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Healthy Choices for Families

 
Town Board Minutes 4/11/06
AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 11TH DAY OF APRIL, 2006, AT THE TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT;

LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
MARIA P. FREUND, COUNCILWOMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR

PUBLIC HEARING

Public Hearing:  Considers amendment of the Code of the Town, Chapter 81, entitled Dogs and Other Animals.
Supervisor Smith stated that residents have expressed concern about the Town’s leash law which did not require dog owners to have their dog on a leash, but allowed them to run free if they were under the control of the resident.  There have been some problems with this in terms of enforcement.  The Town is now recommending a change to the Code to make a specific definition that dogs must be on a leash that allows the dog owner to control the dog directly.  We are also looking at the potential of developing an area in Town that could be posted and allow owners of larger dogs or owners of dogs that they are training to hunt or retrieval and let them run free.

5312006_104137_0.png stated that good dogs need stimulation and exercise.  While she is sympathetic to people who are afraid of dogs she would like to find a compromise that allows dogs to get exercise not so much in the dog park (which she considers a pen and does not allow her to walk while her dog runs) but someplace in one of the park areas where the dog can run free while she walks.  She suggested that certain times of the day could be set aside for unleashed area dogs so people who are afraid of dogs would know to stay away during those times which is being done in Saratoga and Clifton Park.  

5312006_104137_0.png is not afraid of dogs but many times has been accosted by people who say they have their dogs under control but when they are out exercising (especially at Iroquois School) many times dogs are not under their owners control and do not pay attention to their owners commands.  She tries to avoid the groups that gather at Iroquois so she can safely walk through an area and not be accosted.  Many times these dogs are out of sight on the paths and she must request that their dogs be called.  The dogs are not as friendly as they seem to be.  Her dog is always on a leash.  She is not afraid she just wants some control and safety for herself and her dog.  Her dog has been attacked and bitten and a child suffered a broken ankle through an attack by a dog.  She believes it is a safety issued from all aspects and she loves the possibility of everybody taking their dogs places on leashes and learning to run with them.
 
        5312006_104137_0.png spoke as a veteranarian and dog owner. He has seen a lot of dogs who in most circumstances would be considered under control but it is exceeding rare to find a dog that is totally under their owners control when they are off leash.  He has seen a lot of dogs hurt by other dogs.  He would love to have many choices to bring his dog off leash but he does not think it is practical or possible given that there are so many people who think that their dog is under their control but they are only making that assessment when there are no other distractions or animals around.  He supports as much control as we can give to residents and would support a leash law.  He commended the Board for supporting a Dog Park and the possibility of another type of Dog Park on top of the landfill.

        5312006_104137_0.png Schenectady, believes the Town should have a height and weight limit for dogs on leashes.    

        5312006_104137_0.png, is a strong proponent for the current law which seems to have worked reasonably well in his observation for the past 30 years.  There are sanctions that are available should a dog be off leash.  In fairness to the animals, they should have the opportunity to exercise.  There is plenty of space and compatibility.  
You can raise many of the same issues with dogs off leash as you can make with children or adults riding their bikes on the bike path with people are walking who can get hit.  He has seen someone receive a broken leg when hit by a bicycle on the bike path.  He has seen dogs in the dog park not behave very well.  One dog needed stitches because of an attack by another dog in the dog park.  He doesn’t think the safety issue that seems to be presented with the dog park itself is viable since these animals are contained they become less predictable. He believes we have a very vocal minority who feels quite strongly that somehow their human rights are being violated if people are exercising their dogs.  He is a member of a dog group with 21 dogs that walk together and there has not been a single incident in the seven years he has been walking his dog.  He wants to give the maximum latitude possible to all parties concerned.

        5312006_104137_0.png, thinks dogs should be leashed.  He has been attacked while the owner watched as he was knocked down and bitten.  It was a very big dog and he thinks owners should restrain their animals especially in areas where lots of people are located.

