GERMANTOWN–The town will host a presentation on the pitfalls of hydraulic fracturing–a method for extracting natural gas from the earth–Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. in the Kellner Activities Building on Palatine Park Road.
Presenters are attorney George Rodenhausen and Anne Rubin. In 2011 Mr. Rodenhausen, a partner in the firm of Rapport Meyers, successfully argued the case of Cooperstown Holstein v. Middletown, establishing the rule that municipalities can exercise their zoning power to ban what the extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, for natural gas. He concentrates his practice in the areas of land use and municipal and environmental law, according to the firm’s website.
Attorney Cheryl Roberts helped in the preparation that case, one of two decided earlier this year in which state courts affirmed the authority of municipalities in this matter.
Ms. Rubin, of Red Hook, serves on the town’s Conservation Advisory Council. Her specialty is water protection issues, according to her website, and she believes in stricter protections for groundwater supplies. In 2008 she ran for state Assembly in the 103rd District.
Residents of Germantown, Livingston and Clermont are especially invited to this meeting, which is open to the public. A second meeting will be scheduled, said Supervisor Roy Brown, which will outline the benefits of fracking.
In other business at its Monday meeting, the board:
*Reminded the public that a statewide burning ban is in effect until October
*Set a workday Saturday, July 21, beginning at 9 a.m. at the lake on Palatine Park Road. All are welcome to assist the town staff and volunteers, who have begun skimming the lake for duckweed. The board thanked the town’s lifeguards, the parents of the lifeguards and other volunteers who have assisted maintenance chief Anthony Cidras with this skimming, using a homemade skimmer invented by a resident.
Extended discussion of the lake included usage for swimming, which is much lower than previously, possibly because of the duckweed, and whether the town should bite the bullet in the fall and dredge the lake, as advised by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. That way, weeds could be pulled up by their roots and plugged springs unplugged; with better water flow comes fewer weeds. As for how to fund this major work, Mr. Brown noted that the town does have some reserves; “depending on the cost,” he said, “we could delve into that.”
*Approved the Communications Committee’s contracting with Gabrielle Green of Red Hook to update the town’s website. In interviews Ms. Green’s proposal “stood out as fitting our needs,” said Councilman Donald Westmore, and “hers was the lowest bid.”
*Approved with thanks a proposal from Boy Scout Mitchell Black of Troop 122 in Germantown for his Eagle Scout project to construct a pavilion at the corner of Palatine Park Road and Main Street. Distributing written materials and photos to the board, Mitchell said he would raise funds and seek material donations from stores. Pending approval from the Twin Rivers Council of the BSA and additional volunteers, he looks to have the pavilion built by next summer
*Adopted a resolution requesting Highway Superintendent Richard Jennings to seek approvals limiting vehicle speed and weight on Lasher Road, waiving the weight limit for local deliveries and agricultural vehicles
*Approved having Councilman Joel Craig’s pursue a grant of up to $10,000 for the Germantown Trail Improvements from the Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy Small Grants program. Mr. Craig said he would seek funds to make the community more walk-able and bike-able, citing bike racks, an information kiosk and trees, as possibilities. He noted that Mitchell Black’s project would count as an in-kind service, which is required
*Learned that the town’s Hudson Valley Apple Festival has settled into one day, Saturday, September 22. More crafters and food vendors are still welcome. All information is on the website, hudsonvalleyapplefestival.com
*Learned that the Communications Committee meets July 23 at 5:30 p.m. and the Sidewalk Committee meets July 26 at 10 a.m., with an update on DEC comments on the project. Both meetings take place in the Kellner building.
*During Public Comment, the board was greeted by Assembly Member Didi Barrett (D-103rd), who is running for the Assembly in the new 106th District, which includes Germantown. “What a wonderful town meeting this was,” said Ms. Barrett, “upbeat and engaged.” Noting that she had chaired her own town’s community day, Ms. Barrett offered assistance in funding research for town projects.
All board members and an audience of about 25 attended.
The next meeting is Monday, August 20.