The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:30pm.
Trustee Hanson was not present.
Mayor Stebbins began his Mayor report with some remarks on the upcoming election. Most importantly, he announced that Trustee Shaw has decided to withdraw her name from the race due to health issues. He then asked Trustee Shaw if she wanted to make a statement on her own behalf. Commenting that the decision to withdraw had been an extremely tough one to make, Trustee Shaw went on to express her gratitude to everyone on the Board as well as behind the scenes for helping to make her service as a Village Trustee a rewarding experience. On behalf of the Village, Mayor Stebbins thanked Trustee Shaw for her time and hard work, specifically recognizing her work with the Village Lakes and the Water Department.
Earlier in the month, The Village Police Department conducted a survey of speeding in the Village. The results showed that roughly 5% of vehicles are traveling at speeds greater than 39 MPH, which is unacceptable to the Board. The Mayor reminded everyone that speeding is a public safety issue, especially during the summer months, and he urged everyone to slow down and drive responsibly.
Each year at this time, positions become available on the various Village Boards as terms expire for some of those who are currently serving. Over the course of the next month, the Boards will be reviewing candidates and making their recommendations to the Board of Trustees, who will then make the appointments. Residents who are interested in serving should contact the Village Office for more information on which positions are available.
Residents are strongly encouraged to file their contact information with the Village Police. Having updated information can be crucial when it comes to providing the best security possible. The Mayor also encouraged residents to inform the Village Office if they have a change of address.
Deputy Mayor’s Report
Deputy Mayor Jim Hays reported that the Town Board is continuing to review Tuxedo Reserve’s Application for a 3rd Amendment to the Special Permit for the project. Residents have been present at each of the two workshop meetings and the Board appears to be responding to them and addressing their concerns. Deputy Mayor Hays stressed the importance of having residents continue to attend these meetings, commenting that in the past two weeks the Board seems to have moved their thinking from believing that the review process can be completed rapidly and now seem to be taking a slower, more thorough approach. The public will have an opportunity to offer thoughts and recommendations with regard to the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in the coming weeks, although it has not yet been determined whether a Public Scoping session will take place.
Together with DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss, Deputy Mayor Hays has been researching a possible new method of road resurfacing. The process, known as Road Rehab, utilizes the old blacktop by grinding it up and melting down before resurfacing with it. Not only would this method be much cheaper for the Village, but it would also help to prevent the build-up of roads in areas where resurfacing takes place on an annual basis. Superintendent Voss has been in contact with a Road Rehab outfit in Brewster, NY in an effort to further research the process and will continue to keep the Board updated as he gathers more information.
Police Chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of May:
Criminal Complaints: 2
Non-criminal Complaints: 58
Property Damage Complaints: 1
Speeding Tickets: 21
Medical Calls: 2
Fire Alarms: 1 (false)
Burglar Alarms: 11 (false)
Assists Given to the Town: 5
Assists Received by the Town: 1
9,851 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.
Additionally, Chief Sanford reported that weekend part-time traffic guard Thomas Ogden has resigned. As a result, a new guard will be needed and the Chief has submitted a resume to the Board for review.
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss stated that there was no major activity to report.
On behalf of the Water Department, John Ledwith announced that beginning in the month of July, the Board will be presented with a quarterly report detailing the amount of water produced as well as the amount billed. During the month of May, a polite letter was sent to those customers in the Town who are in arrears and as a result, $4,000 has been collected. While this is great news, customers in the Town still owe the water department a combined total of $50,000. The majority of unpaid water bills in the Village have been levied, although there remain a few that are under discussion.
On behalf of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Trustee Shaw reported that the Citizens Statewide Lakes Assessment Program (CSLAP) will be starting up again in the next few weeks. Additionally, through the program, the Village has been selected to participate in a cyano-bacteria study. As part of this study, whenever there is a noticeable algae bloom on any of Village lakes, residents can collect samples and send them off to a lab for immediate testing. Anyone who is interested in volunteering should contact Susan Goodfellow.
