KINDERHOOK–The Town Board set rental fees for use of the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building at the board meeting last week. Use of space in the building, which is co-owned by the town and Village of Valatie, will remain free for most not-for-profit programs, but a building committee has created fees for commercial groups that want to rent space and for events where not-for-profits charge admission to attend or ask for donations.
At the October 2 meeting, town Supervisor Pat Grattan said the fees will “not affect anybody currently using the building.” He said that the building committee, which he sits on and includes Councilwoman Patsy Leader, Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle and Valatie Trustee Frank Bevens, agreed on the new fees.
The supervisor said the committee based the fees on what the Ichabod Crane Central School District and the Village of Kinderhook charge for using their buildings.
If a not-for-profit organization hosts an event “with donations or admission,” according the fee sheet, the cost will be $5 for an event lasting up to 2 hours, $10 for 3-to-4 hours, and $15 for over 4 hours. For commercial or profit making organizations, the fee is $25 for 2 hours, $50 for 3-to-4 hours, and $100 for over 4 hours.
“It’s very minimal… it just covers us legally,” Mr. Grattan said of the chargers. “The last thing we want to do is charge a not-for-profit,” he said.
The town and village bought the building for $1 from the school district several years ago. The former school now houses the town and village offices, Town Court and a county Sheriff’s Office substation. Local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops meet in the building, the town seniors’ group uses one of the old classrooms for meetings, and the Family Resource Centers of Columbia County hosts a free playgroup for preschoolers and their caregivers in one of the upstairs classrooms two days a week. The gym is used by the CYO basketball club and Little League practices are held there.
“We want to keep this a community center,” said Ms. Leader.
Also at the meeting, the board tabled voting on proposed updates to the town’s solar equipment laws. Town Attorney Andy Howard answered some the board’s questions about creating a solar overlay district, wording the proposed law that would allow the Planning Board to us its discretion to waive some of the requirements and property assessments.
Mr. Howard said he would not recommend creating a solar overlay zoning district. “You’d have to undertake a survey,” he said and pointed out, “We have zones that have never been mapped.”
As for giving the Planning Board discretion to waive some requirements, Mr. Howard said that the Planning Board does that in other zoning issues but it was something the Town Board could change before approving the proposed zoning laws.
During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Bernadette Powis said that the wording the proposed law “sounds like a large loophole,” and asked Mr. Howard how he could support it legally. Mr. Howard said that the proposed zoning laws should guide the Planning Board but “they routinely exercise their discretion” in matters.
In answer to a question about whether the assessed value of a property would increase if a property owner installs solar panels or a large solar farm to make a profit on the panels, Mr. Howard said that the assessment of land can be “locked in” for 10 years. “There would be an increase in taxes but not “for 10 ten years,” he said.
“Let’s table this and just think about it,” Mr. Grattan told the board after the discussion with Mr. Howard.
Also at the meeting:
• The board agreed to interview four companies this month about updating the town’s website. The board received seven bids for the work last month and former board member Peter Bujanow reviewed the bids and suggested the companies the board should interview
• The board opened several bids for a new truck for the Highway Department. Mr. Grattan said he would give the bids to the town highway superintendent
• The board scheduled a public hearing on the cable TV franchise agreement with Charter at the next meeting
• Mr. Grattan said this is working with representatives from the Albany Hudson Electric Trail to come have a public meeting with residents of town about the trail, which will go along National Grid right-of-ways. Mr. Grattan said he plans to send a letter to town residents with property that will be affected by the trail. The meeting is tentatively planned for late November.
The next town board meeting was moved from the first Monday of the month to November 13 at 7 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email