and management plan with each proposal, the proposals need only provide a general outline and not a detailed explanation of the project. He requested that all such proposals be made at the next BOT meeting on December 12, 2007.

Mayor Stebbins stated that the Board has a tremendous backlog of issues that need to be dealt with, which is one reason why they are seeking creative ideas from residents in an effort to help guide them in their decision.  Due to operating costs and liability issues, it is not practical that the Village take over the Club. Trustee Hanson suggested that the Board develop a list of proposal guidelines for residents to use in preparing their presentations.

Mayor Stebbins made a motion to appoint John Ledwith as Village Tax Assessor. Assessments need to be completed by the end of December.  Trustee Hanson objected, suggesting that the Village building inspector and tax assessor should not be the same person due to a potential conflict of interest. Trustee Shaw suggested the possibility of hiring 3rd party unaffiliated tax assessors for the Village. Following this discussion, the Board voted 3 to 1 to appoint Mr. Ledwith as Village Assessor with the Mayor and Trustees Darby and Worthy voting in favor of the motion and Trustee Hanson voting against it.  Trustee Shaw abstained.

There was discussion of the Viewshed Draft Proposal.  A viewshed map has been created, identifying undeveloped, sensitive areas (Lake and Gate views) where building would have relatively severe visual impact.  A law, requiring among other things the obtaining of a Special Permit to build in these areas, is in the initial stages of development.

The Board voted to levy unpaid Village Taxes to Town/County tax bills.

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