        5312006_104137_0.png, likes the idea of a compromise and is a proponent of off-leash walking. In her experience at Iroquois School and River Road Park, on a daily basis, the dog walking group does not run into other users of the area.  All responsible dog owners look ahead and leash up their dogs when runners pass by.    
        It is important for her to have her dog exercise because he is a Therapy Dog.  She understands animal behavior enough to raise a very well mannered and obedient dog and she takes it as an important responsibility to raise him to be a good member of society.  In order to do the therapy dog training, she had to expose him to many different places, people, and situations.  Going to Iroquois School and River Road Park is his down time because other times he is controlling his impulses.  On the dog walk he gets to releases his energy which helps him to be better at his therapy work.  She enjoys walking her dog off leash in River Road Park and is one of the reasons she lives in Town.  She asked the Board not to penalize the responsible dog owners who enjoy this pleasure every day for the few who do not understand dog behavior.  It means a great deal to her to be able to bring her dog to this dog walking park.  She agreed that setting certain times and places for off-leash dog walking is a great compromise.

        5312006_104137_0.png, stated that she does not let her dog go off leash but she hopes that the Board finds a compromise.  She knows several dogs that were trained well enough for off-leash and she would not want to discourage their owners from pursuing this training.  The problem is the few people that are irresponsible who claim they have control but they do not.  The people who invest the time an effort into properly training their dogs should not be discouraged from this.  

        5312006_104137_0.png, stated that he is a new resident who has joined the Iroquois School dog walking group. He feels his dog has been trained by a community of people who all look after the dogs.  He has watched these dogs behave beautifully through containment by their owners creating no issues for other residents.

        5312006_104137_0.png, stated that dogs are not inherently dangerous, but owners who do not take care of their dog are dangerous.  You can’t penalize the rest of the population for the few who don’t do what should be doing and a compromise is in order.

        5312006_104137_0.png, stated that dogs do very well if socialized and they need time to interact with all kinds of stimuli so that they can be better socialized.  A compromise needs to be made for those that do have their dogs under control.
        
        5312006_104137_0.png, requested clarification of the proposed new language.   Regarding the question of how it would be “tested” that a dog was under its owner’s control, Councilwoman Kasper added that “testing” a dog would be as productive as getting all of the Town’s dogs licensed.  Ms. Doyle is not clear on exactly where the new language will be inserted into the Code and when the definition of voice and sight control would apply.  She questioned if the dog warden sees dogs off leash “in designated areas” is there a definition of a dog under the control of its owner.  Supervisor Smith declared that the animal control officer will visit the designated areas and see if dogs respond when called by its owner. If the dog does not respond, it would be considered not under the control of its owner.

5312006_104137_0.png, suggested specific paths for dogs to run free and specific paths where dogs require a leash.  

5312006_104137_0.png, requested that the Town Clerk send each licensed dog owner in Town a copy of the new language in the Code so that everyone would know.  

5312006_104137_0.png, sees the value of a compromise with walking dogs and the social aspect and benefit it serves to dogs. Supervisor Smith added that the Town is talking about the possibility of using the landfill cap area for unleashed dogs.  She suggested that certain areas be designated at certain times.  She felt that most people who own dogs and walk them feel that the Dog Park is not acceptable as the only place that dogs can walk freely.  After the discussion tonight, the Board will vote on this legislation which would allow them the opportunity to compromise and figure out the areas to designate.  The definitions of leash or off leash or under the control of would be in the law.  The location remains to be decided and could possibly change from time to time.

5312006_104137_0.png, is new to the area and walks with the group from Iroquois School.  Through the residents who use the Iroquois School and River Road Park they have learned different ways to train their dog, places to take him for training classes, and their dog is now very responsive to numerous people.  If they hadn’t been part of this group walking off leash and getting him to exercise, he wouldn’t be as friendly as he is today.  

5312006_104137_0.png, doesn’t think that all dog owners should be penalized because of a few irresponsible dog owners. We should make a compromise but dogs might be a little more dangerous if they are cooped up and they have unreleased energy. We should let be without leashes in a designated area.

5312006_104137_0.png, asked for the opportunity to offer feedback once the Board comes up with their compromise.  At one point she wanted to use the bike path which is an area they cannot walk the dog. She felt that one by one spots to walk their dogs are eliminated.  She believes there are only a few people who are against having dogs off leash and the majority of people want them on leash.
        Supervisor Smith stated that, the Board reports what they are doing and hopefully the press picks up on this.  Dog owners could be notified; it could go into the newsletter; put on our website; and residents can call Town Hall.

