Shy of volunteers, G’town seeks expert help with plan

GERMANTOWN–Accompanied by the email urging of resident Kay Abraham, who was unable to attend the May 24 Town Board meeting, the board is moving ahead with organizing a review of the town’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan.

Deputy Supervisor Brittany DuFresne explained that the board’s goal had been to gather a mixed group of volunteers, including business owners and part-time and full-time residents. “It didn’t work out,” said Ms. DuFresne. “Response was lacking.”

Now the board looks to hire a professional planner who would guide a smaller group of volunteers. “The Comp Plan isn’t that old,” Ms. DuFresne said, and the town has a $5,000 matching grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway for a review of the Comprehensive Plan.

Supervisor Joel Craig said after the meeting that both the town engineer, the firm of Greenman Pedersen, Inc., and the engineering firm that wrote the Comprehensive Plan grant, Delaware Engineering, PC, have offered their planning services. In addition, a third firm submitted a proposal to review the Comprehensive Plan, the day before the Town Board meeting.

At the end of May, the town had not yet discussed with these firms the scope of services to be provided, so none of them had offered a cost estimate. Mr. Craig expected that step to happen this month, with the results reported at the June Town Board meeting.

In other business:

• Speaking for the town Parks Commission, Ms. DuFresne reported the gift of more than $10,000 for the town’s Local Waterfront Revival Plan (LWRP) from the Germantown Neighbors Association, a group concerned with town environmental issues, though the group is no longer active. Ms. DuFresne gave special thanks to Dorothy Montague, who founded GNA in the early 2000s. Former councilman Donald Westmore assisted with the transfer; the funds can be used “along the river, the lake—anything that has to do with the waterfront,” said Ms. DuFresne. The town has a $15,000 matching LWRP grant from the state Department of State

• Jeremy Smith asked the status of the climate-change resolution urged by Ellen Jouret-Epstein at the April 26 Town Board meeting and was told that a decision had been postponed in the absence of councilman Matthew Phelan, who “wanted some input” on the decision, said Mr. Craig. The resolution will be taken up at the June board meeting, he said

• The board approved unanimously the Sidewalk Intermunicipal Agreement by which Columbia County will reimburse the town $446,587 for the replacement of the box culvert near the Germantown School

• Sidewalk construction has progressed along Palatine Park Road, Mr. Craig reported, adding that work would start soon on Main Street. County Route 8/Main Street will not be closed until after July 4

• Camp Palatine staff was announced: Linda Gerlach, director; Alex Braidt, site supervisor; Logan Mead and Skylar Jackson, group leaders; Jennifer Sutera, Elizabeth Choinsky, Tyler Fuchs, Jonathan Randazzo, Emma Muirhead, Hunter Jackson, Kylie Eaton, Austin Arsenault and Colin Lynk, counselors; and Leah Foster, Emily Nack and Bryan Bathrick, counselors-in-training. Sign-up for Camp Palatine takes place on two Saturdays, June 4 and June 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Hall

• The town’s 19th annual River Sweep-a three-hour effort May 7 along the town’s waterfronts–picked up 820 pounds of garbage, much of it bottles and cans, and four tires. Martin Overington, who organizes the sweep, thanked the 20 volunteers, from Cub Scouts to senior citizens. For safety, the Cub Scouts focused on Palatine Park, he noted, not the railroad tracks. Mr. Overington and the Town Board thanked each other and ended with a plea to those who use the town’s parks to respect the parks and pick up their trash

• The board congratulated Rowan DuBois upon achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Rowan’s Eagle Scout project was constructing a greenhouse at the Germantown School

• The next Town Board meeting has been changed to Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. The board’s quarterly workshop is Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m.

All board members except Mr. Phelan and about a dozen residents attended the May 24 meeting.

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