Smile litterbugs, you’ll be on camera soon

GERMANTOWN—Councilman Donald Westmore has been assigned the task of researching a surveillance camera for the Anchorage boat launch on the Hudson River. Town attorney Tal Rappleyea said that such surveillance is legal in a public area like the boat launch.

The problem is the constant accrual of garbage there. At the July 22 Town Board meeting, maintenance supervisor Anthony Cidras reported removing three 55-gallon drums of garbage from the Anchorage over the previous month. In fact, this is an improvement; in the past, when the town provided trash receptacles, the haul was six 55-gallon drums of garbage per month.

Part of the current problem seems to be that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has a wooden container at the site. The container is meant to assist people in cleaning their boats after they remove them from the river, and in that way not spread invasive species, like zebra mussels and water chestnuts.

“It’s nice in theory, but nobody does the it,” said Councilman Joel Craig. “Instead they deposit their garbage in [the DEC container]. There are no invasive species collected, unless they’re in Miller Lite cans.”

In other business the board:

Held a public hearing on the extension of the mixed-use zone on County Route 8 / Main Street. Currently Main Street is zoned mixed-use, residential and commercial, from Church Avenue west to Route 9G. The extension would take the mixed-use designation east, from Church Avenue to Hover Avenue. Seventeen parcels, zoned residential, are part of the proposed extension.

At the hearing, Main Street residents questioned the board about increased traffic—Alyssa Raugalis said that she has already found herself in “more than one” traffic jam on Main Street. They noted that the extension does not have sidewalks. They asked about increased parking lots, and what kinds of businesses might come in. They asked if they could continue to keep chickens (yes).

In response, Supervisor Roy Brown and the board members noted that the town’s Comprehensive Plan and 2011 zoning law are on the town website, germantownny.org. In these documents, development must be consistent with the rural nature of the town. Any new business goes before the town’s Planning Board for a site plan review. Regulations are in place regarding the percentage of impermeable land allowed (such as in a parking lot).

In past years, businesses in that area included a barbershop and a luncheonette. The idea now, said Mr. Craig, is to “create a hamlet atmosphere, not a commercial strip.”

The board approved unanimously a negative declaration on the State Environmental Quality Review, but did not vote on the extension.

Held an information hearing on the Powder Mills Spring Dam on County Route 8. The dam has suffered significant erosion. In back of the dam is the Fire Pond, used by the fire department. Should the dam fail, it would affect the town’s wastewater treatment plant, County Route 8 and all the residences around it.

The town owns the pond, but the dam is on private property, so the town cannot maintain it. The property owners are willing to donate the dam site to the town. Greenman Pedersen, Inc., the town’s engineers, has estimated a price of $19,000 to do a detailed survey of the dam and the mapping needed for purchase of the property. Reserve funds could pay for the study, Mr. Brown said, and then Pedersen Greenman would apply for federal and state funds to assist the town in replacing the dam.

The board made no decision on the matter.

Learned from Corinne Curry, co-chair of the Germantown Economic Development Committee, that two new information kiosks have been installed at the corner of Church and Main Streets, and two benches, donated by The Bank of Greene County, are on the way.

Adopted the 2013 Hazardous Mitigation Plan update. This will give the town access to FEMA funds if necessary.

Discussed the town’s 18-month moratorium on fracking, which expires in October. The consensus of the board was to continue their education on the matter. An anti-fracking program had been held, and Mr. Brown said he would renew his efforts to find a pro-fracking speaker.

Approved spending $2,000 of the town’s activity funds on the Lion’s Club Apple Festival. Councilman Michael Mortenson voted against the motion, saying that he wished to put the money toward Fourth of July fireworks in 2014.

Approved unanimously rolling over $1,000 toward 2014 July 4th fireworks.

Approved unanimously the appointment of Jamie DelPozzo as secretary to the Planning and Zoning boards and Jeremy Smith to the Ethics Board.

Approved on a 3-2 vote (Mr. Mortenson and Mr. Westmore voting against) the formal establishment of a board of three police commissioners consisting of the supervisor and two community members. This formalizes what has been done annually for years in the supervisor’s January appointments. John Ristici and Roger Rekow are this year’s commissioners with Mr. Brown.

Learned that the Sidewalk Committee meets on Thursday, August 8 at 10 a.m. at Town Hall. Right-of-way work continues, reported Mr. Brown. The congregation of the Germantown Reformed Church is willing to donate its right of way, but there is no defined owner on the church’s deed, so there is no one to donate the necessary property. Instead the town must go through an eminent domain procedure in Columbia County Supreme Court.

The board ended its evening with an executive session to discuss legal matters with the town attorney.

 

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