Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 15, 2008

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, October 15 2008 at 7:30pm.
All members were present.

Mayoral Report
During his Mayoral Report, Mayor Stebbins announced that the American Red Cross will make a presentation with regard to the disaster preparedness of Tuxedo Park School on Saturday, November 15. He stated that more information would be forthcoming, but urged residents to mark this important community service meeting on their calendars.
The amount of litter in the Village has been increasing steadily. The Mayor believes that the majority of this litter is coming from commercial traffic rather than from residents. He urged residents to speak to their commercial vendors about this issue and stressed that if need be, the Board of Trustees will adopt legislation which makes littering illegal and punishable by a fine. He is hopeful, however that if residents step up their efforts and speak to their workers, such legislation will not be necessary.
On October 20 Lash Contracting will be conducting smoke tests on sewer lines located on West Lake Road near the Alderisio property. The testing is DEC mandated and their purpose is to determine where sewer line repairs are needed. Proper notice will be given to neighbors as well as the Village Police and Fire Departments.
In recent months, the Village of Tuxedo Park has popped up on YouTube on several occasions. The Mayor reminded residents of Chapter 51-1 in the Village Code, which forbids the filming of neighborhoods in the Village, and asked residents to please discourage those who may not be aware of these restrictions from filming.

Deputy Mayor Report
Deputy Mayor Jim Hays reported that on October 14 he attended a seminar organized by the Department of State on improving local Government efficiency with primary focus on shared services and putting together grant proposals. He suggested that the Village might want to consider the idea of shared services as a way to provide residents with better services at a lower cost and stated that he would look to the other members of the Board for their opinions on this subject.
He also reported on having attended the most recent Town Board and Town Planning Board meetings at which the revised Special Permit for the Tuxedo Reserve Development was discussed. The Planning Board is currently in the process of reviewing the permit for the purpose of providing the Town Board with recommendations. Three workshops, during which the Planning Board will review the permit in detail and discuss any questions they may have with their consultants, the Town engineer and their Attorney have been scheduled for the end of October.
Because many of the proposed changes will have a direct impact on Village taxes, Tuxedo Reserve is an issue that will affect all residents alike. The Deputy Mayor stressed the importance of resident education and involvement, particularly younger residents, stating that while the Developer’s initial presentation of the plan to the Town Board on September 22 was heavily attended by Villagers, the majority of them were over the age of 50 and already familiar with the project.

Police Report
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of September:
Criminal Complaints – 3
Non-criminal Complaints – 41
Speeding Tickets Issued – 4
Fire Alarms – 3 (all false)
Intrusion Alarms – 4 (all false)
Property Damage Complaints – 3
Medical Calls – 2

In addition, 12,057 non-resident vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.

Advisory Committees
On Behalf of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee Jake Lindsay reported that Rob Zgonena has joined their group. He reported that the soil borings on the sewer plant have been completed. Unstable ground, consisting of stumps, old tires and other materials not suitable for fill, was encountered roughly 16-18 feet below the surface and is believed to be the cause of the problem. The committee will issue a report over the course of the next week containing recommendations as to how this material should be dealt with. The committee is also awaiting a report from Engineer Carl Stone with regard to the replacement of equipment and the improvement of storage facilities at the Chlorine Building. Work at the Wee Wah Dam is on hold and the committee discussed the removal of some stop-logs in an effort to relieve pressure on the dam and lower the lake to an acceptable level, as is the normal practice at this time of year. The committee has also been discussing the issue of road stabilization particularly in the area adjacent to the Gruterich Wall on East Lake Road.

Following this report, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Chiu-yin Hempel as Chair of a Special Committee to work on new legislation contemplated under the Moratorium.

Advisory Committee mission statements were reviewed and discussed. The Mayor commented that the purpose of these statements and their subsequent Board review/approval is to ensure that the committees are focused on those issues that the Board would like to see addressed and that the proposed project initiatives are appropriate. Trustee Hays inquired as to whether or not committees have the ability to add projects that are not outlined in their mission statements. Mayor Stebbins responded that committees can propose new projects at any time by submitting a memo to the Board of Trustees for approval.

With regard to the Village Improvement Advisory Committee’s Statement, the Mayor commented that he would like to see the committee brought in on the current discussions with Orange and Rockland regarding Street lighting in the Village. Discussions with the power company are ongoing regarding a refund for streetlights that have been out of service for some time. (Currently roughly 70% of Village Streetlights are not working.) In addition, despite the fact that the Village has purchased replacement bulbs and provided O & R with a map of lighting poles as requested, they have still not begun servicing the lights.
V.I.A.C. member Alan Heywood responded that the committee has adopted this issue and that he personally had been in contact with O&R, who assured him that a billing solution is imminent. In addition, they have requested that the Village supply them with the packaging for the replacement bulbs, and this was sent to them on October 14.

The Board was in receipt of a letter from Environmental Advisory Committee Chair Sally Spooner, in which she has clearly outlined the different measures that are being taken to ensure the health and beauty of the Village Lakes. The Mayor gave a brief synopsis of the letter before announcing that it would be posted on the Village website for residents to review.

Public Comments
During the Public Comment Period, Landscaper Bill Fairclough expressed his concern with proposed Local Law Introductory #6 regarding noise. He stated that the window of time allowed for weekend leaf removal is too short and suggested that it be extended to include a 6 week period beginning the last weekend in October and running through the second weekend in December. He commented that not picking up the leaves in a timely manor could create problems for the Village in the form of frozen leaves in gutters, which could in turn cause flooding and cost the Village money. He further commented that because leaf disposal now takes place at a location on Long Meadow Road rather than at the racetrack, the process is more time consuming for his men. He also suggested that the law should allow a period for weekend work in the spring to accommodate for sand and grit removal from gutters. He stated that his primary concern was for his customer base and the resident taxpayers and not for himself or his business.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Fairclough for his comments and commented that the Board would take them into consideration when discussing the proposed law later that evening.

