AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 24TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2004, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT;
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Richard Pollock; Lieut. John Lubrant; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; and Paul Sebesta, Comptroller.
Public Hearing No. 1 – Proposes formation of Drainage District No. 20 for Cedar Hills off Becker Street.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the Public Hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2 – Application for Community Development Grant Funds
Councilman Chapman stated that this is Housing & Urban Development funds administered by the Governor’s Office of Small Cities. Needs are reviewed such as housing, the creation of job opportunities and to help local facility needs such as water and sewer. $55 million is available, 40% for housing, 30% for economic development, 25% for public facilities with a maximum award of $400,000. Applicants must resolve specific community development needs within one of three areas – housing, public facilities, or a micro-enterprise.
Housing grants could be for new construction, direct home ownership assistance or private water and waste water system assistance. Public facilities could be water source, storage and distribution, waste water collection, flood control and storm drainage, sidewalks, streets, and open space. It could address special needs populations such as seniors, childcare centers, healthcare centers, and removing structural barriers for the disabled. Micro-enterprise is defined as a business with five or fewer employees. There has to be opportunities for citizen involvement and the Town must hold two public hearings.
The grants are competitive and grant reviewers look at the proportion of low-to- moderate-income residents and what the impact of the program would be to the Town. They look to see if the need is recent, whether there are safety concerns, whether the proposed solution has long-term viability, and a demonstration of sources of funding to sustain projects.
Supervisor Smith received correspondence from the John Zenner household, 205 Stanford Avenue, who requested funds for the Stanford-Filmore sewer project. Richard Keller of 541 Fillmore Avenue also requested consideration for grant funds for the sewer laterals that are required for this project.
Craig Kruskey, 350 Stanford Avenue, felt it would be a great idea to apply for this grant for the Stanford-Filmore sewer project. Many seniors and low income families live in this area who live on fixed incomes who could use the assistance to hook up the Town sewers and backfill their septic systems once this proposed sewer district is on line.
Brian Plath, 209 Stafford Avenue, agrees that this project would be great for the residents of this neighborhood. The cost will be $4,000 and $5,000 to hook up to the new sewer system.
When no other members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the Regular meeting of January 20, 2004 and February 3, 2004, and the Special Meeting of January 27, 2004 were approved as presented.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Ed Worley, Commissioner of Niskayuna Fire District No. 1 and Chairman of the Board of the fire district remarked that they have been trying to get ambulance billing through New York State since 1991 to no avail. The Town Board in the past has supported this and they again ask the Board for a resolution in support.
They request home rule legislation that will allow the fire district to recover revenue for providing ambulance service. It would provide immediate relief to taxpayers in Fire District No. 1 who currently support this service through their property taxes. Taxes pay for treatment and transport of district residents; they also pay for non-residents because of the billing restriction found in Section 209B of the general municipal law.
They seek relief from what they feel is a restriction that poses unfair tax burdens on our taxpayers. 209B gives authority for the fire department and fire districts with rescue squads mainly made of volunteers to provide ambulance service but it prohibits billing. The department is made up of 12 career paramedic firefighters and 40 volunteers. Some are EMT’s and some are paramedics. All of the fire departments with paid firefighters are governed by Section 122B of the General Municipal Law which allows billing. Because fire districts are only mentioned in 209B they are subject to the non-billing provision even though they operate their ambulance service with paid personnel. In essence the law is specifically designed to prohibit volunteer rescue ambulance
squads from billing. It is hurting the taxpayers because the law specifically prohibits volunteer rescue ambulance squads from billing.
It is their desire that legislation be introduced to add Fire District No. 1 to Section 122B of the GML. They cannot bill Medicaid or Medicare, no-fault or HMO’s and is losing between $30,000 and $40,000 per month in revenue that would offset the operating cost of the fire district. They ask for Home Rule confined to District 1 in Niskayuna and Senator Farley and Assemblymen Tonko have asked for a resolution from the Town Board before they go forward. The Assembly has no problem with the concept and the Town needs to get Senator Farley’s to support to help push it through the Senate.
