VALATIE–Residents who live on Kinderhook Lake filled the meeting room at the Kinderhook Town Board meeting this week to express concern about poles installed in the water on Rose Street Extension by the Kinderhook Lake Corporation (KLC).
Members of the KLC board who attended the meeting Monday, May 11 said that they plan to put a gate between the poles this spring. KLC members will have a key to the gate, which will be a barrier much like the one KLC has at the main boat launch off County Route 28 in Niverville. The goal, the KLC says, is to keep invasive species out of the lake. Invasive plant and animal species can be transferred from other water ways on the hulls and motors of boats.
“We’re not trying to do anything to anger people,” said KLC Treasurer Fran Sindlinger at the meeting. She stressed that people with a deed to land on Rose Street could have a key to the gate without being members of the corporation.
Many property owners on the lake who attended the meeting were angry about the gate and said that the KLC had tried to put up a gate in the late 1990s but the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the town had said they could not. Andrew Monell, who has property on the lake, said that in town board minute from 1998, the board discussed a ruling by the state that called the lake “navigable water” that everyone had the right to use.
“It cannot be blocked off,” he said to the board. He said after the ruling in the ’90s, “I thought this would put it to rest.” Other homeowners and residents brought up the same case.
“Seventeen years ago the Kinderhook Lake Corp. tried this crap and we stopped it,” said John Leach, who brought copies of the deed to his house to show the board.
The KLC, formed in the 1950s, is a not-for-profit that owns the bottom of the lake and the dam. It maintains the dam and the water quality of the lake, and also stocks the lake with fish along with the DEC. The group has received a permit from DEC and the Army Corp of Engineers to put up the gate on Rose Street Ext.
KLC Board President Bill Cleary said that the Town Board had been informed by the state of the permit. “KLC is the sole entity that maintains Kinderhook Lake,” he told the board.
Another KLC board member, Sharon Grubin, said that without the KLC the town would have to take on the expense of maintaining the lake. Ms. Grubin also stressed that the KLC got no funding from the town or the state. Basic membership starts at $125 a year.
“We’re not trying to turn the land off to our residents,” said KLC Vice President Bernie Kelleher. He stressed that the dues of the 114 KLC members pay for maintenance, especially of the dam. He said that about 300 people live on the shores of the lake.
One resident, who spoke during public comment at the beginning of the meeting, said she would donate to the KLC if asked but she didn’t want to be forced to be a member. Another said that the gate the KLC already has at the main boat launch is left open and people who are not members use the launch.
Town Board member Pasty Leader told the group she worried about safety if there is a gate, since Rose Street Ext. is a place where the Niverville Fire Company gets water. She also agreed with residents that the KLC needs to ask for donations. “If you need help, talk to people,” she said.
The board decided to have Town Attorney Andrew Howard review the 1997 DEC ruling and the placement of the poles to see whether the town can make any kind decision on gate. “I’m not sure the town has jurisdiction over it,” said Supervisor Pat Grattan of the poles and the gates.
Mr. Howard said the DEC’s written decision rejecting the gate in 1997 acknowledges that “this is not a clear-cut issue.” He said in ‘90s the poles were on land and now they are in the lake. Mr. Howard said he’d be reviewing the placement of the poles to determine “have they moved far enough and does it matter.”
Regardless of the outcome of this debate, Ms. Sindlinger, the KLC treasurer, said the lake remains open to anyone who uses a kayak or canoe.
The next town board meeting will be Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.
To contact Emilia Teasdale email .