Nancy Hays inquired as to what, if any, action the Board intends to take with regard to illegal tree cutting that occurred on two properties in the fall of 2007. She commented that by not taking action, the Board is setting a dangerous precedent. John Ledwith confirmed that the Village has been working with environmental attorney Michael Burke on this issue and that they are currently awaiting some clarification from an arborist before moving forward.
Trustee Hansen commented that while the Village Code states that residents can remove only a certain number of trees without a permit, there is no penalty in place for those who chose to ignore the law. He suggested establishing such a penalty might give the law the teeth it needs.
Trustee Worthy commented that as written, the code in this area is somewhat confusing and that residents may have the idea that the law is more restrictive than it actually is. Residents always have the option of appealing to the Board should they wish to remove more than their allotted number of trees.

Brian Nugent, attorney for the Heibel Family, inquired as to whether or not the Board had received a copy of a letter he sent to their attorney Rick Golden with regard to the proposed building moratorium. As the Board was in receipt of the letter, Mr. Nugent did not have much to add except to state that the Heibels object to the proposed moratorium on the basis that it is fundamentally unfair.

New Business
The Board considered a Weston and Sampson Contract Proposal for soil borings on East Lake Road. This will be done at the south end of East Lake Rd. where East Lake Rd. and the Gruterich's property meet. The stonewall on the lakeside of the road in this area has begun leaning into the roadway, which is cause for concern. The purpose of the borings is to determine the condition of the soil under the wall so that a proper plan for support can be developed. As the wall is located on his property, Mr. Gruterich has agreed to pay half the cost of the contract, which totals $11,690.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the contract at a cost of $5,900 to the Village.

A Contract Proposal from Lush Contracting for sewer main repairs was also discussed. Trustee Shaw questioned the decision to repair the sewer lines when there is a good chance that the DEC will require the Village to move the mains as part of the repairs to the Tuxedo Lake Dam. Mayor Stebbins responded that the section of the main that is being addressed is located at a 90º angle to the embankment and that should it spring a leak, it could easily puncture a hole. This is a dangerous situation, which the DEC will surely look at closely and therefore it must be improved.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the proposal.

In reviewing two potential candidates for Board membership, the Village Board of Architectural Review is split on whom to appoint. Therefore, the Board of Trustees must break the tie make the appointment. After some discussion, the Board voted in favor of appointing Julia Simet. Ms. Simet’s term will expire in June of 2010.

Trustee Hansen proposed that the BOT meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month during November and December. The Board voted unanimously in favor.

Old Business
The Board reviewed and voted anonymously in favor of the Environmental Assessment for Local Law Introductory #6 regarding noise.

Local Law Introductory #5, a local law that would institute a moratorium on certain zoning approvals concerning construction on a ridgeline or precipice, was discussed. The Board entered into an attorney/client-privileged session to discuss the aforementioned letter from the Hiebels attorney.
When the Board had reentered regular session Mayor Stebbins inquired as to how many properties would be directly affected by the moratorium. John Ledwith responded that he could not provide an accurate number at that time.
Trustee Shaw inquired about the number of buildable lots existing in the Village and was told that there are roughly 30, however this number is not exact.
Trustee Hansen commented that there are a substantial number of properties located on ridgelines in the Village and that while the purpose of the moratorium would be to clarify the current prohibition on ridgeline building for the purpose of enacting a new law, perhaps the Heibel property could be excluded from the moratorium on the basis that the applicant has already begun the appeals process.
In response, the Mayor suggested that perhaps the moratorium could apply only to new applications that have not yet been initiated.
Attorney Mike Donnelly commented that all applications would be able to proceed under the moratorium, however they would not be allowed to progress to the point of decision making.
Mayor Stebbins suggested shortening the length of the moratorium to 6 months.
Deputy Mayor Hays responded that the Board has the power to end the moratorium at any time once they feel the work has been done. Therefore, if they determine the work has been completed in 6 months they can simply lift the moratorium at that time.
Attorney Mike Donnelly spoke about both the scope and the applicability of the moratorium commenting that while the Board certainly COULD have it apply only to new applications that doing so might cause a “race of diligence” as residents rush to get their applications in before the moratorium becomes effective. The Board also has the power to grandfather certain applications if they so choose. He concluded by commenting that while there is rationale for doing it both ways, having the Moratorium apply to all applications would give it more legitimacy.
Following these comments the Board voted 3-2 in favor of adopting Local Law Introductory #5, with Trustees Shaw and Hansen voting against.

Next, the Board turned to Local Law Introductory # 6 regarding noise.
Mike Donnelly outlined a slight change to the proposed law in which the term “property owner” is more clearly defined as applying only to this particular chapter of the Village Code. Because this term is used elsewhere throughout the Code, Trustee Hansen felt it was important to distinguish its meaning with regard to this particular law so as to avoid confusion in the future.
The window of time allowed for leaf removal in the fall was discussed. It was decided to extend the window to include a span of three weeks running from the last weekend in October through the 2nd weekend in November.
Trustee Shaw brought up the issue of spring clean up and wondered if, as Mr. Fairclough had suggested earlier in the evening, a window of time should be also created in the spring to allow for the collection of salt and grit. Trustee Hansen commented that spring clean up does not have the same time constraints as the fall clean up does due to the lack of leaves. He suggested that a window of time should NOT be created in the spring and that the legislation should clearly specify that the window in the fall be for leaf removal only.
Due to the nature of the changes, the Board was unable to vote on Local Law Introductory #6 regarding noise as it must be before them in its final form for 7 days before they can vote. This vote will take place at their next scheduled meeting.

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