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Town Board Minutes 9/27/05


        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Lew Moskowitz, Chief of Police; John Lubrant, Police Lieut.; Stan Fiminski, Police Lieut.

        Public Hearing No. 1, considers Extension No. 157 to Consolidated Water District No. 1; Extension No. 113 to Sewer District No. 6; and Drainage District No. 27 for the J & E Cerone Subdivision.
         Mr. Longacker, representative from Lansing Engineering, presented the extensions of the subdivision.  The water extension encompasses the entire subdivision with the exception of the area in front.  He showed the sewer district which also encompasses the entire 26.3 acres and will service all lots within the subdivision.  The drainage district encompasses the same areas as the sewer district extension.  All costs associated with all extensions will be borne by the developer.
Improvements will be made to allow for this and the Paulson development on Liskakill Road between the Kimberly Court and Victoria Court subdivisions.  When the Victoria Court subdivision was constructed, there was a stub pipe left to connect to the Kimberly Court subdivision at some future time.  Currently the Kimberly Court subdivision is serviced with a pump station (which these projects will eliminate) and connect by gravity across Lishakill Road down Kimberly Court and down into Victoria subdivisions. The waste is eventually conveyed to the Valarie Drive pump station where improvements will be made by the developer to increase the wet well capacity.
Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer also stated there will be a joint effort on the upgrading of the Valerie Street pump station between this developer and the developer of Flower Hill.  This pump station has a high pump rate and is close to capacity.  They will be putting in larger wet wells and this will also allow the pumping out the sewage out at a higher rate.
Supervisor Smith stated that the Planning Board has given preliminary approval.  If we go forward with this public hearing in establishing the district the developer still goes on to the State for their review in terms of adequate capacity.  The State will not look at the extensions until the Town has a public hearing.
There are three fenced in detention basins proposed.  DEC also requires that before the detention ponds are dedicated to the Town that they be 80% stabilized (grass and wet land vegetation) to avoid runoff from the disturbed areas.  

Ron Scharf, Kimberly Court, expressed his concern over drainage and traffic.  He had a history of a dry basement until it flooded in November 2002 the cause of which he has not been able to ascertain but it was coincident to the building of a house on Lishakill Road.  He assumed that building 75 houses on Lishakill would have a big impact on the water table.  He asked what guarantees he has as a homeowner that there won’t be a flood or major drainage problems that will have an impact on the quality of life and worth of the property.  
Supervisor Smith stated that certainly the design of the project is to avoid conveying water to other properties.  He can give assurances that it is being designed to insure that does not happen.  If the design is inadequate the Town will address that issue.  The Town is currently dealing with drainage issues in easements that have been visited upon us this summer from severe storms.  There may not be much the Town can do to address 3” of rain in 30 minutes but the Town will do what it can to make sure our drainage system has the greatest capacity and can convey water to where it should be going and they will continue to do that.  Every resident certainly has the right to make a claim.  The Town has insurance if there is a determination of damage as a result of problems created by the Town. These determinations are made as problems arise.  

Lorene Zabin, 2455 Brookshire Drive, felt that most of the drainage problems on Lishakill have been the infrastructure.  She inquired if the developments would address any of the piping down Lishakill Road.  
Richard Pollock stated that currently Lishakill Road’s piping  was installed at various periods of time.  The pipe on Lishakill is an old 8” pipe and the first section of pipe off Troy Road is 6”.  Several years ago the Town installed a loop connection from the end of Bobby Court to the Floral Acres subdivision.  The intent was to eliminate some of the water hammer effect (which he felt caused many of the water breaks).  When they made the connection to Floral Acres this reduced the number of breaks. The 6” pipe causes a bit of a problem and it’s “in the works” to replaced this with 8” pipe or larger.   
As far as the impact of this new development, right now they have one looped connection into Floral Acres which will provide a second loop connection over to the end of Lori Drive.  This will alleviate some of the water pressure problem and provide multiple directions of flow for the water to service either development.  
Supervisor Smith stated that the Town has a project being developed currently dealing with the first 150’ of Lishakill and also on Rosendale Road towards River Road
At this time when no other members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

Public Hearing No. 2 -  considers Extension No. 158 to Consolidated Water District No. 1; Extension No. 114 to Sewer District No. 6; and Drainage District No. 26 for the Cerone-Paulson Subdivision.
Mr. Longacker, Lansing Engineering, representing the developer, presented these extensions to the Cerone Paulson subdivision.  This subdivision is located directly south of the J & E subdivision, is 25 acres in size and will result in 38 single family lots.  The water district extension 158 encompasses the entire area with the exception of two lots (lands of Gotto and lands of Diamond along Lishakill Road in the front).  Sewer District No, Extension 114 will include all of the lots as well as one additional lot along Lishakill Road; the Drainage District No 26 provides drainage for all 38 lots and encompasses the entire parcel.
There are three detention ponds over both subdivisions with all costs associated with water, sewer, and drainage districts borne by the developer.  