        5312006_104137_0.png, feels that dogs need the exercise but some dogs are vicious and will attack.  There should be specific times or places that dogs are allowed to run around off leash.    

        River Road Park 
At this time, Councilwoman Kasper stated that the Parks Committee has been looking at paving in the River Road Park and they are not ready for any decision.  The Board walked the Park along with the Superintendent of Highways, and at this point only the gravel is in place.  The gravel is exactly the width, and the same gravel used as the rest of the trails but after 12 years it is warn, packed, and coated with pine needles. They are currently looking at alternate surfaces.  The current surface lets water seep through and it seems to have held up very well.  The pathway to the Iroquois School is definitely under water and all around the bridge is wet.
The Parks Committee will hold a meeting tomorrow at 11 a.m. and will discuss this topic again.  The results of this meeting will be discussed at next Tuesday’s Agenda Meeting at 7 p.m. Currently, the paths will remain as they are.  The gravel got laid early because of the mild winter.  The Town Board is listening although they may not always get the solution they want
        Supervisor Smith pointed out the misinformation that people had been spreading that the Town planned to pave all of the paths in the Park.  This is not the case.  They are attempting to pave a path through the park that is a stable surface for people of varied skills, abilities, and levels of senior citizens or perhaps people with physical challenges.  People have tried to inflame the issue by saying we are paving all the paths.  

TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
        The minutes of the meeting of March 14 and March 28 were approved as presented.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
        
        Jared Wells, 5312006_104137_0.png, Co-Chair of the Niskayuna Safe Routes Committee, thanked the Town Board for the opportunity to speak and for their support of the Safe Routes concept.  He stated that for many years the Town has expressed a need for non-motorized transportation throughout the Town; however, there is no specific guidance or plan to accomplish this.  The Town Supervisor, in coordination with a number of Town residents, undertook the project of developing a Town-wide plan that provided recommended routes linking as much of the Town as possible as viable transportation alternatives.  
We currently exist in a world where the car is queen and it can be extremely difficult or dangerous to get where you are going without one.  Many of the primary roads in the Town date back to the early days and have limited to no shoulder or even space at the dwellings or businesses that populate them.  Gasoline prices have risen again and it seems to common knowledge that our youth and ourselves don’t get the exercise we need.  
        Niskayuna Safe Routes is just a proposal that we can do something else; make other choices that will make a positive difference.  One could propose to install pathways or sidewalks along the existing primary roads and create another network of pavement.  Besides being ridiculous, this would be prohibitively expensive, encroach on many property owners, and most likely require the destruction of much plant matter including many beautiful old trees that occur along the primary routes.  It makes more sense to use existing infrastructure where possible in key locations where other options are not available to make new connections.  Rosendale and Iroquois Schools, for example, are both accessed by motor vehicles from Rosendale Road.  He is sure no one would encourage their children to walk or ride on Rosendale.  There is a lack of shoulder room and yard space along this route and it’s not really a viable option to install a path or sidewalk.  It would be great to have a connection from Berkeley Avenue, but the intervening land is privately owned.  River Road Park is Town owned, has multiple paths through it, however, the connection to Hempstead can be difficult for some and travel between the Park and School is really only possible when dry.  The mowed school yard can be more difficult than the path in the wet.  
As part of the town-wide plan to make it possible to get places without a car, the Niskayuna Safe Routes Committee recommended unpaved trails making this connection.  The Town (who has much more experience in what people use and how to maintain it) decides how and what to implement in the plan.  The Safe Routes Committee have overheard and been told of conversations where Niskayuna Safe Routes has been blamed for the work efforts in River Road Park.
He believes it is important to discuss both sides of an issue openly without undue emotion or fact spinning.  He personally attempts balance in his life, he participates and supports environmental efforts, but he understands everything involves tradeoffs.  
While originally he was surprised at the Town’s decision to pave, he accepts that the Town makes the decision for what is the appropriate surface to support the majority of the Town’s users and what the short and long term costs of this choice are.  While the decisions to pave were discussed by the Town’s residents, he reflected longer on his decision not to pave.  A 10 to 12’ gravel road is not what he envisioned when he heard “paved.”  It has been clarified that this is just returning to the original of what was in River Road Park.  It looks bigger now because it is new.  He heard it was made that wide to accommodate skiing (which people were complaining about as well as paving) but it appears that this is not a true fact.
People were envisioning a 6’ wide path, which was not that much different than the gravel currently in there already.  Some kids ride the gravel, but many have difficulty.  He runs 150 kids through the area for their “Ride to School” and many do not make it and most have a lot of difficulty in the sand which is a major choke point every year when they go through.  
He has changed his mind and thinks the Town shows the proper vision by deciding on this location for pavement and hopes the Town decides on narrower pavement which will attract more users.  This may be considered detrimental by some, but it is a Town park, not a private sanctuary for the local residents.  Pavement is not the only surface of choice.  The Town should engage in a civilized discussion of appropriate surfaces and make good choices as to where they are applied.  
Part of the surface choice is to look at River Road Park by itself.  The other part of the choice is how it will fit in with the rest of the Town as a whole.  He believes all Town residents should support Niskayuna Safe Routes to lesson dependence on the car as well the physical well being that comes from exercise.  The Committee has proposed routes, and they would be happy to listen to good ideas.  He won’t guarantee they will like your idea or incorporate it; it is probably more likely that if it is a good idea it will be incorporated.
        He asked that Niskayuna Safe Routes not be disparaged.  If there is an issue, he wants to talk about it openly and work on a positive solution.  