Kevin Baxter, 26 Lori Drive, presented an open letter to the Town Board on behalf of the 80 residents of Lori Meadows and residents who signed the letter. The letter asked that the Planning Board seek alternatives to the proposed cu-through to Lori Drive that could meet the needs of the Planning Board, the developer, and the residents of Lori Meadows. They realize that the Town Board does not have direct jurisdiction in the issues raised in the letter, but they wanted to bring to the Board’s attention the uphill battle they feel they are fighting against the Planning Board.
The residents would like the Planning Board to consider alternatives directly connecting the eastern end of the proposed Cerrone-Paulson development with the cul-de-sac of Lori Drive. The proposed roadway will be used as a cut-through for vehicles traveling between Lishakill Road and points east on Route 7. The dramatic increase in traffic due to this cut through will destroy the quality of the Lori Meadows neighborhood. They asked the Planning Board to properly exercise their oversight responsibilities for real estate development in Niskayuna and implement a solution that will benefit all parties. One option they propose is placing a neighborhood park in lands that connect Lori Meadows neighborhood with the new neighborhood off Lishakill Road. The
park will provide emergency access to each of the neighborhoods, maintain the quality of both neighborhoods, and provides a safe place for children.
The second option is to leave a temporary cul-de-sac at the end of the Cerrone Paulson development. The proper layout of the housing lots can position Lishakill development to have multiple access to it as remaining lands around it is developed in future years. A bike path or emergency access can be placed between the two neighborhoods.
Residents do not understand why the Planning Board has such a strong unwavering desire to push this cut-through to completion.
The residents feel there is no reason why Lori Drive should not remain a cul-de-sac. The draft Comprehensive Plan addresses the overall policy of advocating connecting streets and minimizing cul-de-sacs but does not say that they cannot occur. Several cul-de-sacs have recently been approved that are longer than Lori Drive. They have asked the Planning Board to make this development a temporary cul-de-sac which is provided for in the Town Code. The area along Lishakill Road is a prime area for future development. It is only a matter of time before lands to the north of this subdivision are developed providing an alternate outlet street to Lishakill.
There will be a significant increase in traffic to Lori Drive. A cut through will provide a straight path for persons traveling east on Route 7 and south on Lishakill. The Code states that local streets will be laid out such that their use by through traffic will be discouraged. The developer is proposing a very narrow strip of land at a ninety degree angle off Lishakill Road then makes a hard left and then connects with Lori Drive. This is just enough room for lots on each side and thus there are no options for providing alternate access roads
If there is a cut through from Lishakill, a significant percentage of traffic will be making lefts onto Lori Drive and making right hand turns off of Lishakill Road to get to Route 7 to avoid the windy Lishakill Road and the traffic light. The draft Comprehensive Plan states that the Planning Board had previously recommended that the Town plan for a road that would provide additional access to parcels along the eastern side of Lishakill Road permitting subdivision of the rear portions of larger lots found there. To develop these lots an access road is needed but the Cerrone Paulson road itself provides this access. Connecting this road the additional 30-40’ into Lori Drive provides no greater access into the area off the east of Lishakill.
The residents of Lori Drive propose the following two solutions to the cut-through.
Creation of a neighborhood park. The draft Comprehensive Plan states that investigation may be warranted into development of smaller neighborhood parks to serve the population within the substantial area south of Route 7 and adjacent to State Street. The Town Code sets out requirements for parkland. In terms of representation of town parks in this area they have next to nothing. The closest park is on River Road that is less than 3 acres and represents less than 2% of town parkland. A neighborhood park in this area would be used by the children of Lori Meadows and new developments in the future.
Town Code would allow the waiver of parkland and receipt of funds from the developer instead. As a second option they ask that the Cerrone Paulson development remain a temporary cul-de-sac and that the Town take the land in between and create a bike path or some other type of emergency access road. This would allow the developer to maximum the lots in the subdivision, position a road for future extension back to Lishakill Road on property north of the development, and maintain the integrity and safety of the Lori Meadows neighborhood.
Residents of Lori Meadows request that the Town Planning Board fairly represent the people of the Town of Niskayuna and make decisions related to this issue based not on what is best for the developer but for what is best for the residents of the area immediately around it.
They understand that the Town Board cannot tell the Planning Board what to do but they ask for their assistance and recommendations. They recommended that the Town Board have a resolution to recommend to the Planning Board that they do not make this cut through. He asked that the Parkland Committee recommend that the Planning Board ask for parkland from the developer as opposed to taking a money donation.
