ZBA OKs Wilzig track

TAGHKANIC—The town Zoning Board of Appeals issued a determination this week that Alan Wilzig’s motorcycle track is not a racetrack but a recreational course and therefore is acceptable under town zoning regulations. The decision clears the way for Mr. Wilzig to pave the surface of his track unless opponents of his plans convince a court to prevent that from happening.

   The ZBA voted on the decision Tuesday, May 19, with James Romaine, Tom Kiely and Bob Rochler voting in the affirmative. Moisha Blechman cast the lone negative vote.

   Several board members seemed surprised and favorably influenced by the beauty of Mr. Wilzig’s compound and by Mr. Wilzig’s assurances that the track will not be used for racing.

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Little gallery promises big return for Olana

Olana Associate Curator and co-curator of this inaugural exhibit Valerie Balint conducts a tour of the new gallery on Saturday, May 16. Photo by David Lee.   GREENPORT—The room isn’t large; in fact it was once a guest bedroom, and it requires navigating two narrow stairways in a section of the mansion few visitors have seen. But the roughly 18-foot square room, with its ornate fireplace and majestic view southward down the Hudson Valley looms large in the future of the state historic site at Olana.

   The room is now the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery, named in honor of the parents of Olana Partnership Trustee Richard T. Sharp. It opens to the public this Saturday, May 23, with a show called Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Church’s Views from Olana, a show that includes works by artists other than Church, the renowned 19th century painter and designer, who built the Moorish style home that has become a regional icon for the Hudson River School of art. A preview of the show was offered to trustees and supporters last weekend, and the ribbon on the room was cut Tuesday.

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School district budgets pass

CHATHAM—Voters approved school district budgets around Columbia County Tuesday, with none of the districts reporting contests on the proposals that could be described as close.

   Of the six districts in the county, four reported results to The Columbia Paper Tuesday evening. Results from the Ichabod Crane Central School District were not immediately available, but WTEN Channel 10 in Albany did put up partial results, and WNYT Channel 13 reported on Germantown. The results were as follows:

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Gillibrand headlines Dems’ dinner

Senator Kirsten GillibrandCLAVERACK—Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be the keynote speaker Columbia County Democratic Committee’s second annual Martin Van Buren Dinner Saturday, June 6, at the Columbia Golf and Country Club, 295 Route 217.

   Ms. Gillibrand is a resident of Greenport. She represented the county and the rest of the 20th District in Congress until her surprise appointment to the Senate in January. She reportedly has been traveling the state since her appointment, getting to know statewide issues and meeting constituents and politicians.

   She was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state. But if Ms. Gillibrand wishes to stay in office past 2010, she must run in November of next year to fill the remaining two years of Mrs. Clinton’s term. Ms. Gillibrand can run for a full six-year term of her own in 2012.

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Appellate panel clears Wilzig motorcycle storage, repair space

Alan Wilzig’s “moto museum” features a  brow roof inspired by the Air Sea Rescue building in Tasmania.  Mr. Wilzig says he chose the Cor-ten steel siding, brown metal roof and fieldstone foundation in an effort to have the building blend in with the landscape. Photo contributed. ALBANY—The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court has upheld a trial court decision and dismissed the action brought by the Granger Group against the Taghkanic Zoning Board of Appeals . The decision gives official approval to the three-story structure where Alan Wilzig houses his collection of motorcycles.

   The Granger Group and some individuals had appealed  the decision of the town’s zoning enforcement officer to issue a permit for the construction of the 12,000-square-foot building to house the extensive motorcycle collection of Mr. Wilzig, a wealthy banking heir and town resident.

  Mr. Wilzig is also petitioning the town for permission to pave the mile-long, private motorcycle track he built without a permit starting in 2006, but his opponents have asked the court for a temporary restraining order on that project, and a lawyer for the group challenging the track said last week the order is currently in effect.

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