No tenting tonight on G’town’s shores

GERMANTOWN—“Backyard” campers are trying to move in to Cheviot Landing. The landing, at the bottom of a steep hill leading to the Hudson River, is described on the town’s website as an access point for boaters and fishing fans. Like all of the town’s parks, it is closed between sunset and sunrise. It has no toilet facilities or running water.

It is not a campground.

Nevertheless, resident Jo Hill reported to the Town Board Monday that on five weekends this summer, Cheviot hosted campers. They pitched tents and made campfires only a few hundred yards from residents’ homes.
Asked by board members if she had a description, Ms. Hill said that one group was a family, with two children and a dog. They were ticketed for not having fishing licenses, she said. Another time, she said, the campers were a group of men.
The town was aware of the trespass. Supervisor Joel Craig said he had met with county Sheriff David Bartlett last month and asked him to send patrols. He also talked to a state trooper who patrols the town.
The town purchased and posted signs stating the rules and hours of Cheviot Landing. The signs were stolen within hours after they were put up.
Ms. Hill acknowledged that over the previous weekend she had seen a sheriff’s vehicle cruise past Cheviot at dusk on two evenings, and any potential overnight campers had departed. She asked that the town find a way to control the illegal camping before “we start expanding our waterfront visibility. People were spending the night there with children. It wasn’t even safe for them.”
She also wondered whom to call if she heard or saw campers again. The board advised that calling 911 would bring the closest police vehicle, state or county. “Or call me, any time,” said Councilman Donald Westmore, who also lives near Cheviot Landing.
Janet Crawford, the town’s administrative assistant, noted that the town had just paid for the stolen
signs. New signs will be ordered.
In other business at Monday’s town board meeting:
•The board, with barely a quorum (Councilmen Westmore and Matthew Phelan, Supervisor Craig), approved borrowing through bonds for the sidewalk project; $1.9 million in serial bonds will be issued, 48% of which will be reimbursed by the federal government, 24% by the county government. The town’s share of the project is $535,000. The interest rate is set by whichever agency funds the bond
•The board received pounds of paper from Delaware Engineering: a copy of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), submitted in July, for planning for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, and summaries of two additional applications, one for seed money from the Hudson River Valley Greenway Grant Program, to update the Comprehensive Plan, and one to the Hudson River Improvement Fund, which would augment the CFA already filed. The new applications have deadlines, respectively, of September 4 and September 21, so the three board members quickly authorized Delaware to prepare the paperwork
•Also received were copies of the preliminary engineering report for improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. That paperwork for the state Environmental Facilities Corp. is also due
September 4. This report moves the town’s wastewater treatment plant onto an annual list, where applicants are ranked and scored. Delaware developed three alternatives for improvements at the treatment plant, with funding options and impact on debt service. The report does not address capacity, since the town’s system is rated for 100,000 gallons a day and processes 40,000 gallons per day. Nor was an expanded footprint for the service area within the scope of the report. The plant functions well, but its equipment needs to be replaced
•Reporting for the Police Department, Commissioner Roger Rekow said that a lot of parking warnings had been given out in July. “Folks are being careless, such as parking in private driveways,” he said
•Mr. Craig listed several upcoming events in town: Saturday, August 29, “Exploring the Habitats of Columbia County” begins with a talk at the Germantown library and continues with a walk to the Keep Conservation Preserve, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the 9/11 memorial service begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 11 at the town’s 9/11 memorial; the Hudson Valley Apple Festival is Saturday, September 19, and the second Germantown Jazz Concert is Sunday, September 20 in Palatine Park, rain or shine. October 6 and 7 are Palatine Heritage Days, presented by the town’s History Department for the Germantown Central School District
•Mr. Westmore added that on Saturday, September 5 Germantown participates in the Hudson River
Ramble with a kayak paddle, which leaves Cheviot ans goes south to the Saugerties lighthouse. After lunch in Saugerties, the kayakers return, for a total trip of four to five hours. A light rain won’t stop them.
Board members Andrea Foley and Michael Mortenson missed the one-hour meeting. Attendees included four residents. The board holds a workshop meeting Monday, September 14 at 7 p.m. Its regular meeting in September is the third Monday, September 21, at 7 p.m

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