Chatham grants troopers land for new station

CHATHAM–The Town Board passed a resolution last week to donate land to the state for a State Police station next to the town hall on Route 295.

The motion approved the decision by the town to sign an agreement with the state to give the police the three acres between the Town Hall and the Taconic State Parkway where the State Police plan to build their new station. When the facility is completed, the State Police will move out their current station in New Lebanon.

At a board meeting in April, representatives from the State Police presented the plans for the new station in Chatham. The captain of Troop K at that time, Michael Jankowiak, told the board that this would be the station that the troopers would use to cover all of northern Columbia County. In May, the Town Board entered into a memorandum of understanding with the State Police so that the agency could start surveying land next to Town Hall.

At the September 20 meeting, Supervisor Maria Lull said that the land would need to be subdivided from the rest of the acreage that the town owns at the Town Hall site and that the resolution would be subject to permissive referendum. The state will have to go to the town Zoning Board of Appeals to request approval for the subdivision.

Councilman Bob Balcom asked Supervisor Lull about the disc golf course behind Town Hall being affected by the new station. He said that a couple of the targets, or “holes,” are on the land the town has given to the state. Ms. Lull said the Disc Golf Committee that manages the site knows about the state’s plans.

She also said that the state will be doing archaeological testing on the land. “They are moving along,” she said of the plans to build on the site.

At the same meeting the board also discussed costs to finish construction on the pavilion at Crellin Park. In 2013 the town took down the old pavilion near the pond in the park because it wasn’t graded properly. The old pavilion had bathrooms, a kitchen and changing rooms. A roof was put up at the site but no other work was done to finish the space.

“We really need to do something,” said Councilman John Wapner. He and Councilman Kevin Weldon plan to get cost estimates so the board can see how much the town would need to borrow for the work.

Mr. Wapner said that the town Recreation Commission supported finishing the pavilion. He said there are several things that need to be done around the park but the committee wants the board to “focus on the pavilion and do that right.”

He also said that if the board finishes the pavilion they could expand the recreation program.

“We have to look at some figures,” said Ms. Lull of the costs, later saying that once they have numbers they will figure out “what can we do at this point to meet our needs”

Also at the meeting:

• Town representatives are meeting with a company this week called Host Compliance about software for the town’s Building Department to use for keeping track of and generating the paperwork for short-term rentals. Ms. Lull said that the county is also looking at the company’s software to be used at the county level. Ms. Lull also announced that she was appointed to sit on the county Board of Supervisor’s Occupancy Review Committee, which is looking into the issues with short-term rentals

• The board talked about a new town website. The town has had some technical problems with the current website. Town Clerk Beth Anne Rippel said the new website was ready to go and would be at the same address as the current website at http://chathamnewyork.us

Mr. Weldon said that some people were seeing warnings about viruses and being sent to different sites when looking for information on the town’s website. Ms. Rippel said that the virus issue should be corrected now

• Ms. Lull said the Highway Department and the state Department of Transportation are getting close to finalizing plans to install a traffic light at the Albany Turnpike Bridge in East Chatham. She did not have a date yet for when construction would start but said, “We’re coming very close.”

The next regular Town Board meeting will be Thursday, October 18 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email moc.r1542554686epapa1542554686ibmul1542554686oc@el1542554686adsae1542554686te1542554686

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