G’town considers open spaces plan… for parking

GERMANTOWN—Quality of life was again the subject at the Town Board meeting November 18. A business owner in the hamlet had pointed out to Supervisor Roy Brown that a car had been parked in the same spot on Main Street for two weeks. The car was parked legally, but its relative permanence, on a short stretch of street intended for shoppers, was an annoyance.

“Do we want to institute a parking law?” Mr. Brown asked the board.

Councilman (and supervisor-elect) Joel Craig said yes, that he had talked to business owners and they were unanimous that something has to be done. Town attorney Tal Rappleyea will work with Mr. Brown and Mr. Craig on drafting legislation.

In another matter, the board decided that enforcement of a previous policy would solve another problem. Effective for any new event, not already scheduled, at the Kellner Activities Building, those using the building must pay a $50 deposit, which will be returned upon return of the building’s key and once maintenance director Anthony Cidras confirms that the building is clean, with trash removed.

The town has only two keys to the building, Mr. Brown explained, and people were not returning them promptly, not removing their garbage and not paying to the town the requested $1 per person at the event. Mr. Rappleyea noted that the town can charge rent for the building, but Mr. Brown said a donation was preferable.

Any resident of Germantown can arrange to use the building, whether for a for-profit or nonprofit entity, as can Clermont residents, since that town pays into the Germantown park system.

In a piece of good-neighbor news, Mr. Rappleyea reported that the property at 462 South Road, which the town had listed as needing cleanup, had been sold. The new owner promptly removed the junk and debris that had been a danger and an eyesore. The board approved taking that property off the list.

In bad-neighbor news, Mr. Rappleyea reported that the property at 4777 Route 9G looks worse than ever, even after the town, in the person of code enforcement officer John Fieser, spent months working with the owner to remove junk and debris. Photos received November 18 showed the poor state of the property compared to earlier photos. Neighbors were complaining about the multiple styles of “fencing” the owner was using to try to hide the debris, and “the owner is becoming more defensive regarding his eclectic collection, said Mr. Fieser.

The board approved putting out a Request for Proposals to clean up the property. The owner will be charged for the cleanup. If he doesn’t pay, Columbia County will reimburse the town for the cost and bill the owner with his property tax bill, as it does for nonpayment of sewer charges.

In that matter, Mr. Brown reported that the town had received $26,000 from the county as reimbursement for unpaid sewer bills. “It’s the same people” who don’t pay, said Mr. Brown, “year after year.”

In other business, the board:

Having passed the 2014 town budget after a Public Hearing on November 7, agreed that Mr. Brown should write a “budget letter,” outlining the town budget, and Councilman Donald Westmore should post the letter on the town website, germantown.org.

Approved putting the town’s two police recruits on paid status.

Learned that Saturday, December 7 from 10 a.m. to noon, a team from the state Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program will share its report on the town’s natural resources and discuss climate projections for the Hudson Valley. The program is free and open to the public, in Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road.

Set dates for events and festivities: November 28 from noon to 1 p.m. for the community Thanksgiving dinner in the Kellner building; Saturday, November 30 for a board workshop on lake management, at 10 a.m. in town hall; Saturday, December 7 for the holiday tree lighting, starting at 5 p.m.; Thursday, December 12, for the annual 12526.biz holiday party, at Central House hotel, 5-7 p.m.; Saturday, December 14 for the next meeting of the Economic Development Committee, in the GTel conference room, 210 Main Street, at 9 a.m.

All board members attended, with an audience of about 12. At the next meeting, Monday, December 16, outgoing supervisor Brown will give a presentation on what the board has accomplished during the last eight years, when he has been supervisor.


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