John Macri, 54 Lori Drive, read from the draft copy of the Comprehensive Plan regarding parkland. He read Subpart D regarding the “waiver of plot design for parks and playgrounds,” indicating that in some circumstances the Board may waive the requirements. He questioned how the Planning Board could believe the land is not suitable for a town park yet it is suitable to build homes on. The area contains 6-1/2 acres of heavily wooded land that would make a fine park.
Mr. Macri also stated that he feels that if the cul-de-sac is changed to a cut through street it will negatively affect his property values. He believes that the Town has a problem with making the Paulson development a cul-de-sac because of the length. It is currently 1900’ in length; therefore, 190’ needs to be committed to parkland, leaving 1,700’. He noted that Middle Street is 2,059’, Whitmyer 1,954’, Covington Court 1,426’, Winnie Road 1,320, Fox Hill Road 1,003’, Bobby Court 950’, Deanna Court 792’, and Kimberly Court 581’. He is aware some of these were built before the resolution of the 500’ maximum but a lot of them were also built after. He feels it is well within the Town Board’s ability to recommend a longer cul-de-sac than 500’.
Pat Smith, 31 Lori Drive, asked the Board if they would answer some questions. The Planning Board used the term “connectivity” that he was not familiar with. It was stated that it was the desire of some Planning Board members that neighborhoods be connected. Mr. Smith felt there were a lot of ways to do this with the development in question.
Mr. Paulson has proposed putting through a connector street to the Lori Drive cul-de-sac. He denies that this was his intention but it was someone from the Town that offered the connecting street and said he had to do it as opposed as him wanting to do it.
In 1993, the Town Board evaluated a paper street at the end of Lori Drive and decided that it would be removed, and, according to former Supervisor Ed Reilly, it was removed from the official town maps. Therefore, there is no paper street, no stub street; it is a cul-de-sac dead end. He wondered if it took an action of the Town Board in 1993 to remove this paper street from the town map, how is the Planning Board arbitrarily able to add it back in without a motion or decision by the Town Board?
Supervisor Smith corrected Mr. Smith and stated that there was no action by the Town Board that specifically voted to omit this street on the official map. The Planning Board did not put the dotted line on the map.
Councilwoman Kasper stated that in 1993 this paper street was proposed to be kept on the map. She objected and accomplished separating this street from a list of roads to be accepted. The Board only approved the list of acceptable streets that were already paved. The Board said they were not in favor of a paper street and it did not appear again on the map. By saying they didn’t accept it for all intents and purposes in all good faith she felt the Board was saying it was not on the map anymore. All the maps printed did not include it. She thought they were “home free” and thought this was done. In defense of whether there is a paper street or not, when a developer comes in, he can put streets where he wants because it’s raw land. The Planning Board then decides if that is
the way they want the streets. She thought they took this street off, but the developer could come in submit his plan and then it is up to the Planning Board to accept the street or not.
Supervisor Smith stated that there is raw land in Town with no paper streets. That doesn’t mean they can’t put streets on it. You don’t need to have a paper street.
For raw property, Mr. Smith wondered if the Planning Board can create a street where there was none or does it require the Town Board’s action to accept it as a street? If it required Town Board action to create it as a street before, he didn’t understand how it doesn’t require the Town Board now to accept it as one of the streets for the Town.
Councilwoman Kasper stated the Planning Board can accept this street in the plan apart from Town Board input. The Town Board accepts the street after the houses are built and the road inspected and paved. If the street is built to town code the Town Board must accept the street. The Planning Board has a lot of power. Unless there is something that needs Town Board action, this project is not coming to the Town Board until it’s to accept the water, sewer, and streets.
Supervisor Smith stated that they did talk to the Planning Board to give some explanation, but they would like to hear what the public has to say. He was at fault in getting into a dialogue to correct any mistakes so that everyone is clear but the Board can’t get into a dialogue at this time. He did not want suspicion that something is happening. He wanted to hear from the public.
Mr. Smith felt this was “putting the cart before the horse”. He would think that the Town Board would have to accept the position of the roadway and then once it is accepted that the roadway can go through the Highway Superintendent would inspect to make sure it was done according to code. This gives the impression that the residents can complain all they want but an appointed Board, serving by appointment of the Town Board, has the authority (without any input from the taxpayers) be able to tell the public they are getting a road one way or another.