Robert Minor, Kimberly Court, stated that the new subdivision is at a higher elevation than the Kimberly Court subdivision and this was a concern to him.  He did not know how detention ponds would address the fact that we will have a higher water table holding and retaining water below. The detention ponds are designed to hold the water and release it at a slower rate to avoid flooding.  A drainage system will also be constructed.
Mr. Longacker showed a drawing of the three storm water management areas and explained how they would work. One is along the south road, one along the front along the north road, and one in the back close to the intersection of Lori Drive and the proposed south road.  The drainage basins were analyzed for the one, two, the fifty and the one hundred year storm events in accordance with New York State DEC Storm water Regulations.
The County has also asked them to look at the groundwater and the effects that that would have which has been included within the volume calculations in sizing these basins.  The basins are mandated as the release has to be equal or less than the predevelopment rates.  The rate of release leaving these basins is to be less than preexisting.  The County has also asked them to look at the culvert crossing Lishakill Road which they are currently doing.   The water is being released into a closed drainage system to begin with because there is a culvert crossing the street right now, and then it will be a swale.  There is an existing culvert and catch basin that goes into an existing swale and they will be tying into that.  The swale is behind the lots on Kimberly Court.  It has been recently inspected and walked by his firm and the Town designated Engineer and he believes it has capacity for a twenty-five storm event.  DEC looks at all projects in view of the new storm water regulations where they want water to move slowly so that sediment is not flowing too quickly down to the rivers and streams. There will be more of a uniform release rate of water depending upon the storm.  The pond was sized to handle a one hundred year storm.  Off site would handle the twenty-five year storm.     

Ron Scharf, 12 Kimberly Court, was concerned that the drainage and flooding problem that he experienced was independent of rain and storms.  He wondered how we know that all the runoff goes into the retention pond and won’t seek its own lowest level and find a different way to reach the swale on the other side of Lishakill Road.  Mr. Longacker responded that the grading has been designed to act as a bowl.  All disturbed areas are directed towards catch basins, piping, and the closed network.  

Rebecca Minor, Kimberly Court, requested information on how the system we currently have functions and how it will function with this additional water. Mr. Longacker stated that everything within the disturbed areas is directed toward the catch basins, discharged to the three storm water management areas and then eventually released across Lishakill Road via a swale that discharges eventually into the Lishakill.  There will be no more additional water than there is now, but it will flow at a different rate.  Pre-development rates set the post-development rate.  
Susan Cerrone stated that she has walked the subdivision with two engineers and the swales go behind Kimberly Court all the way to the Lishakill.  The swales are in very good condition and have growth that appears standard wetland vegetation.  They walked it at a heavy time when quite a bit of water would have been generated and there was no overspill on any of the individual lots.  Storm water associated with the back basin is stored, treated, and released back into the closed storm water drainage system will eventually lead to the pond and eventually the swale.  

        The minutes of the meeting of September 6, 2005 were approved as presented.

        Ron Scharf, 12 Kimberly Court, expressed his concern about traffic with the new proposed development.  Lishakill Road has several hairpin turns which provide a danger with and without pedestrians.  The safety of the road is minimal and if there is a lot more traffic and no opportunity for pedestrian traffic built in that it will be much more of a safety concern.

        Charene Tate, 78 Lori Drive, expressed her concern about the negative impact of the connector street between Lori Drive and the new developments will have on her home and the neighborhood.
        Councilwoman Kasper reflection on the situation regarding this issue and the Town Board and she stated that the Planning Board made this decision.  She may have wanted the road to be curved, but the plan came through with a straighter road.  There is no chance in Town law for her to say no to this development until it is time to accept or reject the highways.  She felt the residents are frustrated with the way Town government is set up.  The Town Board can make sure that water and sewer is right, but only the Planning Board can approve subdivision.  She wondered why the County is not fixing what they say is their “substandard” road.  
She personally has done everything she can from years past to keep Lori Drive a cul de sac, but she has no say if Lori Drive will be approved by the Planning Board or not.  She is concerned with Kimberly Court and flooding and is making sure that the swale can take the water from new developments.  She shares the frustration she is hearing from the residents because the Planning Board deemed to do this.
The structure of the Town may be different than residents realized.  The Planning Board is an important part of the Town that follows rules and policies but there are just so many things that the Town Board gets to vote on. People on Lori Drive know she did not want this to go through but now that it will, she has to make sure that the sewer, water, drainage and highways are the best they can be.  She does not want to take blame for something she cannot change and she cannot call the Planning Board and tell them to change their mind.  They are the experts on Planning and she is not and she thought this was changed in the late 1980’s, but she does not have the power to change this.  The only other resolution would have been if the neighbors bought the lot which might have been the end of this.  
Regarding children playing in the streets, Mrs. Tate felt that children on a cul de sac with very little traffic should be able to play in the street.  Councilwoman Kasper stated that of the two children who have been killed by cars in Town, one lived in a cul de sac and the other a dead end street, showing that these streets are not safe for children to play in.  They were killed by neighbors on their own street.  