A resident who specifically asked to remain un-named on tpfyi, questioned the Board regarding their opinions on pet ownership in the Village and the level of responsibility shown by pet owners. Her intent was to poll each Board member for their individual opinion on the issue and she attempted to begin this process with Trustee Worthy, however, Mayor Stebbins interrupted commenting that there was not enough time for each trustee to give individual responses. He further commented that the issue dogs in the Village and the idea of a leash law has been discussed several times during public meetings over the past couple of months and each of the Trustees has already expressed their opinion. Finally, he suggested to the concerned resident that the issue of “pet ownership in the Village” is extremely broad and that she may want to reshape her question as it was very difficult for the Board to approach it in the manor it had been laid out. In response, the resident stated that she had no comment and wished for the Board to consider the issue closed. The Mayor responded that the issue of dogs and leash laws is not closed. Trustee Shaw commented that she feels the issue needs to be discussed further and that in her view, a leash law is worth considering. Trustee Worthy commented that she too would be interested in pursuing the subject further.
Meg Vaught read a written statement into the record regarding the overwhelming length of recent Trustees meetings. She pointed out that there seemed to be a great deal of lengthy, circulatory discussion during meetings, particularly with regard to Local Laws #5, and #7, which have been on meeting agendas for the past 6 months. Additionally, she suggested that meeting agendas are arranged in an unfortunate manor so that residents wanting to hear about or comment on items in the New Business category, are forced to sit through the Old Business category first, which often means they are subjected to the afore mentioned lengthy circulatory discussions. A copy of Mrs. Vaught’s statement can be read here.
In response, Mayor Stebbins commented that passing local laws is one of the most important tasks that the Board undertakes and that passing legislation is not an efficient process as it requires a great deal of deliberation. He further commented that there are certain procedures that must be followed when passing legislation, such as having a clean copy of the proposed law before them for 7 days prior to voting and in some cases receiving county approval. Finally he stated that there are a number of reasons that have previously prevented the Board from voting on Local Laws #5 and #7, but that they hoped to move forward with both pieces of legislation that evening.
Mrs. Vaught responded that she understood that the procedure for passing legislation was a somewhat lengthy one and that it is crucial that the Board take their time when creating laws, however her concern lies more with the fact that the Board tends to draw out discussions on a regular basis by repeating their opposing opinions multiple times in various ways rather than agreeing to disagree on certain points.
Trustee Worthy suggested that moving forward New Business should come before Old Business on meeting agendas and the Mayor agreed this suggestion.
Mary Graetzer commended the Board for their “crackdown” on speeding, but inquired as to whether or not commercial traffic, specifically landscapers and delivery trucks, had been surveyed. She commented that in her view, these larger vehicles are the biggest culprits of speeding in the Village and that often times, encountering one of them on the narrower roads can be frightening.
Mayor Stebbins responded that there is a rush to get the main roads re-striped, which should help with the problem on the main roads. With regard to the narrower, secondary roads, the Mayor suggested that perhaps a flier expressing these concerns could be created and circulated to the truck and bus drivers as they enter through the Front Gate.
- A resolution to move the annual Reorganization Meeting to July 8 at 7pm was made and unanimously passed.
- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Village to invest the Wee Wah Beach Club’s $5,000 license fee into the Club’s capital expenditures for the 2009 swim season. Wee Wah Beach Club Executive Board member Mary Graetzer commented that the Club had not spent all of last years funding and inquired as to whether or not the unspent funds would be added onto this years’ funding. The Mayor responded that the unspent funds had nothing to do with authorizing this years’ funds, however Trustee Worthy seconded Mrs. Graetzer’s concerns and suggested that if there were unspent monies remaining, they should be added onto this years funding by Board authorization. Trustee Hays suggested that the Village Improvement Advisory Committee should work with the Beach Club to compile a detailed report and determine a budget for capital improvements moving forward. Mayor Stebbins responded that the Club’s lease provides for this moving forward.
- The Board reviewed and unanimously approved the Tuxedo Recreation Department’s request to access and use the Wee Wah Beach facilities.
- A request from the Tuxedo Club for their annual fireworks display to take place on July 5 at 9:30pm with a rain date of July 6 at 9:30pm was reviewed and unanimously approved subject to the receipt of an insurance certificate.
