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Town Board Minutes 12/12/06
AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 12TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2006, AT THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT;

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

        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Amy Houlihan, Assessor; Lew Moskowitz, Chief of Police; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
        Public Hearing No. 1 – Considers the formation of Sewer Extension No. 116 to Sewer District No. 6 for 3359 Consaul Road.  
        Brett Steenburgh, Engineer for the applicant, stated that the sewer extension would encompass the entire Ingersoll parcel.  There is an existing sewer main which exits Hummingbird Manor and runs in front of the property on an easement.  It is their proposal to connect into the existing sewer main via a 6” sewer lateral from the front of the building with a cleanout about half way through.
        Councilman Chapman stated that when Hummingbird Manor came in the Town asked them for a generator at the Becker Street pump station but the generator is not in place yet.  The Town has asked the Cedar Hills subdivision for upgrades to their pumps as well as do a clean out on one of the lines. He wondered what upgrade would be needed to handle the flow from this project and he wondered if  the Town should ask for escrow money if it turns out we need additional upgrades to manage increased flow.  He wants to be sure that we have given ourselves enough time to look at the project and ask the developer to add a generator or other upgrade since they will be using the Becker Street pump station.
When this developer first approached the town, the Becker Street pump did not have the capacity to handle Cedar Hills who were in the process of resolving this problem.  Since they have now made improvements, they have exceeded the level required.  They have given us a pump station that will not only take care of the Cedar Hills development, but also has extra capacity.  The pumping is only one function of a pump station.  Added to this is emergency backup power (which is taken care of).  Although the generator is not in yet, it is all set up.  
   Another improvement that should be made is a flow meter.  Calculations have been made as to how much flow is coming into the pump station and the developer reported how much flow was going through the station which was reviewed by the Engineer.  There will be a daily average increase and an increase in the peak hourly flow.  If you look at just the pumping aspect, the pumps and force main that are in there today have enough capacity to handle Ingersoll.
Councilwoman Kasper noted that the extension was on the agenda for vote at tonight’s meeting and she requested that Mr. Pollock look at the extension as it seems like a lot of connections onto an existing system.  Everyone has had to improve the system, why hasn’t this developer needed to improve the system.  She recalled past history where the Valarie Drive and Kimberly Court subdivisions thought they had enough capacity, but then didn’t.  
Mr. Steenburgh stated that the Town Engineer, required the developers of Cedar Hills Subdivision to upgrade the Becker Street pump station so that it could pump at least 400 gallons per minute (g.p.m.).  The upgrades made actually exceeded the requirements by 100 g.p.m., providing a pumping rate of 500 g.p.m.  This extra 100 g.p.m. became "available capacity" for future developments.  The calculated peak flow from the new Ingersoll Residence is 17-1/2 g.p.m. (which is equivalent to the peak flow generated by fifteen 4-bedroom houses).  The 17-1/2 g.p.m. peak flow from the new Ingersoll Residence will use up less than 20% of the 100 g.p.m. "available capacity", leaving more than 80% for future development.  In other words, there will be more than 80 g.p.m. of peak pumping capacity available for others to use in the future.
Councilman Chapman suggested a couple of weeks to think about this project and their tie in to the current system.  This development will benefit from the Oakmont subdivision putting in the generator and the upgrades that the Cedar Hills subdivision has performed.  There will be other development coming along that will tie into this pump station. He wants to make sure if we need more capacity he would like these thought about before we establish this extension.
Mr. Pollock informed Councilwoman O’Donnell that if the Board were to delay establishing this extension, the only additional item would be to pin down the price of the flow meter.  The developer’s representative stated their agreement to purchase and install the meter.    
Councilwoman Kasper was concerned that they are connecting on to something that everybody else made better, including Cedar Hills who hasn’t broken ground yet.  Their efforts increased the flow by 100 gallons so this project could get on.  The developer also agreed to rebuild the pumps but it turned out this didn’t need to be done.