        5312006_104137_0.png, is a multi-use user of River Road Park and rides a bike on the paved bike path.  She runs next to the paved bike path on the sand, she skies in the nature preserve, and rides with her children to school.  In the last three years, Bike to School Day has grown from 100 participants to 180.  They promote it as a one-day event because it is not safe to ride on Rosendale Road.  
Kids are not riding to school now the way the paths are set up.  The Committee did not suggest paving a section of River Road Park in their Safe Routes recommendation, but, when the non-paving group was formed it was very negative.  This is a 10-20 year plan that we can move around the Town to include walking, riding bikes, skateboarding, rollerblading, and strollers. Walkers with wheels and residents of the Cerebral Palsey home currently cannot get into River Road Park.  She would like to consider balance and the multi-use of the paths.  We do not want to snow plow if the skiing is good, but after skiing (after a few days) it is dangerous to make the connection through from River Road Park to Hempstead.  
        As we move forward she would like to have reasonable conversations instead of placing blame on the committee or individuals.
        Supervisor Smith announced that Jared and Leslie have been working as Co-Chairs on the Safe Routes Committee and voluntarily putting in many hours of work with the Committee.  They have submitted a map with suggested connections in the Town that hopefully will be incorporated into the Town’s Comprehensive Plan so that it will guide developers and the Town for many years to come.  Paying for these improvements can come from developers, Parkland funds, or we will try and get grants.  Jared and Leslie do not deserve any blame.

        5312006_104137_0.png, thinks there should be money donated to the Niskayuna Skateboard Park because the park is swept with a shovel and people have broken in.  He would like to see security alarms.

        5312006_104137_0.png, has noticed that over the years, the pipes that were put in to drain one side of the River Road path (the way it used to drain naturally before) were put at a level that does not permit any drainage at all because they are too high.  They were installed above the lowest level of the water so the water can’t drain and they were installed very carelessly.  This has created two swamps where mosquitoes fester.  She is against paving because it is dangerous when it gets icy and slippery and does not absorb any water and likes gravel.  She believes the best base is pine needles.  This is a natural trail and she does not believe it should be paved.
        Ms. Lund also noted her concern that the Town Board requests an EIS for the proposed 74-bed adult care home on Consaul Road.  She stated that all issues should be evaluated before the decision is made.  She is very concerned because her garden club is part of the Schaefer House and the Reist Preserve (behind the Bird Sanctuary) is very close to the proposed facility.  There is no buffer between the forever wild parkland (which is low lying wetland which feeds the stream) and the proposed construction site which is up about 10’ of fill.  