- After a brief discussion and some minor immaterial changes, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Local Law Introductory #5 pertaining to changes to the Village Zoning Code relating to Non-Conforming Uses, Non Complying Structures and Substandard Lots.
- A resolution to join the National Flood Insurance Program was made an unanimously adopted.
- Following a brief discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Local Law Introductory #6 regarding flood damage prevention in compliance with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Local Law Introductory #7
The Public Hearing for Local Law Introductory #7 regarding Ridgeline and Precipice Overlay District and Regulations was continued. Chiu Yin Hempel suggested some minor rearranging within the legislation regarding landscaping and its use to minimize the piercing of the skyline rather than the effects of grading. After some discussion the Board decided against making the change. As there were no further comments from the public, the hearing was closed. The Board then discussed the latest draft of the proposed legislation.
Referencing an e-mail that was submitted by Trustee Hanson, Trustee Shaw inquired about the Findings section of legislation, questioning whether or not it was necessary to include the entire methodology within the body of the law. Mayor Stebbins responded that the Findings section of a law proves the point that the criteria set forth within the law is both fair and reasonable. In his view it is important that the law reflect the way in which the Ridgeline and Precipice Committee administered their charge.
Board Attorney Rick Golden commented that the Purpose and Finding sections of any law are not required and are not part of the law itself. Rather, these sections are used to set the stage for the legislation. The Board could choose to eliminate the Findings section altogether and it would not alter the substance of the law.
Mayor Stebbins commented that given the fact that the section in question is not part of the actual law, it would be fruitless to spend a great deal of time discussing it.
Trustee Worthy added that often times the history of a law can be and has been very helpful when and if those laws need to be revisited. In her opinion, the more information provided the better.
Trustee Shaw expressed concern with tree cutting in the regulated areas and inquired as to why the proposed restrictions will apply only to those areas and not the entire Village.
Mayor Stebbins responded that the underlying purpose of the law is to protect these environmentally sensitive areas of the Village and a more stringent tree cutting policy is an important part of that not only for viewshed purposes but also because the number of trees removed from these areas has a direct effect on storm water management.
Trustee Shaw then expressed concern with the types of construction materials permitted under the law commenting that in her view, the law is too restrictive. She pointed out that the last three homes built on the lake were constructed with shingles and that potential builders might think the easiest way to get approval for their home would be to construct a similar home. Trustee Worthy disagreed with this assessment and commented that in her view, this assumption was selling the public short. Mayor Stebbins stated that there are currently several houses in various stages of the application process and that none of them are shingle homes.
Trustee Shaw responded that she agrees with the law in principal, however she feels that it is very restrictive and will result in more costs for potential builders.
Following these remarks, the Board voted 3 to 1 in favor of adopting the law, with Trustee Shaw voting against.
Consulting Architects for Design Guidelines and the BAR
The Board has received initial contracts from both Stephen Tilly and Barry Rice. Stephen Tilly is asking for $12,000 to create the design guidelines. There was some discussion regarding his ownership of the guidelines once they have been created and subsequent potential use of the guidelines for marketing purposes. Mayor Stebbins expressed some concern with this, commenting that there is a prohibition of photography and filming in the Village and he does not want to see photos of houses in the Village being used by Mr. Tilly or his firm. Trustee Worthy responded that the agreement submitted by Mr. Tilly is a draft of a standard general agreement and that she has discussed the issue of photography with Mr. Tilly, who feels that one of the major errors in the current draft guidelines is in fact the use of photography. Therefore, she does not believe that photography or filming will be involved in creating the guidelines. Attorney Rick Golden commented that it does not make sense for the contract to include an intellectual property component to the contract when dealing with a municipality because once the guidelines are adopted by the Village they are a municipal product and therefore, public property.
Barry Rice has agreed to an hourly rate of $150 to assist the BAR with a flat $150 transportation fee when meeting attendance is necessary. There was some discussion regarding how often Mr. Rice will attend BAR meetings and Trustee Shaw expressed concern that his services will increase costs for applicants. Trustee Hays suggested that Trustee Worthy and BAR chair Paola Tocci meet with Mr. Rice to determine a methodology by which he will review applications and in turn attend BAR meetings.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of entering into contracts with both Mr. Tilly and Mr. Rice.