Sally Lester, Troy Road, addressed the number of females on the Town’s police force.  She felt that a woman with 20 years of service to Niskayuna is being overlooked for a promotion even though she has taken and passed three different civil service tests since 2000 where the same cannot be said for the others who were considered for the promotion.  She felt that the process followed removes the selection of a qualified candidate away from the accepted standard which is the promotional exam, and puts it in the hands of a Chief or other administrators such as the Town Board members.  

John Becker, Woodbridge Avenue, Schenectady, stated he is a locksmith and received a call in September to unlock a car in Niskayuna.  Since the caller stated it was not an emergency, she was told he had two prior calls to attend to and would then arrive to take care of her locked car.  
He received a call from a Niskayuna police dispatcher who confirmed he had been called for the lockout and he confirmed he would arrive in 15 minutes.  Later, while he was on his way, he received another call and was told that he was no longer needed because the local police department had opened up the car.   Mr. Becker felt he got the call and this is his livelihood.  The Police told him they have been performing such services for 25 years and he felt this was a theft of his services.  
Supervisor Smith stated he would get back to Mr. Becker after he spoke to the Police Department.

        Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket, has analyzed the implementation of the new Help America Vote Act and the new machines that need to be purchased next year.  The League of Women Voters has supported the use of the Optical Scanner voting system and she agreed with their analysis.  A recent article stated that these scanners will “offer the essential safeguards needed for voters to verify their choices, the counting of their vote, a retrievable voter trail in the event of a recount, the required accessibility for disabled voters and possibly the less expensive choice of equipment.”  She agreed with their recommendation and hoped that this would be the choice of the County.      Supervisor Smith stated that the voting process will be the County’s responsibility after this year and the Town has budgeted zero for next year.  

        Lorene Zabin, 2455 Brookshire Drive, felt that the Board has a right to call public hearings and the public has a right to be heard.  The privileges of speaking will be denied if Board members decide that they will not call for public hearings.  We have been exhausted by Lori Drive which is a “drive.”  It is not a cul de sac and it never was a cul de sac.  She hopes it never happens again that any councilman would deny the public’s right for public hearings.
        Councilman Chapman stated that Mr. McKinney offered a resolution for no connection to Lori Drive with a breaker bar and he did not get a second on the resolution.  In his view Lori Drive is a cul de sac.  The Planning Board had many options presented to them by the engineers and in his view one or more of these options could have worked.  He felt that the Town Board has had some input into this project.  The Planning Board voted to take 2-1/2 acres of parkland and the Parks & Recreation Committee sent a letter to the Planning Board asking them to drop the parkland and they did.  They also planned for a hike and bike path to go through the road that comes off Lishakill, and the Town Board sent a letter asking them (because of the expense of the bike path) to drop the bike path which they modified.  The Board has had some input into this and he feels if we can have input on parks and a hike and bike path certainly we can offer our input on the road as well.  He still thinks the Town Board has had input in 1994 (when the Planning Board proposed putting this road on the official map) and the Town’a lively discussion in 1993 and March 1994, and the Board voted not to put the road connection on the Town official map.  In his view the last time that the Board spoke was in 1994 showing the wish of the elected officials that this road not go through and that is the last time the Board has spoken on this.

        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
        Resolution 2005-234 authorizes the execution of an Outside Sewer User Agreement
for Jessica Ward owner of 47 Central Avenue.

        Resolution 2005-235 authorizes advertising for bids for the replacement of the roofs of three buildings located at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

        Resolution 2005-236 adopts the Annual Plan for 2005 for Section 8 Housing.

        Resolution 2005-237 authorizes Amy Houlihan to attend the New York State Assessor’s Association Marshall & Swift Cost Manual Seminar on September 21, 2005 at a cost of $110.

        Resolution 2005-238 authorizes the Supervisor to renew an agreement for Workers’ Compensation administrative services with RMSCO, Inc. at a total cost of $6,592.

        Resolution 2005-239 allows the construction of a parking lot within the Town’s right of way for Robert Goodman Reality, 1521 Balltown Road.

        Resolution 2005-240 authorizes retaining Thomas J. Loehr Excavating, to furnish all necessary equipment, labor and trucking for excavation work within the Town on an as-needed basis not to exceed $19,950 per calendar year.

        Resolution 2005-241 employs additional persons in the Recreation Department.

        Resolution 2005-242 amends the Code, Chapter 81 entitled Dogs and Other Animals to establish regulations in connection with the use of the Niskayuna Dog Park.

        Resolution 2005-243 adopts rules and regulations in connection with the use of the Niskayuna Dog Park.

        Resolution 2005-244 appoints Stanley F. Fiminski, to the position of Police Lieutenant at a rate of compensation of $74,524 per year.
At this time Supervisor Smith made a motion, approved by the Board, to go into Executive Session to discuss contract negotiations.

        There being no further business to come before the Town Board, Supervisor Smith adjourned the meeting.
                                                Helen Kopke, Town Clerk

One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
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