        5312006_104137_0.png, felt it seemed that none of the opinions voiced at the public hearing regarding the SUP for Consaul Road were even considered.  By approving the Special Use Permit the future of Consaul will start to erode.  All the single family homes in this rural neighborhood will be subject to zone uncertainty and other disruptions of their quality of life.  By approving this request an oversize building will be built on an undersized lot.  This will change the character of Consaul Road as we now know it.
Reference to a former applicant who obtained a SUP for a care facility was a 28,000 SF facility and a 60-bed home.  This current applicant received variances for a 33,000 SF footprint with 74 beds on the same four acres.  At the time, Hummingbird Manor had not been built and she is sure that residents might have had second thoughts if they knew that this project was on the horizon.  Approval of this will change their environment, tranquility, and even the possibility of their security.  The peace and quiet of the neighborhood will be altered by the increase of traffic and the frequent sound of emergency vehicles that will serve this facility.  Many of the opponents of this facility are Board appointees to the Conservation Council.  Their standing in the community was well respected and regarded and they were chosen for their expert opinions even when it does not agree with the Town Board.  
If the Board cannot postpone or deny this permit due to so little wiggle room she hopes that they might change the very stringent and limited parameters to judge these actions in the future.  The SUP for this property was never implemented since the applicant withdrew the project.  We can only hope this project will also be withdrawn.  

5312006_104137_0.png, stated that he and his neighbors are very concerned about obnoxious and offensive noise in their neighborhood.  The existing Town Code is weak with respect to nuisance noise and addresses farm animals rather than those situations which are now commonly encountered in residential neighborhoods.  They propose that the Town enact and improve legislation that will protect them from more popular offensive behaviors and assure their ability to enjoy a reasonable standard of living in their own home.  
He felt his area, composed of starter families in their first homes, suffers from conditions that make them feel they are not part of Niskayuna.  This past weekend they had to discontinue enjoyment of outside activities due to continual and offensive noise from an adjoining property on his street.  Several hot rod cars are parked on the front lawn with rumbling high performance motors, idling for hour continually as their owners service them with heavy metal music playing.  Over the course of several hours engines are revved as adjustments are made.  
Over the past few weeks police have made numerous stops in response to calls from neighbors and have convinced the offenders to move their operations into the backyard.  But they admit to us that they can only request that they respect their neighbors and cannot make them comply since they do not have the ability to enforce noise restrictions.  Current noise restrictions do not protect family oriented residence since they are virtually unenforceable.  Under the existing Code, police cannot order a noisy resident to cease certain activity since they do not have a decibel meter.  They can only request their cooperation and refer the issue to the Building Department.  The Building Department lacks the ability to respond to offensive noise with a decibel meter on weekends or at night when most such offenses occur.  Additionally, the level of noise is often secondary to the type of noise.  While idling hot rod motors, revving engines, and heavy metal music may not exceed restricted decibel levels, they are offensive and disturbing and significantly reduce the overall quality of our community.
He and his neighbors respectfully request the Board’s assistance in making all parts of Niskayuna hospitable to family oriented residence and pass legislation that will restrict the idling of high performance motors, revving engines, and outdoor music that is audible in another’s home for any significant duration.  The restrictions should be enforceable by police with a fine.  
Supervisor Smith corrected the record to indicate that the police certainly can contact the Building Department who can go out off hours (and they have done so) for example in the case of the Target Store who was taken to court and was fined $5,000. He assured Mr. Budzinski that Scott Kalm will be following up on these issues.  Certainly if there are issues of continuing noise that violate the decibel level people will be fined.  The Board could also look into changing the decibel levels.  Mr. ___ felt that changing the decibel level may or may not be adequate.  It is the offensive type of noise and the continual duration that is disturbing.  

5312006_104137_0.png, attended the meeting representing 26 residents of her neighborhood who signed a petition to request the Board’s consideration regarding the removal of the temporary traffic diverter at the intersection of Heather Lane and Oakmont Street.  They propose that this diverter be replaced by a three-way stop.  In the four years since the temporary diverter has been installed it has been regularly ignored by local traffic.  As residents of the neighborhood, they can attest to numerous people accessing Hexam Gardens by making an illegal left turn from Oakmont Street onto Heather Lane.  They have also witnessed people driving around the diverter to gain access to Hexam Gardens from Hummingbird Manor.  Many of these people are their neighbors.  
Clearly traffic has not increased to the epic proportions which were initially feared.  It is unnecessarily inconvenient for residents of all three neighborhoods to be limited to using Balltown Road to navigate in and out of Hexam Gardens.  It is evident that the diverter has failed its intended purpose and has proven to be nothing but an eye sore.  The serpentine flow of Oakmont Street to Hummingbird Manor has been effective in controlling excessive speed and discouraging commuters who may have been seeking a quick alternate route to access Route 7.  They ask that the Board consider replacing the temporary diverter with a permanent three way stop to safely control the traffic at this intersection.  Residents are permitted free access to adjoining neighborhoods throughout the Town.  To specifically target one neighborhood for limited access is objectionable.  They request unrestricted access to the roads through their neighborhood and make the intersection of Heather Lane and Oakmont Street safe with the installation of a traffic stop.
        Supervisor Smith informed the resident that the Town has engaged a transportation engineer who will look at this.  The plan is to have an informational meeting in May to hear from residents.  The diverter was installed in response to Hexam Garden residents because of the new developments and the Board must hear from everyone again. The temporary diverter was put in because Mohawk Commons was in the early stage of development, as was Oakmont and Hummingbird subdivisions and it was difficult to make a decision on traffic patterns.  Neighbors will be notified when the meeting is scheduled.

