AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 30TH DAY OF MARCH, 2004 AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN, absent
Public Hearing No. 1 – requests a Special Use Permit for Andrew Fusco, to allow the reuse of a daycare facility into a general business office at 3512 Rosendale Road.
Michael Carum, a representative for Andy Fusco, described this insurance business that will have 8 employees.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed this Public Hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2 – extends the moratorium on the development of property in the northwest section of Town.
Councilman Chapman described the hearing to extend the moratorium on 460 acres of property that is under consideration for re-zoning to office light industrial. We had a 180 day moratorium previously to allow the Planning and Town Board to prepare an ordinance that would make the zone change and to complete the work of the GIS. They have a draft ordinance that has been circulated to the Planning Committee and Conservation Advisory Council. The Planning Board has had a public meeting on the ordinance that included several speakers with recommendations to the draft ordinance.
The Town wishes to extend the moratorium for 90 days to finish their work. The Planning Board will have further discussion at their next meeting on April 12. They are looking at the types of businesses they want in or out. Architectural design standards are also being proposed. If passed, the moratorium would stop approvals of any projects during 90 days.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 3 – considers an amendment to the Code of the Town regarding Subdivision of Land which changes the security required to be posed for the installation of improvements within a subdivision).
Eric Dickson, Town Attorney, announced that this is a housekeeping item. When developers subdivide land, they typically post a security for the completion of building of the infrastructure when they file their subdivision map. The existing provisions of the Town Code provided for the posting of a bond. Over the last 15 years, the Town has not been accepting a bond because of the difficulty of enforcing them and instead has insisted on a letter of credit which is very easy to be drawn on in the rare case that the Town would have to complete improvements. They are bringing up the language of the Town Code to reflect the actual practice.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, stated that often with a public hearing the Board can do less but cannot do more than is proposed and asked if some of the land included in the tonight’s moratorium could be taken out of the planned moratorium.
Attorney Dickson stated that this happens to be a local law which requires a separate public hearing if there is any substantive change. If the Town was proceeded through the used an ordinance than what she suggests would be true.
Mr. Dickson stated that there are no pending applications that have been submitted for subdivision before the Planning Board. There was a prior application for site plan review that was approved. It is anticipated that it would not be acted on during the term of the extension of this moratorium.
Mike Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, stated that following last weeks Planning Board meeting he and several neighbors had an opportunity to speak with Supervisor Smith. Residents do not have the ability to go to the 1993 Planning Board or Town Board. They only have the current officials to go to. Both the Planning Board and Town Board have inherited the problem and they are the ones that residents must look to to help them. A
John Macri, 54 Lori Drive, stated that residents appreciate and respect the job of the elected and appointed officials. The Comprehensive Plan Committee consists of Town Board member, Planning Board members and interested citizens. They develop the Plan. A public hearing will be held May 4, and then the Town Board votes on it. The Plan would take effect in the future (it is not retroactive).
Mr. Macri asked for further clarification of the definition of “reserve strip” as used in the Comprehensive Plan. Attorney Dickson stated that it is an isolated strip of land that is not attached to a lot. He stated that the property between Lishakill Road and Lori Drive would not be considered a reserve strip. It is a parcel of land that is owned.
Supervisor Smith explained that the Town had an example of this with Senaca Manor where if the Town did not take parkland a particular strip of land would not be developed.
Mr. Macri could not help but think that Supervisor Smith’s comments from the latest newsletter were directed at the proposed Paulson development on Lishakill. He attended many of the Planning Board meetings and did not see anyone get disrespected. He felt that what the Planning Board is doing with the Paulson development is exactly opposite of what the Comprehensive Plan says. When the sketch plan was put before the Planning Board they automatically approved it unanimously. There are 38 lots and no indication of parkland. He didn’t think any discussion was held with any member of the Parks Committee. Supervisor Smith responded that all issues will be looked at including the sketch plan. There could be stub streets put in, or any number of changes that could happen.
Councilman Chapman recalled that the Planning Board did not make the decision to take money in lieu of parkland. The Planning Board could say that they want 10% acreage or money and it is a decision that they still have to make. Mr. Macri felt that the other undeveloped land will probably be developed in the future. A park to encompass all three neighborhoods should be given some thought.
He got the feeling that Supervisor Smith thought the residents were being “irrational” with their objection to a road going through. They feel it is in direct conflict with the Comprehensive Plan and is not in the best interest of the residents of Lori Drive or of the Town of Niskayuna.
He would not want to be in the shoes of the elected or appointed officials. They will never make a decision that makes everybody happy but he thinks they need to make wise decisions and try to make the most people happy that they can. Not putting through the road would make them and the potential new homeowners happy. He does not think they are irrational and two or three of the Town Board members would agree.
Supervisor Smith stated that he did not state that he was in favor of the cut through. He is in favor of the concept of connectivity and diffusion of traffic. The Planning Board will review the project and make a decision on it.
Tracey Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, stated that the Parks Committee is now talking with the Planning Board and in future developments will talk to each other prior to making decisions about roads and taking money in lieu of parks.
She thought it was a good idea to highlight and bring attention to the various boards that deal with planning and development issues. She believes there are many residents who do not know that these boards exist let alone what they are responsible for. She thinks it is unfortunate that the newsletter column was written to imply that residents that are against the controversial issue associated with a new development have been disrespectful. It is the Planning Boards decision to diffuse traffic from county and state roads to their neighborhood. Supervisor Smith has stated that this road would be a cut through and this is against town code. Contrary to what was said in the column, it is against safe and good planning. If Lori Drive is allowed to become a connector road, then they will
be destroying the current Lori Drive environment.
