Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 10, 2008

The Village Board of Trustees met on December 10, 2008 at 7:30pm.
All Members were present.

Mayoral Report
During his Mayoral Address, Mayor Stebbins reported that the Fyke Nature Association will be in the Village on December 27, 2008 from 9:30am – 12:30pm to conduct a Christmas Bird Count. The count will commence at the Front Gate and residents interested in watching should feel free to come down at that time.
Additionally, the Mayor expressed his gratitude to the Tuxedo Park Garden Club for the many wreaths and Christmas décor, which they installed in and around both the Village and the Hamlet.

Deputy Mayor Report
Deputy Mayor Jim Hays reported that on December 9 the Town Planning Board accepted a recommendation from Tuxedo Reserve for the resubmission of the amended Special Permit for the project as many errors and inconsistencies were discovered during the review process. In addition, Tuxedo Reserve has granted the Planning Board a 45 day extension to complete their review.

DPW Report
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department is in need of a new dump truck. After some discussion with regard to cost, the Board voted unanimously in favor of putting this out to bid, with a closing date of December 22, 2008.
Finally, Mr. Voss stressed the importance of the repairs at the sewer plant, commenting that the work should be done ASAP before the freezing weather sets in.

Advisory Committees
On behalf of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Jake Lindsay reported that several bids for the repair work at the sewer plant had been received and reviewed by the Village Engineer Rich Messer, who passed his recommendation along to the Board for review.
He reported that the sewer plant is also in need of a new cover for the clarifiers. The committee has priced several, however since the cost will be greater than $10,000, the Village is required to put it out for bid. The Board voted unanimously in favor of doing so, with a closing date of December 22, 2008.

Mayor Stebbins then reported that the DPW is in need of additional storage space for their trucks as well as some equipment. The Town of Tuxedo has warehouse space available for rent on Long Meadow Road and has given Village the option of renting 1500 square feet of space on a month-to-month basis for $1500 per month. Should the Village decide to rent the space for a full year, the cost would be reduced to $1300 a month. The Mayor commented that he feels the Village should begin with a 3-month rental agreement and continue to consider whether a longer period will be necessary.
Trustee Shaw suggested that the Village consider the purchase of an additional cover, similar to the one they are considering for the clarifiers at the Sewer Plant, and installing it in a remote location where the trucks and equipment could then be stored. She commented that the cost of this might be cheaper than renting space from the Town on an on-going basis over time.
Trustee Hansen expressed budgetary concerns with Trustee Shaw’s proposal and suggested that the Village wait a year to determine whether or not the purchase of a second cover would be necessary. He went on to comment that in his opinion, a 3-month rental agreement makes the most fiscal sense.
Deputy Mayor Hays also supported the 3-month rental agreement commenting that it is not a huge expenditure and that it is crucial that the Village take proper care of the trucks and equipment.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of procuring a 3-month rental agreement with the Town to run no later than the end of March.

On behalf of the Village Improvement Advisory Committee, Michele Lindsay reported that the Tuxedo Park sign located near the Front Gate is in disrepair and the Committee feels it should be replaced. They have received a quote of $950 from the original designer and this cost includes construction of a new mahogany sign along with posts and installation. She further commented that it might be possible to lower the price by constructing the sign out of a material other than mahogany. Based on a directive from the Board the committee will investigate those options.
Trustee Worthy inquired as to whether or not the designer can provide the Village with an outline spec detailing how different types of material might weather/age. Mrs. Lindsay replied that she would request this information.
Trustee Hansen commented that in his view, while a new sign at the gate would certainly look nice, it is not a necessity. He recommended that the committee move forward with obtaining a quote but that the Village not move forward with the project until March or April at which point they will have a better idea of where they stand in terms of the budget.
Moving on, Mrs. Lindsay reported that the committee has mailed letters to residents on East Lake Stable Road in an effort to obtain feedback regarding the possibility of making Clubhouse Rd from its junction with E Lake Stable down to the junction with Fox Hill one way.
Finally, Mrs. Lindsay commented that the committee feels that now is the optimal time to get ready to move forward with capital financing for large projects and they would like to encourage the Board to do so.
Mayor Stebbins responded that the Bond Agent for the Village has advised that capital borrowing be deferred until 2009 due to the state of the capital markets. In addition he stated that once the process does begin to move forward, it will be important to realize that what is spent and what is borrowed go hand-in-hand and the Village will have to prioritize projects with the dams and the sewer system at the top of that list.