        5312006_104137_0.png, spoke in favor of the project at 3359 Consaul Road.  He thinks anything that can be done with the vacant lot would be an improvement to the area.  It is now a dumping ground.  A new project with nice landscaping would enhance the neighborhood.  He has not seen increased traffic from the Glen Eddy, nor does he hear sirens at night.  

        5312006_104137_0.png, requested a SEQR determination for the Special Use Permit for 3359 Consaul Road and urged the Board to find a positive declaration of environmental impact on this project.  She felt the Board should make this determination when there may be significant environmental or planning issues for which more information is needed.  
There are numerous environmental and planning issues that have already come to the Board’s attention such as neighborhood impact, and impact on future development of Consaul Road wetlands; nature preserve; storm water yield down stream; capacity of the sewage plants; questions about the viability of the project and building and what will become of the site if the project does not work.  
Historic preservation is another question.  The old site will be vacated and the Board must consider what will happen to this site.  She also questioned whether this was a suitable project and use for this site.  Is there enough green space; it is close enough to public transportation?  

5312006_104137_0.png, thinks it is extremely important to get an EIS before anything further is done at 3359 Consaul Road.  

5312006_104137_0.png, Chair of Schenectady Heritage Foundation, (a group that fosters historic preservation in Schenectady County).  The Foundation urged the Board to go forward with a full SEQR review on the 3359 Consaul Road project.  She stated that there are going to be a lot of historic preservation issues that will be impacted by building the new project.  The Board cannot look at this as an isolated project, but must look at the project holistically and see how it will impact the current Ingersoll building that they will be selling.  A SEQR review would allow the public to comment on the importance of the historic property.

5312006_104137_0.png, as a registered nurse who has visited the current Ingersoll Home has found that the current building has nothing to offer, although it may be a beautiful piece of property.  She feels it is very unsafe for the elderly and thinks it would be in the best interest of the elderly for the home to move to Consaul Road.  

5312006_104137_0.png, feels the area of Consaul Road has experienced a lot of development lately which is drawing children toward Mohawk Commons. She feels this whole section of the Town is a magnet for pedestrian traffic and this aspect is being ignored.  With the addition of another facility she would like to see a sidewalk.     
Supervisor Smith stated that they are required to construct a sidewalk at the site and Hummingbird Manor will have sidewalks up to Hannaford Plaza.  

5312006_104137_0.png, is in favor of the 3359 Consaul Road project and would like to see this property enhanced.  He feels sure that environmental issues can be resolved through proper engineering.  His property backs up to the property and he knows there is enough of a buffer that he will not be able to see the new building.  This property does not back up to the bird sanctuary, Hannaford and Hummingbird Manor are in between.  