A great amount of time was spent at a recent Town Board meeting advising residents of the power of the Planning Board. However, they keep learning how powerful the Town Supervisor is. She asked the Supervisor to address future traffic problems and save their neighborhood.
Bob Sweeney, 82 Lori Drive, stated that the Lori Drive paper street was recommended to be taken off in 1993. The cut through street is now being proposed by the developer, and it is not on the 2003 Comprehensive Plan. Supervisor Smith stated that there are plenty of areas that can be developed that do not have paper streets on them right now.
Mr. Sweeney noted that Supervisor Smith had stated that he was for the Lori Drive cut-through. He has appointed about three members of the Planning Board. They are there at his service, yet he backs away with nothing to do about Lori Drive.
Mr. Sweeney cited a letter in the newspaper regarding a particular drainage problem. In the latest newsletter, Supervisor Smith talks about the groups the Planning Board met with but they never met with the Parks Committee. Residents choose Lori Drive over other streets in other areas of Niskayuna because of it is a cul-de-sac. Maybe the Planning Board needs to go back and talk about Lishakill Road. Many residents state that Lishakill, Douglas, and Lori Drive have drainage issues.
Supervisor Smith commented that the Town receives about 100 requests yearly to solve drainage problem on private property. The Town evaluates them with the intent that if it is the Town’s problem we will fix the problem. We cannot work on private property if the Town Engineer says it is not of the Town’s making. The particular drainage problem Mr. Sweeney sited was evaluated and the determination was made that it was not a problem of the Town’s making.
Supervisor Smith stated that no one said that anyone disrespected the Planning Board or that somehow they were being denigrated by any one neighborhood. Certainly the people who have spoken most recently would suspect that it’s because of them. He has attended a number of Planning Board meetings where it appears people don’t realize the work that they do. He writes a letter in the newsletter twice a year and it is his opinion and is signed by him as Supervisor. This time he chooses to recognize the Planning Board and the work that they do. He does not apologize for that nor did he say that anyone in the room disrespected the Planning Board. They do very difficult work.
Dave Guest, 1178 Highland Park Road, thanked the Town Board, Supervisor, Comptroller and the Town Attorney for the reciprocal agreement with his leave credits for the Department of Military Affairs.
Charlene Tate, 78 Lori Drive, has contacted Rudy Paulson if he would meet with a group of neighbors to discuss alternatives or options to the sketch plan that was presented on February 9. He declined. She reminded the Town Board that residents do not want the cut-through street connecting Lori Drive to the proposed Cerone Paulson subdivision. She is concerned about safety in the neighborhood as well as the increased volume of traffic. She asked the Town Board for their continued assistance and any support or influence that they may have in not allowing this cut-through road to go through.
Megan Shineberg, 954 Catalpa Court, stated that she thinks the cut-through would be a good idea because she could get to her house easier.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilwoman Kasper was absent), unless otherwise noted:
Resolution 2004- 109 takes action on the petition for the establishment of Drainage District No. 19 located on Balltown Road.
Resolution 2004-110 takes action on a petition for the establishment of Extension No. 153 to Consolidated Water District No. 1 in Hillside Commerce Park.
Resolution 2004-111 takes action on a petition for the establishment of Extension No. 90 to Consolidated Sewer District No. 1 in Hillside Commerce Park.
Resolution 2004-112 authorizes the Supervisor to apply for a grant under the New York State Community Development Block Grant, Small Cities Program for an extension of Sewer District No. 1 to include 88 properties on Fillmore Avenue, Stanford Avenue, Cliff Street, and Leroy Street.
Resolution 2004-113 authorizes enactment of Local Law No. 9 (2004) extending a moratorium on the review, approval, and/or issuance of applications for or development of property in the northwest section in the Town of Niskayuna.
Resolution 2004-114 calls for a public hearing May 4, 2004 at 7 p.m. to consider adoption of the Comprehensive Development Plan.
Resolution 2004-115 amends the Code, Chapter 197, Article VII, Disabled Homeowner Tax Exemptions.
Resolution 2004-116 amends the Code, Chapter 197, Taxation, for Senior Citizens.
Resolution 2004-117 authorizes computer training courses for Town employees.
Resolution 2004-118 authorizes the purchase of a copy/printer machine on State contract at a total cost of $5,751.00.
Resolution 2004-119 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement for the purchase of natural gas from Select Energy New York, Inc. from May 1, 2004 through May 31, 2005.
Resolution 2004-120 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement for the purchase of electricity from Advantage Energy.
Resolution 2004-121 takes action to authorize the use of a Town procurement card from Citibank USA, NA.
Resolution 2004-122 makes budgetary modifications to close accounts as of December 31, 2003.
Resolution 2004-123 authorizes the Supervisor to retain the services of Labor Ready, a temporary labor service, for seasonal laborers at a cost of $12.75 per hour with a 4-hour minimum per day, effective April 5, 2004.
Resolution 2004-124 accepts bids for the furnishing of labor and materials relative to the paving of certain streets in the Town.
Resolution 2004-125 employs additional persons in the Recreation Program.
Resolution 2004-126 adopts Local Law No. 8 (2004) that amends the Vehicle and Traffic Code to add a Yield sign on Atateka Road going south at the intersection of Vrooman Avenue.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the Supervisor adjourned the meeting.
Helen Kopke, Town Clerk