Public Comments
During the public comment period Ken Stewart expressed his dismay with the continued construction at the Hanson property on Tower Hill Road. He commented that following the November BOT meeting it had been his understanding that all work on the property would cease since the Building Inspector had issued a Stop Work Order and the Building Permit was due to expire on November 16, 2008. However, on November 19, seven truckloads of cement were poured at the property with noisy work continuing well into the evening. Upon calling the gate to complain, Mr. Stewart reported that he was told that John Ledwith had given permission to admit the trucks to the Village and had also authorized their work past 4pm. Mr. Stewart inquired as to why more serious action had not been taken to prevent the illegal work from taking place.
Mayor Stebbins responded that a Stop-Work-Order was issued on November 19, however work continued at the property and as a result Mr. Hanson has been summoned to Village Court.
Mr. Stewart argued that despite this action, work continues at the property on a daily basis.
Building Inspector John Ledwith confirmed that work has been on-going since the expiration of Building Permit.
Trustee Worthy commented that the proper course of action for Mr. Stewart would be to report the work to the police on a daily basis. The Police would then pass these reports along to the Village Office, who would then issue Mr. Hanson tickets for every day that work continues without a permit.
Mr. Stewart replied that he had made several calls to the police over the course of the past month and then inquired as to how many tickets had been issued to Mr. Hanson. He questioned the legality of a permit extension for Mr. Hanson, stating that the Village Code only allows for 2 18-month extensions before a new application must be filed and the Hanson project has been going on for 6 years.

Sally Sonne expressed her displeasure with remarks made by the Mayor in his recent letter to residents in which he stated that the Village denied involvement in or approval of the recent deer drives. She stated that deer drives are a legal, private activity in which residents choose to engage and that the Village is not in its right to comment disparagingly on them. She further commented that signs posted by the Front Gate were an “absurd attempt to alarm residents unnecessarily” and that the Village’s unsolicited, negative spin was “unfair, unjustified, insulting and wrong.”

Michele Lindsay described two incidents, which occurred on and near her property on Eagle Mountain Road. The first was on December 5 when a hunter wandered into her back yard carrying a rifle. When Mrs. Lindsay confronted the man, he responded that he was looking for Sterling Forest (Sterling Forest State Park borders the Lindsay property) and that he “believed it was around here somewhere.” Mrs. Lindsay asked the man to leave her property immediately and called the police, however by the time the officer arrived the hunter had disappeared back into the forest.
The 2nd incident took place a day or so later when Mrs. Lindsay noticed a car parked on Eagle Mountain Road in front of the Brown property (empty lot) for an extended period of time. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the vehicle belonged to a Village resident, although Mrs. Lindsay expressed her concern that the owner had been using Eagle Mountain Road to access Sterling Forest State Park for the purpose of hunting and inquired as to whether or not this is allowed.
She commented that none of the Eagle Mountain Road properties are posted and that while she intends to post her own property, she is not sure how effective this will be if the surrounding properties are not also posted.
The Mayor responded that while the Village has no authority over Sterling Forest, they could request that they post signs letting people know where their boundaries are located.
Trustee Hansen commented that Village-owned property in that area should also be posted.

Old Business:

Local Law Introductory # 7
The public hearing for Local Law Introductory #7 regarding fences was opened.
Peter Regna expressed concern with section 49-3 of the proposed legislation pertaining to perimeter fences. As it is currently written, the Village Code defines Perimeter fencing very broadly and includes all delineating barriers such as trellises and stone walls. Because many walls are considered by the code to be fences, Mr. Regna commented that passing the law could create hundreds of nonconforming situations and that the Village needs to make sure when enacting the law that they rendering illegal those walls which are necessary as retaining walls. He further commented that to deny residents the right to erect, maintain or rebuild perimeter walls is, in his opinion, an unnecessary intrusion and he does not see the purpose of implementing such restrictions.
Mayor Stebbins thanked Mr. Regna for his comments and wondered if, given his historic expertise, Mr. Regna would be willing to take a closer look at the legislation and outline broad areas to be addressed by the Board or reviewed by Village Attorneys.
Mr. Regna responded that the first step of the process should be to discuss the objective of the proposed legislation and also to possibly redefine the word “fence” in order to make walls a separate issue.
The Mayor reported that he was in receipt of a letter from the BAR in which member Robert Simon stated that the temporary fence law had been a knee jerk reaction initially and was meant to discourage poorly installed deer fencing.
Trustee Hansen thanked Mr. Regna for his comments and reiterated the Mayors request for further thoughts.
The Public hearing was then adjourned until January 21, 2008.

Sewer Maintenance Plant Building Repairs
Village Engineer Rich Messer briefly reviewed three bids, which have been received for work at the Sewer Maintenance Plant Building before recommending that the Board accept the offer from Heelco Drilling Co. The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting this bid for the amount of $32, 500.

Hanson Building Permit
On behalf of Don Hanson, Attorney Brian Nugent stated that Mr. Hanson’s engineer has reviewed the drainage situation on the property along with Mr. Stewarts damage complaints as presented at the November BOT meeting and has determined that the cause of Mr. Stewart’s problem is not the work on Mr. Hanson’s property but rather the design of the Stewart’s driveway in conjunction with Continental Road.
In response to earlier allegations that work occurring on November 19 had been illegal, Mr. Nugent stated when asked for a copy of the Building Permit, Building Inspector John Ledwith failed to produce it, at first commenting that a permit had never been issued but later stating that it had been issued but misplaced. He argued that because there was no permit on file, the work that occurred on November 19 was no more illegal than the work that occurred before November 16. He went on to state that stopping work altogether would not serve anyone’s interest and that the best solution would be for Mr. Hanson to move forward with a conditional permit to be determined by the Board. In the meantime, he suggested that work inside the home and work that does not create disturbance on the property should be allowed to progress.
Mayor Stebbins responded by reminding Mr. Hanson and his Attorney that The Board had requested a storm water and erosion control plan from their engineer, which was never received. Despite damage complaints from neighbors and concerns over permit renewal at the November BOT meeting, Mr. Hanson moved ahead with construction after his permit had expired. The Mayor stated that no work associated with the permit should be allowed to proceed before these issues have been resolved. He insisted that the Mr. Hanson’s engineer submit a storm water report to Village Engineer Rich Messer for review by January 1, 2009. He strongly suggested that the engineers communicate directly to ensure that the proper plans are submitted.
After some discussion regarding whether or not interior work at the house could proceed, Mr. Hanson’s request for a permit extension was tabled until January 21, pending the receipt of the storm water report.

Precipice and Ridgeline Advisory Committee’s First Interim Report
Committee Chair Chiu-Yin Hempel presented that Board with the first Interim Report, which clearly outlines the committees’ purpose, methodology, timetable and interim findings. Additionally, outlined within the report are three legislative options for the Board to consider. The first option would regulate all ridgeline and precipice development throughout the Village, while the second proposes regulating only ridgeline and precipice development that is visible to a large number of the public. The third option asks the Board to consider whether they wish to broaden the committee’s authority to research broader viewshed legislation. The committee recommends that the Board choose Option One. By selecting one of the three options, the Board will provide the Committee with a strategic direction for their work.
After further discussion the Board decided in favor of Option One.
The committee will present its second interim report, including detailed maps and precise calculations, at the January 21 meeting.

New Business:

The following resolutions were passed:

  1. A resolution granting the Tuxedo Joint Fire District emergency access to the Wee Wah Lake water supply through the Barone property, located on Warwick Brook Road.
  2. A resolution authorizing the purchase of a new vehicle for the Village Police Department
  3. A resolution to appoint Ralph Brooks as Fire Commissioner for the Tuxedo Joint Fire District
  4. A resolution to exempt qualifying village properties from Orange County taxes in 2010.

There will be a special meeting of the Village Board of Trustees on Monday, December 22 at 7:30pm.

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