5312006_104137_0.png, Member of the Conservation Committee, Safe Routes Committee, and also served on the Comprehensive Plan Committee that developed Plan 2003.  He has looked at the property at 3359 Consaul Road and while the developer has provided wet land delineation, both the DEC and Schenectady County have recommended that the Army Corps of Engineers look at the property to re-delineate it because the delineation was done a long time ago and wetlands shifts and move around.  He walked the property recently and it is wet and vulnerable to back-ups. He encouraged the Board to do a positive declaration and require an EIS because of a negative impact on the neighborhood; wetland issues; close to the natural area composed of the Reist Sanctuary; forever wild Hummingbird area, and the Brendon Lane forever wild area.  These areas are a great natural part of the Town and should be protected.
SEQR won’t inhibit the developer from developing the land but will insure that the best possible decisions are made for this property.  It will weigh the social, economic, and environmental impacts versus the developer’s right to develop.  If the Town does the SEQR we will flush out the issues before the project starts.  If it is appropriate to build this home on this site it will provide the Planning Committee with the tools it needs to insure that this is not an eye sore.   He felt the Town should not go into this without getting all of the information. The Special Use Permit is the tool the Town can use to insure that the character of the neighborhood is not impacted.  
Supervisor Smith noted that DEC stated that the delineation is an old one and the wetlands could have gravitated or grown so a new delineation was done January 25, 2006 and they found that there is a small wetland in the bird sanctuary which does not come close to the property.  The SEQR gives the Board the right to make judgments on adverse impacts.  The Conservation Advisory Council vote was not unanimous and was split four to four.  In some cases the Board has gone against the CAC when it suggested a negative declaration.  DEC stated that if they are going to disturb more than 1/10th of an acre then the Army Corp should make a determination.  They are not disturbing more than 1/10th of an acre. The Board is also very interested in doing the best job possible.
Town Planner Kathy Matern stated that the applicant’s engineer hired someone to do the delineation.  This can be taken to the Army Corp to be verified.  They are disturbing less than 1/10th of an acre so the Army Corp has no involvement.  They have been asked to look at it.   

5312006_104137_0.png, stated her concern for cats that damage private property and she requested control over cats.  

5312006_104137_0.png, wanted it on the record that the developer of 3359 Consaul Road said he would install a buffer of trees between his lot and the care home.  The land now is currently an eyesore and something will be built.  They have talked to him about purchasing his property and he feels like he is being forced out.

SPECIAL DISTRICTS
        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.

        Resolution 2006-92 authorizes the purchase of a 40-yard roll-off container from Wastequip, at a cost not to exceed $4,900.

GENERAL RESOLUTIONS
        Resolution 2006-93 authorizes the purchase of two police cars from Major Automotive Company, at a total cost not to exceed $33,743.

        Resolution 2006-94 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a maintenance agreement for maintenance of the 800 MHz radio system for the Police Department.

