G’town ponders bigger hamlet business district

GERMANTOWN—The Town Board scheduled Monday, July 22 at 6 p.m. for a public hearing on an extension of the area of town zoned Hamlet Mixed Use. This adjustment to the 2011 zoning ordinance would allow a larger area in the hamlet for small, low-impact businesses.

Current zoning allows for mixed use on Main Street to the intersection with Church Avenue. The extension would go on to Hover Avenue, which is currently zoned Hamlet Residential.

The request for the change came from the town’s Economic Development Committee in a May 14 letter signed by co-chairs Bruce Bohnsack and Corinne Curry. “The Committee believes this extension is warranted and economically beneficial to the town,” they wrote. “There is ample historic evidence that many of the parcels which would be included in this extension were once operated as small, family-owned businesses.

“These same locations can easily be converted to low-impact small businesses once again,” they predicted, “if provided the opportunity to do so.”

Since then the town Planning Board has approved the change. At Monday’s town board meeting Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea said the change would require a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review, notice of the public hearing to owners of abutting properties and a notice to neighboring towns, since this would be a change in Germantown’s zoning law.

The extension area is in the town’s sewer district, and the SEQRA review should result in a negative declaration of environmental impact, said Mr. Rappleyea; still, he advised the board to be prepared to answer questions regarding traffic, parking, storm water runoff, sewer and drinking water.

In other business, the board:

—Learned from Ms. Curry that two information kiosks are being constructed and should be ready for installation on the Fingar Insurance property on Main Street by the next town board meeting. The town will maintain the kiosks. A celebratory ribbon cutting was discussed, which would be announced on the kiosks

—Learned from Supervisor Roy Brown that he had interviewed two candidates–Jo Hills and Jamie DelPozzo–for secretary of the Zoning and Planning Boards. Janet Crawford, current secretary, wishes to resign from those positions, since she has more work in town hall as the supervisor’s administrative assistant. Mr. Brown had chosen Ms. DelPozzo, but on the request of Councilman Donald Westmore, Mr. Brown will consult with the chairs of the two boards before making a final decision

—Discussed with police commissioner Roger Rekow and police chief Brian Dubois the problems of littering and illegal summer camping at Cheviot and Anchorage Parks. Amtrak has the right of way said Mr. Rekow, but the town can still patrol the parks, and does. The board supports access to the river for all, but those camping can limit access to others. Signs in the parks say that they close at dusk. Mr. Dubois said he would look into it immediately

—Learned that July 1 is the deadline for applications to Camp Palatine, complete with payment and the required medical form. Mr. Brown will accept applications himself, mornings in town hall

—Learned that Saturday, July 20, is the date of the town’s community picnic. Organized by the Parks Commission, the day will feature food, games and information about town organizations

—Learned that maintenance director Anthony Cidras received his fish-stocking permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and put 30 grass-eating carp into the town’s lake on Palatine Park Road. Mr. Cidras expects to get one or two temporary staff members through the Workforce Investment Act this summer, as he has in the past

—Learned that the new Caterpillar backhoe had arrived, purchased with a five-year bond through the Bank of Greene County at 2.25%. The price was about $100,000, after trade-in

—Discussed repair of the retaining wall on the fire pond dam off County Route 8 near Hover Avenue. The dam is on private property, which eliminates some funding sources. The property owners are cooperative, but can’t afford to repair the dam themselves. Mr. Brown will consult with county emergency management staff.

All board members except Joan Snyder attended, along with about a dozen residents. The next Town Board meeting is Monday, July 22, at 7 p.m., after the 6 p.m. public hearing.

 

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