Supervisor Smith stated it is not without input from the taxpayer. The Town
Ordinances, Comprehensive Plan, and Master Plan are developed by elected officials and voted on. The Planning Board members are not free agents.
Mr. Smith stated that everything they have read about the sketch plan is in violation of the code, yet they were put in for a specific reason to make the loop over to Lori Drive. Supervisor Smith answered that the Planning Board would be reviewing the sketch plan and determine what will be the final plat plan. The Planning Board is looking at the first draft. The SEQR, traffic studies, soil test, drainage, and utilities must still be looked by the Planning Board to see what will happen with the project.
Mr. Smith expressed his displeasure that this project is going ahead. Whether it is going ahead according to the Comprehensive Plan or not will be up to a later decision, but they feel at this point in time, it is enough to ask a few questions of the elected officials. Their first impression was that this would be done and that they would be able to state their objections to it but that the Planning Commission would be the ultimate decision maker of the entire matter. They felt that the elected officials should be the people that have the final say as to whether or not this project goes ahead.
Eric Dickson, Town Attorney, interjected that this is not what the State law says. Residents have been quoting the Town Code. The Town Code is a reiteration of what we find in state law. Under state law the Planning Board is an independent board appointed by the Town Board. The Official Map of the Town is the province of the Town Board, but the consequences of this is very limiting. If the Town Board puts a paper street on the town map, the Planning Board is constrained to do any subdivision or lay out any streets that are at a variance with that paper street. That is not to say, however, if the Town Board does not lay out a paper street that the Planning Board can do what they want on that vacant land. The constraint only runs one way.
If the Town Board saw that they wanted a street to go in a particular area of the Town (for example in the northeast section of the Town where they have laid out a paper street), the Planning Board when subdividing has to pay attention to what the Town Board did when they make a proposed street. However, in the absence of a paper street, the Planning Board is free to lay out streets as they see fit in the context of a subdivision application.
Councilman Chapman stated that there was a recommendation that came from the Planning Board on December 14, 1992 and by memo of February 23, 1993 recommending that certain streets be added to the Town official map one of which was “additional future connection between Lori Drive and Lishakill Road in south central Niskayuna as a proposed street to reflect Town planning.” They called for a public hearing on March 2 which failed to get a majority vote because of a discussion about Lori Drive. On April 6 there was a majority decision to schedule a public hearing held on the April 20, 1993. A number of people spoke against the paper street connection and the Town Board in approving subsequent versions of the Town map did not include that paper street. Since 1993 up to
the current date, across several different administrations, the paper street has never been added to the Town map. In his mind, it is an indication of the intent of the Town Board that we did not want to see that paper street connection on the official map. It was presented by the Planning Board and the Town Board said no.
Charene Tate, 78 Lori Drive, expressed her concern about the February 9th Planning Board meeting and how things are handled. She felt that the way the Privilege of the Floor opened with Mr. Muccigrosso’s statement was disappointing. As a senior representative of the Planning Board Mr. Muccigrosso had a responsibility to be impartial and open to the concerns of the residents and taxpayers. By taking such a negative position from the start, they have to doubt that Mr. M could fairly heed their concerns or appreciate the problems that the new development will cause for the residents in the nearby communities. It further makes the Planning Board appear biased and in favor of the development and closed minded toward alternative approaches. She finds it
ironic that Mr. Muccigrosso who disparages cul-de-sacs, lives on a 686’ cul-de-sac.
She has been told “buyer beware” that they should have known when they purchased a home on Lori Drive with open lots. When she purchased in 1997 she was told by the family who owned the land that they were going to build their own home. She never thought even if there was a development that it would ever become a public road connecting a state road and county road. The “buyer beware” “should have done your homework” argument is very upsetting to her.
She inquired about the terms of office for Planning Board members that are seven year terms. She feels it is good to have a fresh perspective and look on planning issues. There are members of the Board that have been on for many years and who may have a certain point of view that is in favor of getting rid of the cul-de-sac. It is clear that Mr. Muccigrosso would like the road to go through.
