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Town Board Minutes 6/28/05



        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; Linda Van Dyke, Town Historian; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Bill Hendricks, Planning Board Chairman; John Lubrant, Police Lieut., Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer.

        Public Hearing No. 1 – Considers a zone change for 36.63 acres of New York State designated wetlands.
        Kathy Matern, Town Planner, stated that the Planning Board and Town Board have determined that this area would be good area to protect because it is a large New York State designated wetlands.  Changing the zone from R-2 (Medium Density single family) to L-C (Land Conservation) was included in Plan 93 and Plan 2003.  The L-C zone doesn’t eliminate the possibility of development but allows one house per each five acres.  Because it designated a NYS Wetlands for a majority of the property development is unlikely.  90-95% of the property is owned by Schenectady County.
        The land backs up to wetlands within City of Schenectady limits and also to the Pinebush of Albany County.  There has been some discussion in the press about a larger initiative and Supervisor Smith hopes they can go forward with talking to each of these counties to take the initiative.  If the Town Board rezones the area we will contact each of the counties and see what could be accomplished.
        Councilman Chapman stated that the Conservation Advisory Committee and the Town Planning Board recommended that the Town Board go forward with this.  The Schenectady County Department of Economic Development & County Conservation Counsel have expressed approval of this proposal.  

        Lucy Clark, 2348 Cayuga Road, Niskayuna, Treasurer of the Save the Pinebush, stated that she encouraged and applauded the decision of the Town to consider the rezone of this property.  As she usually appears before Boards considering the opposite legislation, she is proud that her own town is taking a preemptive stand and the Pinebush encourages the Board to vote in favor of this zone change.  She stated that the Pinebush extends from Colonie, Guilderland, Schenectady, and Niskayuna.  The organization is very encouraged by discussion of rezoning this land and hopes it is the beginning of this parcel being part of a greater preserve that extends from the City of Albany to Niskayuna.   

        Bill Hendricks, 603 Connor Court, stated we have about 31 acres of this land within the Town.  There is a large track in the City of Schenectady and the Town of Colonie which are all part of the Pinebush.  In addition to lying in the three municipalities, it also lays within both Albany and Schenectady counties.  He felt this issue needs to be addressed under an inter-municipality agreement, commission, committee, or with the State because of jurisdictional questions.  
In addition to being part of the Pinebush it is the headwaters of the Lishakill.  We have created an L-C zone from the Lishakill as it meanders through Niskayuna on the way to the Mohawk River.  It has been under intense environmental study by the State for the last 15 years regarding the quality of the water going from the Lishakill into the Mohawk.  The headwaters need protection and he requested that the Board support this rezoning.  

Janet Hollocher, 1460 Keyes Avenue, member of the Niskayuna Conservation Advisory Council, spoke in support of the zone change.  If the county transferred the land to a private owner it is important to have the right kind of zoning in place because of the hydrology of the land.  It is the head of the Lishakill, holds a great deal of water and if developed intensively, it might cause flooding downstream.  Wetlands are nurseries for reptiles and habitat for birds and animals.  When they evaluated the new sewer installation on Filmore and Stanford they were told that the districts system was designed to serve the existing homes in this area and not designed to serve more development.  

John Vandle, 805 Karenwold Lane, Chair of Friends of the Woodlawn Preserve, and Conservation Chair for the Mohawk Hudson Group of the Sierra Club, supports the change of zoning for many of the reasons already outlined. The Pinebush is not just made up of pine barrens but wetlands also.  Wetlands are “flood busters” by acting like sponges and slowing down water.  They protect water supplies by absorbing pollutants and impurities.  The Woodlawn Preserve is being studied by botanists because it is the most diverse area in the whole Pinebush and contains over 60 acres of wetlands. They would like to be able to unite these areas in some form of a State or County preserve.   

Anne Sombler, 2348 Cayuga Road, supports the rezoning of the wetland adjacent to the woodland habitat in Schenectady.  She hoped that if the area was preserved that it would be used by residents as a place to enjoy and learn about its unique habitat.  She also hoped that the area extends through Schenectady and Albany Counties.  She felt rezoning was a step in the right direction but to fully insure that this area is preserved she hoped that they would chose to prevent all development in these wetlands.   

Linda Champagne VanDyke, 2421 Troy Road, Town Historian, stated that she was very proud to be working with a Town that is actively supporting the preservation of our wetlands and parklands.

George Smith, Christian Court, supports the rezoning of this area of Niskayuna.  

Supervisor Smith stated that residents of this area should be applauded.  Over the last year they voted to put in a sewer district due to problems with a failing septic system that abutted this wetland.  The sewer extension which will help in cleaning up the wetlands.  

