Hillsdale board hears plea for pavement

HILLSDALE–To pave or not to pave is a vexing question that the Hillsdale Town Board is grappling with again. During the public comments portion of the monthly town meeting this week, Wolf Hill Road residents and neighbors Jeanne Kiefer and Mike Kadish sought relief for a situation they described as “an accident waiting to happen.”

The pair described Wolf Hill Road as dangerous, especially the section that intersects with Rodman Road and runs northwest, because it is unpaved, narrow, curvy and hilly. According to Ms. Kiefer, “You can’t see oncoming traffic.” Adding to the danger, there is no posted speed limit on Wolf Hill Road meaning drivers can travel at 55 mph.

Hillsdale has the most unpaved roads of all Columbia County towns. Supervisor Peter Cipkowski noted that many residents “like it that way” because it underscores the rural and agricultural characteristics of the area. Other possible remedies suggested by Ms. Kiefer and Mr. Kadish included a posted speed limit of 35, “like on Whippoorwill Road” or widening the section from Rodman to the end of Wolf Hill road by four feet.

Mr. Kadish noted that “paved roads are cheaper to maintain” and that he would be delighted with a transition from dirt to paved “to not getting a flat tire” from embedded rocks “and not having a dirty car.”

Supervisor Cipkowski updated the Town Board regarding Airbnb and short-term rentals. He said that 20 counties in New York State have arrangements with Airbnb and receive payments from the short-term rental company as part of the arrangements. Mr. Cipkowski said that county government would be reviewing those policies. He described short- term rentals as “an asset. Renters use our restaurants, other businesses and churches. What are we leaving on the table?”

Infrastructure Chair and Councilmember Robina Ward reported that grants would be made available for the purchase of four surveillance cameras and a bullet-proof interior door at the Town Hall. She noted that Hillsdale does not have a “dedicated courtroom”. Mr. Cipkowski admitted that it is alarming “when people are irate about a fine.”

Town Clerk Kathi Doolan added, “We are living in different times.”

Ms. Doolan reported that document shredders are back at Town Hall and will be accessible through the end of September. The shredders can be used by anyone and are no longer restricted to seniors.

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