Although the Town Board will not have a say in this, they will all be impacted by the decision of the Planning Board. She will make her voice heard in November when elections come up. She knows that it is the Town Board that let the whole thing go through and they have elected the Town Board to serve their best interest. It is human nature to hold the Town Board responsible because residents can’t do anything to the Planning Board.
Debbie Baxter, 26 Lori Drive, stated that this is new to her and most of the neighbors and she asked for help in understanding what is going on. A few members of the Planning Board indicated that they did not see using Lori Drive as a cut-through. The Planning Board has stated that they want to make this cu- through from Lishakill to Route 7 was diffusion of traffic and the continuity of connectivity. She questioned how a road would not be considered a cut-through if it is going to be a road for diffusion of traffic.
Supervisor Smith stated that it will be a cu- through.
Ms. Baxter was concerned that the Planning Board has to please and answer to the residents, the developer, the Code, and the master plan. She thinks they need to weigh diffusion from neighboring towns, but also need to look at the integrity of small neighborhoods that must be maintained. For her the decision is not that hard because diffusion of traffic through a small neighborhood is the wrong thing to do. Why would we want to make it easier for outsiders to fly through our Town? Why not maintain the integrity of a neighborhood that is established? Let the developer develop his cul-de-sac without a cut through that would destroy the neighborhood.
Ms. Baxter was advised by the Citizens Environment Coalition that a full environment impact statement should be requested rather than a SEQR. Supervisor Smith stated that Niskayuna Planning Board and Niskayuna Conservation Advisory Council determine whether or not a full environment impact study (EIS) is called for. Attorney Dickson explained that SEQR is a process. A full environmental impact statement is part of SEQR and a short form is part of SEQR. SEQR is the name of a state law. The EIS contains more detail and public hearings. The residents are looking for help or advice from the Town Board to stop the cu-through.
The history of the street has been awful as far as believing they lived on a cul-de-sac. Residents thought they won with the 1993 action then upon hearing the owners of property were building a house made them feel safe again. It is disheartening that they could be so deceived all these years. Residents thought they were buying safe places for their kids to live and that is not the case. They feel they have bought into a lie and it is disturbing.
Tracey Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, hoped that the Town Board was available to assist the residents in their discussions with the Planning Board regarding alternatives to the access road currently proposed between Lishakll and Lori Drive. They have addressed the Planning Board’s concerns regarding safety, the ability of children to access adjacent neighborhoods, and provided alternative solutions that will allow them to construct a temporary cul-de-sac in the new subdivision that will later allow them to construct a second access to Lishakill. She is concerned that the Planning Board has a history of wanting this access road. Comments have been made in the press by the Planning Board stating that “in 1993 they wanted this road and the Town Board stopped it. This time the Town Board is not
involved.” She interprets this that the Town Board was in their way in 1993 but no one is in their way now. She wants to know that the options they provided are being listened to seriously and asked if the Town Board was available to assist them in their future conversations with the Planning Board.
When she purchased her home on Lori Drive, she visited the Planning Office and reviewed her lot. She looked at the official town map, and the zoning map and both indicated that Lori is a cul-de-sac. They have evidence that the builder marketed the land and homes as a cul-de-sac and asked why there was a stub road extending from Douglas towards the school. She assumed it was to indicate a future road and asked for an explanation as to why there was no stub road off of the Lori cul-de-sac.
She is very concerned that the Zoning and Planning Board are advocating and an environment of “buyer beware.” She viewed maps showing a stub road off of Douglas and not Lori and questioned why she would believe that there was a need to perform additional homework. Lori Meadows is a subdivision that since 1990 has enjoyed and become an environment of no through traffic. The Planning Board states that this access road is required to diffuse traffic and then states that there will be minimal impact to the traffic flow. How could this be true? The residents of Lori have in many cases paid a premium to live in an environment of no through traffic. They need the help of the Town Board and requested that the Board assist them in their fight to save Lori Drive.
