G’town board promises new vote on nixed plan

GERMANTOWN—The November 21 Town Board meeting was notable for what it didn’t do. With the full board present, a vote to approve the Comprehensive Plan update went down by 4 to 1.

Supervisor Joel Craig was the only member who voted aye. Board members Ron Moore II and Brittany DuFresne voted against, saying they needed more time to review the update. Board members Andrea Foley and John Kukon were willing to give their colleagues that time, so they voted against approval also.

When Mr. Moore said before the vote that he was “not prepared to move forward as yet,” Mr. Craig pointed out that the draft update had been on the town website “for several months” and that two public hearings had been held on the plan.

Mr. Moore said he had nothing specific against the plan, he just wasn’t ready to vote it up or down.

“It’s a giant document,” Ms. DuFresne said of the 100-page document. “We want to be sure it will work for the next five to seven years.”

After the vote, Ms. Foley asked for a time frame. “We can bring it up again next month,” said Mr. Craig.

“I’ll have my list by then,” said Ms. DuFresne.

After the meeting Mr. Craig said he had been given a “heads-up” about how the vote might go, so it was not a surprise.

Norman Mintz, who chaired the Comprehensive Plan Committee, said in an email November 27, “Considering that there is a lot to digest in the latest Comp Plan, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for taking a while to decide. But they certainly should adopt it at the next meeting.”

Ellen Jouret-Epstein, who spoke in favor of the plan at the last public hearing, said, “I’m very chagrined, particularly as the Town Board was represented on the committee [by Mr. Kukon].

“The board has had plenty of time to digest the plan and no opposition has been voiced up until now,” she continued in a November 27 email. “Putting the best face on this, perhaps the board acted out of deference to the new board, as they will have to implement the plan. It sounds like that reasoning was not articulated, however. So this leaves us unsettled and is disrespectful to the efforts of the Comp Plan Committee.”

Despite the split vote, the most impassioned part of the November 21 board meeting came when Ms. Foley urged anyone who could, to donate blood during the blood drive scheduled for Saturday, December 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Kellner Community Activities Building on Palatine Park Road.

“They’re really good with first-timers,” Ms. Foley reassured the audience of about 20. “If you need me to, I’ll come and hold your hand.

“The military is buying blood,” said Ms. Foley, a former service member. Military personnel are not eligible to give blood, she said, for a variety of health and travel reasons.

In other business:

• Mr. Craig announced the resignation of Tax Collector Janice Mullins. She had just run for the position, unopposed. “The new board will appoint a tax collector to fill the position until the next election,” Mr. Craig wrote in an email after the meeting

• The board authorized the Bank of Greene County as a collection point for town taxes; this approval is unrelated to the need for a tax collector

• Ms. DuFresne announced that the annual holiday event would be “back in town this year,” with no activities at the Kellner building. “We’re looking at Saturday, December 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. with hopes of closing the road from 4 to 6 p.m. when Santa is there,” at the GTel building. Businesses are encouraged to stay open late, and plans include a movie in a barn and horse and carriage rides

• The board ratified the UPSEU Collective Bargaining Agreement; Highway Department employees, who are covered by this agreement, had approved it

• During the public comment period, Martin Overington thanked the outgoing board members (Mr. Craig and Ms. Foley) for their service, and the board thanked him for his volunteer work for the town. “You always find the light,” said Ms. Foley. “You put your money where your mouth is”

• Also during public comment, resident Genette Picicci Oehlke repeated her advocacy of “some form of regulation which allows landowners to utilize their property to host a small number of for-profit events a year.” The board had no comment.

The next board meeting is Tuesday, December 19 at 7 p.m.

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