Peter Tobiessen, 2452 Rosendale Road, spoke as a member of the Tree Committee.  He appreciated this rezoning proposal to restrict development in this area.
When no other members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor closed the public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2 – Considers the formation of Extension No. 155 to Consolidated Water District No. 1 for Bella Estates, Ferris Road.
        Frank Colombo, with C. T. Male Associates, stated that this was a previously approved subdivision.  After it was approved they realized that only a portion was within the water district, hence the request for an extension.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.
        Public Hearing No. 3 – Considers the formation of Extension No. 111 to Sewer District No. 6 for Bella Estates.
        Supervisor Smith stated that in the early stages of development of this project there was discussion to add houses on Consaul Road that presently have septic systems.  They made some adjustments to insure that as outside users they would hook into this sewer district.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing No. 4 – Considers the formation of Extension 156 to Consolidated Water District No. 1 for Flower Hill Subdivision.
Joe Bianchi, Chazen Engineers representative, stated that this extension is a 16-lot subdivision  They have preliminary approval from the Planning Board and are almost finished with the plan review process.  The Town’s water and sewer district border the property.  They are including water and sewer to include the entire parcel.  Town water and sewer will extend from Pinecrest.  A resident was concerned that it not be capped off at the backyards.  Water pressures should be adequate and a pressure reducing valve is not indicated at this time.  If needed, it would be installed.  
.  Supervisor Smith stated that one water line that comes off of Merlin will be abandoned and capped at Merlin not at the back of the property.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing N. 5 – Considers the formation of Drainage District No. 25 for the Flower Hill Subdivision.
        Joe Bianchi, Chazen Engineers representative, described the Drainage District which has the same boundaries as the water district.  Catch basins will be installed and the water will flow by pipe to a swale that comes off Pinecrest and flows into the same corridor as an existing stream. One lot will contain a 4’ deep detention pond which will be surrounded by a 4’ high fence (which can be raised).  Per Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways, similar situations occur in Hexam West John Paul Court, and Douglas Court.  The pond and fence will be built before the lot is sold.  If the developer makes the fence the property boundary, it does not effect anything and Mr. Bianchi does not envision this being an issue at all if the Town believes it should own the detention pond.   
Councilwoman Kasper did not like having this drainage area on privately held property.  This may be legal by Town standards, and outlined on deeds, but often residents are not aware of the facts.  
 Eric Dickson, Town Attorney stated that the traditional and best way of handling this is to deed a lot to the Town.  Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer, felt that because the area is fenced, it would be clear to the homeowner that the Town was responsible for it.  The Town has an easement to get to the drainage basin.  This is a non-conforming lot under our statute.  

When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Richard Preisman, 71 Pheasant Ridge, Niskayuna, requested that the Town consider some type of regulation for cats such as requiring cats to have bells because they are destroying a lot of habitat on the ground such as chip monks and birds.


        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilwoman O’Donnell was absent), unless otherwise noted.

        Resolution 2005-163 approves an Outside Sewer User Agreement for Michael P. Trentini and Lynn M. Trentini, owners of 975 North Ravine Road.

        Resolution 2005-164 approves an Outside Sewer User Agreement for Michael Trentini, owner of 2594 Grandview Avenue.

        Resolution 2005-165, approves an Outside Water User Agreement for Michael Trinitini, owner of 2594 Grandview Avenue.

        Resolution 2005-166 establishes Extension No. 155 to Consolidated Water District No. 1 for Bella Estates Subdivision, Ferris Road at a cost of $32,696.50 all of which is to be paid by the petitioner.

        Resolution 2005-167 establishes Extension No. 111 to Sewer District No. 6 for Bella Estates Subdivision, Ferris Road, at a cost of $29,240.58 all of which is to be paid by the petitioner.

        Resolution 2005-168 establishes Extension No. 156 to Consolidated Water District No. 1, for the Flower Hill Subdivision, Rosendale & Pinecrest Drive, at a cost of $82,110 all of which is to be paid by the petitioner.

        Resolution 2005-169 establishes Extension No. 112 to Sewer District No. 6, for the Flower Hill Subdivision, Rosendale & Pinecrest Drive, at a cost of $66,700 all of which is to be paid by the petitioner.

        Resolution 2005-170 establishes Drainage District No. 25 for the Flower Hill Subdivision, Rosendale & Pinecrest Drive, at a cost of $700, all of which is to be paid by the petitioner.

        Resolution 2005-171 authorizes Amy Houlihan to attend the New York Assessor’s Association meeting on July 18-22, in Ithaca, New York, at a cost of $385, to be reimbursed by the New York State Office of Real Property.

        Resolution 2005-172 approves the modification of the Mobile Radio District Agreement to allow for a 3% increase, for a total cost to the Town of $5,306.73 annually.

        Resolution 2005-173 amends the Employee’s Handbook requiring 15 years of Town service for retirement health insurance coverage for employees effective immediately.
        The resolution was approved with a vote of three ayes (Councilman Holt abstained).

        Resolution 2005-174 employs additional persons in the Recreation Program.

        Resolution 2005-175 authorizes the purchase of a new 2005 Chevrolet Silverado from Hoselton Chevrolet, for the Police Department, at a cost of $12,200.

        At this time, the Board voted unanimously to go into Executive Session to discuss employment issues related to the Building Inspector.
        There being no further business to come before the Board, Supervisor Smith declared the meeting adjourned.

                                        Helen F. Kopke, Town Clerk


One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
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