        2222007_11915_0.png was told that Highbridge of Schenectady is the applicant for Sewer Extension No. 116.  He stated that the business plan and projected cost of the project on Consaul Road as filed with the Department of Health, is $11.4 million.  
When the Town extends sewer service and form a new extension the Town tries to accommodate or question residents in the vicinity to see if they can make a larger extension which in the long run is less expensive for everyone.  Dr. Reilly inquired if Mr. Hamlin’s property is already in the sewer district.  He was informed that Cosselman is located on the Hummingbird side (west) and Mr. Hamlen’s is on the east.  Richard Pollock stated that this home has received a sewer stub from Hummingbird Manor subdivision and he may be an outside user.  Dr. Reilly felt this was an important difference because if he is merely an outside user when a district approaches he should be asked to join.  This is another reason that it is premature to go ahead tonight with this extension.  He wondered if there were other properties that might go along with this to make a somewhat larger extension.
        Hummingbird Manor has not installed a generator because as it turned out they didn’t have to put in a bigger pump station they just needed new pumps.  Had they been forced to put in bigger pumps, this would have affected the size of the generator required.  Knowing that the generator sizing might have been impacted by the Cedar Hills development, he felt it was not wise to not install the generator until after the pump size was determined.  If the Hamlen property were developed, it would probably use the Becker Street pump station.  Councilman Chapman wondered if the 100 gallon excess we have is enough or should be looking at a larger pump.  Mr. Pollock felt that the 100 gallon excess is quite a bit of capacity.  Supervisor Smith stated that if the Hamlen property is developed, he might have to upgrade the pump station.      

Public Hearing No. 2 – considers amendment of the Code to increase the maximum income eligibility limits for persons sixty-five years of age or over.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing No. 3 – considers amendment of the Code to increase the maximum income eligibility limits for persons with disabilities.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

        2222007_11915_0.png, was informed about the 2007 Town Board meeting schedule, the amount of square footage and permitted use allowed for the current zoning of the Ingersoll property on State Street;

        2222007_11915_0.png, was informed that the Ingersoll Home is an Assisted Living facility.  

        2222007_11915_0.png, stated that “Ingersoll thought that in 2002 they might expand where they were and no one would object to that.  Because they did not want to pay $6 million then, now they will pay $11 million.  We did not stand in the way of some of the tricks that were used to try to get them off that land so it could be developed.  The only people that will really lose if this doesn’t go through are developers who are going to benefit after 80 years of this the Town subsidizing it as a tax exempt property.  Now someone comes along and sees that they can make millions on it and that’s what we are against.  Destroying something valuable for the temporary increase in income of a handful of people.”
        Supervisor Smith asked for an explanation of “tricks.”  Ms. Champagne explained “to get them off the land when they could have easily just closed their mission (because their mission is over), was to convince them to take an $11 million debt when before they weren’t willing to take a $6 million debt and use the land where they were, where the people going into that facility would have a decent place to stay. We also know that there will be other costs to the Town, County, and State if you subsidize 74 people in a facility (they will be subsidized by State tax money and Social Security and so forth).  It is half the cost to keep those people in their home.  Some of them need to be in institutions but obviously after the Commission we just went through the excessive beds in this State and the cost financially to us for maintaining new big facilities, economically it is not good for any of us.  

        2222007_11915_0.png, stated that she is new on the scene and people have only visited with her for the last couple of weeks about this project.  Her dad, was very proud that Ingersoll had made his mansion a senior citizen home for these old men.  She feels like people like herself are not well informed about the logistics, the finances, the impact on the community, and what is going on.  She feels her initial reaction to tearing down the building and putting in a mall or businesses was “if Ingersoll was not financially equipped to continue on, why are they moving on to another facility on Consaul Road to put together $8 or $10 million dollars of debt.”  She isn’t well educated as to what this means, but feels that a decision still cannot be made about the future of Consaul Road or the Ingersoll Home until we realize the future of our community.
        If Bellevue Hospital closes, what is the future of our community and what will become of that property?  The Town forefathers in Manchester, VT dragged their feet before finding somebody to refurbish the Equinox and made it a landmark. There are a lot of old people and old money in the Town and we have to preserve an institution like Ingersoll.  Maybe it can be put to good use some other way before tearing it down and before creating tremendous debt to the Town with another nursing home facility.  Supervisor Smith stated that it will not create any debt to the Town.

