In Claverack, two poll sites will shift

CLAVERACK–Voters in two of the town’s election districts will be exercising their democratic right at a new location starting this fall. Virginia Martin, the Columbia County Democratic Elections Commissioner, told the Claverack Town Board last week that the polling sites for the town’s Election Districts 3 and 4 will now be at the Nutrition Center for the county Office for the Aging on Main Street in Philmont.

Previously District 3 voting took place at the Claverack Town Hall in Mellenville and District 4 voters went to Philmont Village Hall.

“Neither one of those locations is really ideal, so we’ve come up with a better solution,” said Ms. Martin. She said having both districts vote at the Nutrition Site will be more economical and make the process easier for voters and auditors.

“It’s a really good location. It’s very accessible,” she said. “It will fit both sites and will save us all some money.” She estimated the move will save anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 a year.

The two districts will remain separate entities and each district will have its own table where voters check in.

“The fewer spots you have, the less confusion there is,” Ms. Martin said.

Districts 3 and 4 are the only two affected by the change. The polling site for Districts 1 and 2 will remain at the A.B. Shaw Firehouse on Route 23, and residents in District 5 will still vote at the Churchtown Firehouse on County Route 27. Ms. Martin said postcards will be mailed out notifying voters of the change.

Also at the July 11 Town Board meeting, resident Vincent McKiernan requested the Town consider creating a noise ordinance. The Hollowville Hamlet resident said “unacceptable noise levels” come from a neighbors’ residence. He says there is loud music, inappropriate language, fighting, yelling and partying “all day and all night.” He has two children who like to ride their bikes and play outside, but he said they often cannot due to the “excessive music” and his neighbors’ references to “sex, drugs, and alcohol.”

“I’ve called the law enforcements many times,” said Mr. McKiernan. “They said they can’t do anything because there is no noise ordinance for them to enforce.”

Town Supervisor Robin Andrews said she talked to Town Attorney Robert Fitzsimmons as well as other town supervisors regarding noise ordinances. “The problem is that a noise ordinance is not very enforceable,” she said.

She read a communication from Mr. Fitzsimmons that said enforcing noise ordinances involves a noise decibel meter, a trained operator, frequent calibration and records. “It’s true that anybody can go to Radioshack and buy a noise decibel meter, but for the result to hold up in court, there is a much higher standard,” Mr. Fitzsimmons wrote.

Resident Peter Bevacqua said he has a similar problem with a neighbor of his, and asked if a noise ordinance is possible for after 10 p.m.

Councilman Cliff Weigelt said another problem with trying to enforce a noise ordinance is determining how much noise is too much. He said a situation could arise where a property owner gets in trouble for noise associated with mowing the lawn. He encouraged Mr. McKiernan to try to work it out with his neighbors.

“If you talk to your neighbor, that’s the easiest way to do it,” said Mr. Weigelt. “You should always take that first step.”

Also at the July 11 meeting:

Supervisor Andrews issued a reminder that Webb Road is not to be used as an alternative route while the bridge on Route 23B is closed for repair. A temporary bridge was put in on Webb Road while the bridge on 23B is out, but the temporary Webb Road span is only for emergency vehicles

Ms. Andrews said the Town of Greenport has agreed to let Claverack borrow its vehicle speed radar sign.


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