Taghkanic extends mining moratorium

TAGHKANIC–A state audit of the town’s books is in progress. Supervisor Betty Young reported to the Town Board at the board’s September 8 meeting that she has contacted the Office of the State Comptroller and officials there have agreed to perform the service, which comes with no charge to the town.

Also at last week’s meeting, the Zoning Commission asked for and received an extension on the moratorium on surface mining in the town. The moratorium will now extend through March 2011. And the commission received approval to hire the consulting firm Greenplan, Inc. of Rhinebeck for $9,225 to assist with rewriting zoning code pertaining to mining.

 

Although the commission is aware that it needs to update the entire town zoning code to align it with the town’s comprehensive plan, for now, the commission is under pressure from the threat of litigation and must concentrate on the mining portion of the code on advice of their attorney.

This week brought the news of a court decision against Allison Bennett, whose company, Berry Pond, LLC, is seeking to open a gravel mine on Livingston Road. The Berry Pond petition challenging the moratorium has been dismissed by acting state Supreme Court Judge Paul Czajka.

In other business:

*Mary Udell reported that work on the Creek Walk is moving ahead in part because coverage of the project in The Columbia Paper brought the project to the attention of Peter Paden, executive director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, and Ellen Epstein the conservancy’s land protection manager. Ms. Epstein has offered to assist in processing and writing grants.

*Local gardens and trees are dying because of the drought, and some see a need to declare a drought emergency in case dead trees need to be removed in spring. The Town of Taghkanic lies in an upland area and the Taghkanic Creek drains into the main reservoir for the City of Hudson.

Dan Udell complained that the city lacks water meters and that Hudson often gets rain while the uplands remain dry. Hudson residents may have no understanding that we are suffering a severe drought, said Mr. Udell.

Mary Udell, his wife, said that they and several of their neighbors, all of whom live on the Taghkanic Creek, have had their wells go dry on and off throughout the summer. The town asked the city to repair a locked valve that could regulate the flow of water into the reservoir but was rebuffed.“It’s an inequitable situation it comes up year after year. We have to find a solution,” said board member Joyce Thompson.

*Town Highway Superintendent Tom Youhas reported that many town files on personnel and other subjects are missing, making his job difficult.

*The board approved issuing a serial bond for the purchase of what town officials is a much needed Dodge Ram truck for $70,100.

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