Wallace Krowitsky, 9 Walnut Lane East, Colonie, President of the Birchwood Neighborhood Association, stated that it appears the Planning Board has more power than the public realized and suggested the Planning Board should be elected and given term limits. He understood it is very difficult to make decisions on behalf of residents and the developer. The asked the Board to look carefully at eliminating cul-de-sacs because they are an asset to the Town. Property values on cul-de-sacs are higher than other streets that are cut through’s which means more tax dollars. He described pressure on area roads with increased number of residents and understood the pressure on the Town Board to connect roads for ease in moving traffic. He felt that connecting neighborhoods must be done on
an individual basis and it should not be done when it provides a clear cut from one major road to another. This will destroy the tranquility and value of the neighborhoods.
He felt it was important for residents to be informed early on about projects that will impact them. There must be a way to inform residents earlier so that items can be resolved before it gets to an explosive state which happens at Planning Board meetings. Residents believe that when a project gets to a “conceptual plan” that it is a “done deal.” He believes what happens in Colonie effects Niskayuna and vice versa.
The decision of 1993 sounded like they had taken the connection off of the map, yet they are being told that the Planning Board can approve this street. Early communication of all parties involved would help. SEQR describes environmental impacts of air, water, and noise and also describes community impacts. He felt that “connecting Lori Drive to the new development will kill this community.”
Mike Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, understands that a lot of their concerns will be dealt with at the Planning Board but it is his hope that with the Town Board’s experience they can assist them in what they need to do.
In 1993 residents of Lori Meadows opposed the connecting street. It is unclear now how the road is able to come back. Now in 2004 the residents are again faced with connecting Lori Drive with Lishakill Road. If the concerns of the residents in 1993 had any effect the concerns are even greater now. In 1993 it was a young neighborhood and now it is established. They are concerned about increased traffic; Route 7 is much busier and will get busier. Water runoff is a concern on Douglas, Heather Court, and Lishakill Road. The neighbors are not opposed to the development but feel a connecting street will harm the new development as much as it will the established development. There are options that should be considered such as a park or emergency
connection such as a crash gate that was proposed by the fire chief of District 2. Other lands will become available to make connecting streets back to Lishakill. They are asking the Town Boards help to not allow Lori Meadows to become a place where children and pedestrians can no longer enjoy the established environment that they have grown accustomed to and expect.
Bob Sweeney, 82 Lori Drive, was told by the Supervisor that the previous Comprehensive Plan was not adopted by the Town Board; however, the 2004 Plan will be voted on by the Town Board. This is a result of changing in State Law where before Planning Board adopted Master Plans, and it is now a requirement that Town Boards adopt the plan. Mr. Sweeney understood that the Town had asked the developer for the connector and he recommended that the Supervisor ask the developer who had suggested it.
Supervisor Smith stated that Mr. Paulson had submitted his plan without direction from the Town. Mr. Sweeney wondered why the plan wasn’t made into a loop around Lishakill and why it wasn’t made into cul-de-sacs where he could get a premium price for his lots. Supervisor Smith stated that the developer had submitted a plan that is being reviewed by the Town Planning Board. No one told him to submit it the way it was submitted. The subdivision regulations recommend 500’ cul-de-sacs. He has no property in which to loop it around. He built it so he would cut through. There was a correction in the newspaper regarding information that someone told him to put in the cut-through. The reporter indicated that this was incorrect and corrected this. No one that the Supervisor
knows of (and he would love to know who it is) told the developer. Mr. Smith thanked Bill Chapman for identifying the process that is going on and thanked Liz Kasper for ten years of her zest to keep Lori Drive a cul-de-sac. He felt that the other board members were very intent taking notes, and stated that the Supervisor had not made a decision or told his opinion on this issue.
Supervisor Smith stated that the Town Planning Board believes in connecting these roads for diffusion and he agrees conceptually that it is a good planning concept. He further stated that Brookshire and Avon Crest Boulevard were becoming cut-through’s due to Mohawk Commons. The purpose of diffusion is to not destroy those neighborhoods but to allow as many different routes for traffic so that not any one area is impacted. It has been mentioned that Windsor Drive is a speedway and the logical suggestion of this is that we should not have had these streets. The reality is that if we didn’t have a cut-through at Avon Crest (that happened after residents were on this street), we would all be sitting on Balltown Road and Troy Road and residents would not be able to exit Lori Drive if there weren’t
different avenues for people to access various parts of the Town. For this purpose, he agrees in the concept of diffusion and connectivity.
Tracey Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, asked if Avon Crest Boulevard and Brookshire have stub roads indicating to the people who were purchasing property that there would be connecting roads.