        2222007_11915_0.png, referenced the question of historic eligibility and stated that “any structure 50 years old or more can apply to be declared eligible.  Gaining that eligibility is a different matter and not everybody that applies gets a declaration of eligibility.  A final step would be only if the owner agrees it should go on the State and National roll.  This is the barrier to having the building go on the roll.  
        Dr. Reilly stated that he feels this project has been segmented and Consaul Road and Balltown Road are intimately connected.  The idea that they are concerned about Consaul only because if that were stopped there wouldn’t be a trade of properties to enable The Crossings to go through is not the only concern.  If that is the way the home and its beautiful setting is preserved so be it.  At the people that lived close to the Consaul Road facility and argued vehemently with the Town that they were being adversely affected by drainage and other matters could still raise a series concern to that going through.  He reminded the Board that at the time they voted to approve that Special Use Permit, there was an objection from the County in place which was removed later..  Supervisor Smith disagreed, stating  there was no objection from the County; they suggested that it should be reviewed by the Army Corps.  They did not object to the project.  
        He didn’t understand that they interfered with the financing.  This was up to the County IDA.  They were going to have a hearing and it never got called.  He doesn’t know how this happened and it did increase the cost.  Now we go to the Department of Health who has a Phase I approval and requested documents through FOIL.  He requested that they show him an exchange of documents where they ask an opinion from anyone from Schenectady County with regard to the feasibility of the Consaul Road project.  He hasn’t received a response yet.  The question will arise “could a Building Permit be issued based only on their Phase I approval and he did not think so.  Supervisor Smith understood that it could be issued when the building is built.  Phase II is emergency procedures, etc.  Dr. Reilly stated that there was a financial plan filed that was based on the less expensive bonding cost if it had met IDA approval and that has not been amended to say “sorry about that.”  Now we will have to borrow at a much higher rate of interest.  The Town Board seemed to think it was never their concern whether Consaul Road was financially viable so as not to leave a half filled project along the way or soon after occupancy if it doesn’t make it.  Within three years Ingersoll hopes to approach 90% or more occupancy of the new building.
        Supervisor Smith asked if all projects built through the years, required that the developer provide financials to show that they could do the project?  Dr. Reilly stated that it depended on the nature of the project, the importance of the facility, and citizen concerns about it.
        He isn’t sure that the Ingersoll still has to provide charity.  According to the trust under which they were set up, they should provide charity, but it doesn’t appear that the Attorney General is interested in enforcing that.  They are merely saying that if they meet the requirements of being a 5013C Corporation they are eligible to accept charity.  They are not obligated to provide it anymore unless the Attorney General wanted to argue that the trust agreement under which it was set up is no longer being followed and should be and, therefore, they have lost their mission.  They are embarking on a new mission of providing assisted living and some Alzheimer care at a new facility.
        He would hope that the Town would not issue a Building Permit until the final approval is obtained.  There is still the question of when Ingersoll went to the Attorney General and then to the Surrogate Court to be relieved of the need for a five-acre site which they obtained without the judge appointing a guardian as he had done 10 years earlier on a similar request.  
Ingersoll did not ask for relief from the requirement in the trust that the Home be on a street with public surface transportation.  In the application to the Department of Health, the wording is “the new home would be across from a mall (the back entrance to Niskayuna Commons), which is served by a bus” (on State Street).  This is no closer to the new home then going up to the corner of Consaul and Balltown where they will be new bus service.  CDTA stated there is no written application from Ingersoll or Highbridge or anyone asking for service on Consaul.  Apparently, there is the hope that they won’t notice and like in horseshoes “close is good enough.”  Dr. Reilly stated that the words say “on,” they do not say “near” and to his knowledge they haven’t gone back to the Judge to ask for one more dispensation to build on a street that does not have public transportation and on which CDTA tells him that there may be a possibility that they will start a feeder service on Consaul sometime in the next few years but these lines run only on weekdays.  This might happen, but it might not.
Supervisor Smith stated that the Town is meeting with CDTA and DOT on January 10 to discuss this. There is some hope that CDTA reviewing and possibly rethinking their position on bus transportation in that corridor.
Councilman Chapman stated that regarding economic viability of projects, it is something that we have asked about on other projects (for example Reggie Scott’s inn). There was concern that Grand Union might go bankrupt and we asked for a substantial escrow to make sure that they could complete the building.  They also had a second escrow to make sure the grounds were properly maintained (which we still have).  The building was finished and Grand Union did go bankrupt so it was not unreasonable for the Town to have that concern.  When an inn was originally approved we asked for a market study which was provided.  Ingersoll has indicated they are financially shaky so the precedent to ask is there.  We did ask at the public hearing if they would share the financial study they had done on feasibility but it was not shared.