        Resolution 2006-95 approves the application of a Special Use Permit for 3359 Consaul Road for the Ingersoll Home with conditions.  The resolution was approved with a vote of 3 ayes, with Councilman Chapman and Councilwoman Kasper voting no.
        Supervisor Smith has been out to the building site on several occasions.  The Environmental Quality Review Act calls upon the Town Board to make a determination as to significant impacts.  He has read all of the materials, the information from DEC, the varied reports from the County and other agencies, reviewed the SEQR Act and he is prepared to make a decision relative to significance the Special Use Permit.
Councilman Chapman has a lot of trouble with the Special Use Permit and asked if based on testimony the Board heard tonight if there is any support in tabling the resolution in favor of a positive declaration on the project to consider the issues such character, wetland, bird sanctuary.  He made a motion that the Board table the SUP and at their next session they prepare a resolution for a positive declaration for the project.  There was no second on the motion.
Councilwoman Kasper believes that the key to the project is whether the project would stand on its own merit.  Unfortunately it involves a very emotional issue with the historic Ingersoll Home and the project must be decided on its own merit.  Her focus is on the property, its impact, and how it was going to be used.  She feels she does not need the SEQR process to make a decision today.  Her decision will be based on what she knows and what she thinks is right for this piece of property even though she does not want to see the Ingersoll Home go.  
Councilwoman O’Donnell stated that she has had the opportunity to review all of the material, has visited the site and walked the plan and she is prepared to vote tonight.  Councilwoman Freund agreed.
Councilman Chapman believed that the Board should deny the SUP.  The project is too intense for the site, it does not fit the neighborhood, and it is not a good fit for its intended use.  
The Board does not need an overriding reason to deny the SUP, our ordinance is clear that SUP’s may be authorized by the Town Board upon satisfaction of each instance of such conditions as to the general character, height, and use of land, buildings, or structures.  An earlier 28,000 SF structure approved by the Board in 1998, did not have an internal drive, had walk paths and was reduced to a 60-unit facility.
This proposal will overwhelm the site.  It will be 350’ long, the pavement will be 15’ to the west property line, only 8’ to the back property, 21’ from the edge of pavement to the edge of Consaul Road and there still be a walkway within that and will be 32’ high.  The roof and pavement will take up 45% of the 4 acre parcel.  The building consumes much of the lot without much green space.  It is not appropriate for the R-1 neighborhood with homes on either side.  The Town’s Master Plan states the Town’s intention that Consaul Road would stay residential. If they had 1/100th more wetland they would have to do an Army Corp jurisdictional wetland review on this.  He believed that the part of the roadway will go over a stream (although this was disputed by members of the Board).
County Planning recommended that no action be taken until the Army Corp of engineers was given an opportunity to comment on the proposal and determine if any special conditions are imposed or mitigation required.  Since 150’ of the stream will be piped and covered they must notify the district engineer who must waive the limitation on stream impacts before the applicant may proceed.  Given that this is a classified tributary to the Lishakill, it may also be considered a protected stream by the DEC and subject to additional state regulations.
When they walk the site they can see a ravine with water running through it.  They are putting in additional piping and will have to do some fill to get the roadway in and to him this is disturbing a water course.  
Financially, Ingersoll has stated that they are struggling and they are losing money and dipping into their endowment.  He asked to review financial data and thinks it would be helpful.  If they have a financial analysis that they would make it if they moved to this facility he thinks the Board should have access to this data. He described precedent with two prior projects in Town where the Board required escrow accounts so adequate funds would be available to complete the project and insure that the project would be financial feasible for the applicant.  
The building and pavement take up so much space there is little green space. The roads around are very busy and they view the back entrance to Mohawk Mall.  There is little of-site parking for visitors.  A majority of speakers have been against this project.  There are few sidewalks or places to walk and it is a ¾ mile walk to the bus stop on State Street.  
Supervisor Smith stated that the County was wrong on the 150’ feet.  The criteria are 200’ and DEC did not comment on the tributary when shown the plans.  Therefore, 150’ and less than 1/10th acres does not come under the jurisdiction of the Army Corp.  The Army Corp’s opinion has been requested.  They are not withholding this information; they are not required to submit this information.    

Councilwoman O’Donnell said she did not think it was fair to characterize that they are unwilling to give us financial information when the Board has not made this direct request.  She felt we cannot pick and choose which projects require financial requirements and which do not.  
Supervisor Smith stated that he felt compelled to vote yes because he believes that the requirements we have under SEQR and under the SUP allows us to make a determination to not go forward.  He believes the information they have suggests that there is not a significant impact environmentally and the SEQR allows them to make that determination.  He believes that a SUP consistent with other SUP permits for other facilities throughout the Town was granted. This is allowed under the ordinance under the SUP and he believes if they deny this it would put the Town in a position of serious liability.
That being said, he hopes that the developers (and the commitment that they have made in his discussions with them) will look very hard to save the Sanford House. But he doesn't know whether or not they will be able to do that.  He hopes that the County Historical Society after 200 years would not have waited until the last minute to deal with this.  Our own Town Historian waited until the last minute to deal with this after we had discussed this for 1-1/2 years.    He believes most of the negative comments were attempt to stop the project so that the Stanford House would be saved.  For the Board to do that would potentially be an irresponsible vote.  He did not think you should use one project to stop another project.  
  
Resolution 2006-96 authorizes computer training courses for Town employees at a total cost of $3,000.

Resolution 2006-97 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a renewal agreement for telephone services with Choice One Communication, for one year, effective immediately.

Resolution 2006-98 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract for the public display of fireworks by Empire State Fireworks for Niska-Day, at a cost of $8,500.

Resolution 2006-99 appoints Paul Shelmandine to the Niskayuna Tree Council for a term of office that expires April 14, 2009.

Resolution 2006-100 accepts a bid for a new 2006 Wacker RD27-120 Hydrostatic Vibratory Roller for the Highway Department for a total cost of $28,450.

Resolution 2006-101 authorizes Frank E. Gavin to attend the 2006 Highway School on June 5-8 in Ithaca, at a cost of $85.00.

Resolution 2006-102 authorizes the purchase of polyethylene drainage pipe for Public Works from Advanced Drainage Systems, at a cost not to exceed $30,000.

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



 
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