Mary Singer, 953 Douglas Court, pointed out a drainage issue she is encountering on her property from Douglas Court to Lishakill Road. She told of farm land that currently cannot be used for gardens because of the drainage issue on Liskakill Road. The woods were wet the entire summer of 2003 and the problem has progressed yearly. She asked the Board to be careful about adding to the drainage problem. If there were a park at the top of Lori Drive this would be more area where there wouldn’t be a problem with impermeability where rain and runoff could soak into the ground. If this is paved over, there could be a 16 fold increase in the amount of rain water flooding.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, stated that the appointments made on January 4, 2004 were not reflected on the Town’s web site as of yet. She supports the resolution to give the Town the option to give the fire department the ability to bill for their services. She thinks the fire department and the tax payers deserve to be reimbursed.
John Macri , 54 Lori Drive, stated that Lori Drive is a cut-through street, it has been established that a substantial amount of traffic is coming to be coming from Colonie. Accidents will have to be served by the Niskayuna fire department at taxpayer expense.
Kevin Baxter, 26 Lori Drive, suggested that Lishakill Road be widened. The proper planning for traffic flow should be to keep the main traffic on the main roads not running traffic down quiet neighborhoods. His solution is to fix Lishakill Road, get rid of some of the sharp turns, and make it more of a road that people will choose and not direct traffic down their neighborhood.
Linda LaFabvre, 86 Lori Drive, was told by Supervisor Smith that although he conceptually believes in connectivity, Lori Drive specifically is under review by the Planning Board who will be looking at traffic studies.
Supervisor Smith stated that he has heard that the Town of Niskayuna is a great Town, but that perhaps the Planning Board should be elected. He felt that the Planning Board has created Niskayuna and has diffused traffic throughout the Town. The concept of diffusion is a good one in planning. The project in question tonight has to be reviewed to see what is in the best interest of the neighborhood, the project, the traffic, and the environment. As Town Supervisor, he is responsible for representing all of the residents of the Town of Niskayuna.
Wallace Krowitsky, 9 Walnut Lane, Colonie, said it was a great idea that people can speak on whatever they want to during Privilege of the Floor. He is concerned that sometimes a project will be reported on after Privilege of the Floor and residents will have questions that must go unanswered because it is beyond time for residents to speak. He asked if a second Privilege of the Floor could be allowed as a chance for residents to share their ideas and ask their questions.
Supervisor Smith responded that the Town Board can suggest that the Planning Board review their process. They understand that many times Planning Boards and Town Boards understand the process and they talk in shorthand. Residents who went to both Planning Board meetings will agree that at the last meeting there was a lot more information given. He can make this suggestion to the Planning Board that while a project is being discussed perhaps at least questions could be answered.
Councilwoman Kasper commented that she is frustrated that the Planning Board never comes to the Parks Committee Meetings. Only after they have looked at projects and made recommendations whether it be parkland or park fees does the Town Board hear about it unless they are involved in the Planning process. She made the “lieu of money” option larger because a lot of neighborhoods lost their parks such as Forest Oaks. Now that the concept of a Lori Drive park has been made public, it will become part of the Parks Committee discussion. At this early decision time the Committee may need to make their recommendations rather than becoming involved at the end of the process.
The ‘cart before the horse” has been tradition, procedure, state law, and the appointed planning committee. It is frustrating for residents and the Town Board to hear decisions at the end of the process regarding whether to take parkland or fees. As head of Parks and Recreation, she will discuss this and will do what the Parks Committee thinks is the best in recommending to the Planning Board. Her job as an elected official is to protect current residents, then maybe the future residents. The residents who live here now are her domain because she has been elected by them to represent them.
Councilman Chapman stated that he was not speaking out of intent to commit anyone else on the Board to indicate a position. Regarding this project he recommended that staying active is very important for the residents, and to continue to present their views to the Planning Board. In the February 9 meeting he heard them say that “your concerns are our concerns.” Several members said that this is not a “done deal.” They need to be held accountable if this is true and they will review options. It is his view that some of the options presented by the neighbors seem reasonable and should be considered.