        2222007_11915_0.png, noted that “there was a distinct difference with Mr. Scott’s application for the inn because the first part was to rezone the land.  At that point the feasibility of the use and financial statements were relevant.  In terms of putting a use that is already allowed is a very different matter and there are constraints upon what questions may be asked.” She referred the Board to the State Municipal Law on this issue because that is what is the guide for the Planning Board. They must abide by both the Town Law and State Municipal Law.  She would like to encourage anybody else to take the time to read these laws to understand their legal obligations.

SPECIAL DISTRICTS RESOLUTIONS
        Resolution 2006-265 accepts bids for the purchase of certain chemicals to be used by  Public Works in 2007.

        Resolution 2006-266 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a lease agreement with Cellco Partnership dba Verizon Wireless, to permit the installation of an antenna on the water tower of Consolidated Water District No. 1 for an annual fee of $21,600.

        Resolution 2006-267 authorizes the installation of fencing surrounding the Wastewater Treatment Plant facility from Haley Brothers, at a cost not to exceed $13,500.

        Resolution 2006-268 authorizes the issuance of a Request for Proposals for the construction of a new well.

        Resolution 2006-269 calls for a public hearing January 9, 2007 at 7 p.m. to consider amendment of the Vehicle & Traffic Code to provide for Stop signs on Toriana Court at Ferris Road; Laurel Lane at Rosemary Drive; Michelle Way at Somerset Street; Somerset Street at Ferris Road; and Reilly Way at Balltown Road.