Kevin Walsh, member of the Planning Board, stated that regarding parkland, they wanted to get a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Town Board has asked for this verbally. The Planning Board came to the Town Board in 1993 to put this street on the Town map. The Town Board declined to do this after vigorous discussion. He took this to be an indication that the Town Board did not want this street to be connected.
At this time there being no further members of the public to come before the Town Board, Supervisor Smith closed Privilege of the Floor.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes, unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2004-68 appoints Anthony Leva, Pearse Road, Niskayuna, to the position of Water & Sewer Maintenance Worker effective March 15, 2004.
Resolution 2004-69 calls for a public hearing March 16, 2004 at 7 p.m. on an application for community development funds.
Resolution 2004-70 establishes Drainage District No. 19 on Balltown Road.
Resolution 2004-71 authorizes the purchase and installation of a chimney for the sludge dehydration building at the Wastewater Treatment facility from American Boiler, Albany, NY at a cost not to exceed $9,742.
Resolution 2004-72 authorizes the purchase of three conveyors for the belt press at the Wastewater Treatment Sludge Building from DeSantis Associates, at a cost not to exceed $18,200.
Resolution 2004-73 establishes Extension No. 153 to Consolidated Water District No. 1, Hillside Commerce Park.
Resolution 2004-74 establishes Extension No. 90 to Consolidated Sewer District No. 1 for Hillside Commerce Park.
Resolution 2004-75 accepts a Special User Permit to allow the construction of a 13,604 SF Eckerd Drug Store located at 1215 Troy Road with certain conditions.
Resolution 2004-76 authorizes the Supervisor to renew an agreement with CSEA Employee Benefit Fund, for the Platinum 12 Vision Plan.
Resolution 2004-77 supports Niskayuna Fire District No. 1 in its pursuit of state legislation to allow the collection of user fees.
Resolution 2004-78 calls for a public hearing March 16, 2004 7:10 p.m. to amend the Code of the Town regarding the disabled homeowner tax exemption program.
Resolution 2004-79 calls for a public hearing March 16, 2004 to consider amendment of Section 197-2(B) of the Code to increase the maximum income eligibility limits to certain persons sixty-five years of age or over.
Resolution 2004-80 authorizes the advertisement for bids for labor, equipment and materials for the Highway Department 2004 paving season.
Resolution 2004-81 rejects all bids received and authorizes the purchase of a cab and chasses on State contract for a new 2004 Sterling LT 9513 diesel tandem cab and chassis from Tracey Road Equipment, Syracuse, New York at total cost not to exceed $90,465.
Resolution 2004-82 takes action to accept a bid for a multi-use dump body, plow and wing for use by the Highway Department from T & T Sales, Latham, New York at a cost not to exceed $50,442.53.
Resolution 2004-83 accepts title as a Town Highway to Schwaber Drive together with a detention area, a parcel area of 2,987 +/- SF and a utility easement.
Resolution 2004-84 authorizes the grinding and disposal of yard waste from William Biers, Inc. at a cost of $4.00 per CF at a cost not to exceed $35,000.
Resolution 2004-85, authorizes the Superintendent of Highways to participate in a public auction to be held in Selkirk, New York by the New York State Thruway Authority, and authorizes him to expend an amount not to exceed $14,000.
Resolution 2004-86 authorizes the sale, through public auction, of unneeded vehicles and equipment from various departments through Alex Lyon & Son.
Resolution 2004-87 authorizes Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways, to attend the 2004 Highway School on June 7-9, 2004 in Ithaca, at a cost of $100 for registration and lodging.
Resolution 2004-88 authorizes advertising of bids for the installation of fencing for various projects.
Resolution 2004-89 appoints Ronald Lupi, to the position of temporary Grounds Worker, not to exceed 120 days, at a salary of $12.538 per hour, effective retroactive to February 2, 2004.
Resolution 2004-90 amends the Vehicle & Traffic Code of the town and adds a Stop sign on Becker Street for traffic proceeding east and west at the intersection of North Amherst Avenue.
Resolution 2004- 91 calls for a public hearing March 16 at 7:30 p.m. to consider amendment of the Vehicle & Traffic Code to provide for the installation of a Yield sign on Atateka Road at Vrooman Avenue for traffic proceeding south.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the Supervisor declared the meeting adjourned.
Helen Kopke, Town Clerk