        Tabled Resolution, Sewer Extension No. 116.
At this time, a proposed resolution regarding the formation of Sewer Extension 116 to Sewer District No. 6 for 3359 Consaul Road was discussed.
        Councilwoman Kasper wondered if the Town Board had complete knowledge of everything that has to be done. She wondered why they were voting on a resolution the same night as the Public Hearing when one of their rules is they can be voted on if nothing comes up on the Public Hearing; otherwise they hold the resolution.  She does not want the home on Consaul Road and voted against it, but now that it is passed, she wants to make sure that the sewer extension is done right.  She comes away from tonight’s discussion with vague knowledge about what improvements need to be made and the costs. She requested tabling the resolution until next week and her questions are answered.  Councilwoman O’Donnell expressed her concern of what additional work Mr. Pollock would do in the next week or two if we don’t have specific questions.  He is saying that the extension is all taken care of.  Are we delaying it for him to do no additional work?
        Councilman Chapman wondered if a resident is an outside user and a line goes by your home and you now benefit it was his understanding that the resident is required to join the extension.  He believed that the line goes from Hummingbird past the Ingersoll proposed home, past Cosselman’s, and he wondered if he is required to join the district.  
Supervisor Smith stated that Cosselman he was not legally required to join Hummingbird but a stub was put into his house and he choice not to join. If he chooses to go in he would be an outside user of the Hummingbird extension because that is where the stub is.  This is now another extension that goes in front of the Ingersoll property.  
Councilman Chapman asked if two weeks would be too much to ask Mr. Pollock to be sure of any improvements that we may want. Councilwoman Kasper asked why the flow meter was not included in the $4,000 and the Special Districts Committee has not talked about putting in a flow meter. Mr. Pollock stated that when Cedar Hills went for their sewer district extension the Town did not include the restriction about upgrading the pumps in the sewer district extension itself.  It was included as part of the subdivision approval process.  The situation was the same for Flower Hill who had to upgrade the pump station pursuant to subdivision approval. It is not necessarily included in the legal language of granting the extension.  
Councilwoman O’Donnell expressed her concern that there is talk about this project coming in after Cedar Hill and she hoped they were just not looking for more things for the developer to have to pay for.  She wants it done right, but just because they are coming in after another development and someone else had to pay for improvements, if there is real needs for things, the Board should look at it.
Councilman Chapman didn’t think that the Board got adequate notice that this resolution was on the agenda tonight.  Part of the problem was that the developer thought that they were in the district.  After DEC approved the district, the extension was placed on tonight’s agenda pending substantive comment from the public.  Supervisor Smith apologized that he did not notify the Board that this resolution would be voted on tonight.
        Mr. Pollock stated that the pipe geometry will dictate the size of the pit and whether they can put the pit into the size of the existing pump station enclosure or if you have to be a distance away.  If we condition the extension on a flow meter pending site plan approval, this information could be included.  Mr. Pollock suggested he put it back on the developer’s engineer to do the leg work to come up with an estimate and submit it for his review and then he would look at the figures to see if he agrees.
Councilman Chapman asked Mr. Pollock if he had a week to think about other improvements that we might need at the Becker Street pump station, other than what he looking at right now, are there other things in our other pump stations that we have that we should be requiring for this?  Mr. Pollock stated that we are putting in lights.  Supervisor Smith stated that DEC has approved this and the only purpose he sees tonight is delay.  Councilwoman Kasper felt that if the Engineer doesn’t have all the information she does not feel comfortable about going ahead.
A motion was made to table this resolution until January 2, 2007 failed.
A second motion was made to table the resolution until December 19, 2007 which passed, as long as the Board received information on the improvements Mr. Pollock feels the Town needs (ex. flow meter) and an estimate of cost.

GENERAL RESOLUTIONS
        
        Resolution 2006-270 calls for a public hearing January 9, 2007 at 7:05 p.m. to consider the amendment of the Official Map to eliminate the paper streets known as Michael Avenue and Mitchell Avenue.

        Resolution 2006-271 authorizes serial bonds for various capital improvements, not to exceed $107,500.

        Resolution 2006-272 authorizes serial bonds for assessment evaluation review and revaluation review of real property in the Town, in the amount not to exceed $379,225.

        Resolution 2006-273 authorizes serial bonds for the acquisition of equipment for various Sewer and Water Districts, not to exceed $750,000.

        Resolution 2006-274 authorizes serial bonds for the acquisition of various Highway maintenance and operations equipment, not to exceed $570,000.

        Resolution 2006-275 authorizes the Supervisor to retain GAR Associates, effective January 1, 2007 to provide reassessment services for the Town at a cost of $379,225.

        Resolution 2006-276 authorizes the use of $2,060 from Reserve Funds for Highway Repairs and Improvements.

        Resolution 2006-277 authorizes the transfer of the remaining balance of $350,500 of the Repair Reserve Fund to the Capital Improvement Reserve Fund for Consolidated Water District No. 1.

        Resolution 2006-278 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a renewal agreement with the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady for impounding dogs for 2007.

        Resolution 2006-279 authorizes the purchase of a 20 cubic yard roll off container for use at the Transfer Station at a cost not to exceed $7,500.

        Resolution 2006-280 authorizes a one year extension to the contract for the disposal of the Town’s yard waste from  William Biers, and S. M. Gallivan.

        Resolution 2006-281 accepts bids for the purchase of various materials to be used by the Public Works operations during 2007.

        Resolution 2006-282 authorizes advertising for bids for the purchase of a new 2006 or newer six-wheel and a ten-wheel diesel powered conventional truck cab and chassis for the Highway Department.

        Resolution 2006-283 modifies the rate of compensation of certain employees in the Recreation Program.

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

                                        Helen Kopke, Town Clerk
        

        



 
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