AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA, DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 27TH DAY OF MAY, 2008, AT THE TOWN BOARD ROOM, ONE NISKAUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT;
JULIE M. MCDONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
MARIA P. FREUND, COUNCILWOMAN
DIANE P.O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
JOE LANDRY, SUPERVISOR
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathleen Gansfuss, Director of Recreation; and Lew Moskowitz, Chief of Police.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the Town Board of April 29 and May 15, 2008 were approved as presented.
Public Hearing No. 1: A public hearing was held to consider the approval of a Special Use Permit to allow for the reuse of 1758 Union Street as a medical/professional office.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2: A public hearing was held to consider the adoption of a Local Law which would prohibit smoking in the Niskayuna Town Parks.
XXXXXXXXX, Niskayuna, plus two other students from Schenectady High School, spoke representing Reality Check which is a youth movement that is adult supported and whose aim is to expose the tobacco industry’s influence and impact on children and youth. They would like tobacco advertisements to be eliminated from locations such as amusement parks like Great Escape and also from parks. They noted that certain children’s entertainment characters are seen smoking and it has become the norm for children to see tobacco use in ads. They cited the dangers of second-hand smoke, liter from cigarettes and the acceptance of smoking when it is seen in family-friendly locations.
They presented a resolution for tobacco-free parks and stated that 83.9% of Niskayuna adults do not smoke according to the 2007 Syracuse Tobacco Survey.
XXXXXXXX, Rankin Road and co-chair with Niskayuna Mom’s Group, stated that the group encouraged the Board to adopt this Local Law to prohibit smoking in parks.
XXXXXXXX, Vice President, Niskayuna Little League, stated that their Board unanimously passed a resolution to ban smoking at Blatnick Park and the lower fields because they thought it would be a good example for youth.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
XXXXXXX, representing Niskayuna Red Storm Travel Baseball Program, an organization that is an offshoot of the Niskayuna baseball program, requested that the Board consider their desperate need for more playing fields within Town. Their group does not have a lease with the Town and he asked the Board to consider their program.
XXXXXXX, 2421 Troy Road, works with Friends of Stanford Home, who for 2-1/2 years has been trying to protect the site across from Mohawk Commons. The current building is a valuable structure which could be used for many things. The Town has a lot of empty commercial space and we don’t need more commercial land use.
She asked the Town consider a limited building moratorium for 6-12 months to consider valuable sites which are not included currently in our Comprehensive Plan. Surveys of these structures were conducted in 1975 and 1985 and all (including the Stanford site) would be protected.
XXXXXXXX, Avon Crest Boulevard, spoke on behalf of a group of concerned Avon Crest area homeowners. An Avon Crest area property owner on the corner of St. David’s Lane and Avon Crest Boulevard has requested that their property be included in the Schenectady County Agricultural District. This district is designed to protect farm land and not have this land turn into residential land or prevent farmers from doing what they need to do to farm (which occasionally may be distasteful to the community) such as odors or dust. This is a residential property in the middle of a residential community that is attempting to be included in this district for purposes of developing a substantial agricultural business that, as they understand it, will operate in wetlands, have
vehicle traffic increase, and initially be a nursery type complex.
Agriculture Districts operate under a State law and every County can have their own districts. These districts are given protections and privileges against things like Town zoning regulations or construction or permitting requirements. The district is intended to protect farmers against local laws which unreasonably restrict farm operations located within the districts. Once the County designates this property as part of this district, they understand that any sales of residences that abut this property must acknowledge that they are near an agriculture district and before land is sold they must disclose that farming activities could cause noise, dirt, smoke, and odors.
They believe that the characterization of a lawn and adjacent wet lands as farmlands is a mischaracterization. If this is done, the Town will have issues dealing with preventing the property owner from having a green house and roads. Once approved, they wonder what would prevent this property owner from acquiring additional non-contiguous properties either in Town or in other Towns in the County and declaring them part of his district. There is no difference between this property and many other properties in the Town and he believes anyone with a lawn adjacent to a wetland can make this request to the County and then conduct themselves as if they are a farm and be afford the protections and privileges of a farm.
They group requested that the Town determine if there are serious consequences to the Town where others can take this designation and hopefully to voice the Board’s support in the mischaracterization of this residential plot as farmland in their interaction with the County. There is a County public hearing June 10 and representatives from their group will appear.
He asked for help in maintaining the excellent quality of our community life.
They understand that there is a five acre minimum requirement for inclusion in an agriculture district and his application indicates a little over 3 acres. They believe the owner may have other properties already classified with the pieces adding up to five acres. He has an irregular lot, variances were granted to allow him to build, he abuts wet lands and has a very aggressive plan to make the most of the designation he wishes to obtain. They understand that the County Agricultural Board has formally recommended this property (one of seven) to be included in this district.
It is the first Town Attorney Dickson had heard of such a designation. Supervisor Landry is aware of the Agricultural Board that reviews requests and make recommendations to the Legislature who votes if they agree or disagree with the recommendations. It is strictly a County process and prior to the designations the Agriculture Board will make their recommendations which is followed by a Public Hearing.
The Avon Crest group is concerned about their neighborhood and the Town. It was recommended that Mr. Mannino share the information he had gathered with the Town Board and County Legislatures.
XXXXXXXX, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, and member of the Planning Board, stated this is the first she has heard of this proposal and noted that when the Town is considering a proposal along a County road the Town refers it to the County for their input and it would be nice if they returned the courtesy.
XXXXXXXX, 783 Avon Crest Boulevard, and Planning Board Member, stated if her property abuts an agriculture district she probably would not have purchased it since it would be using pesticides. If she sells her home she would have to disclose this district and she believes she will lose value on her home as a result. She asked the Board to influence the County Legislature that their R1 residential S116 special designation by DEC should not be converted to agriculture-protected lands which might take precedence over wetlands.
Councilwoman Freund: Niska-Day Liaison & Public Works Committee, thanked numerous volunteers who made Niska-Day a huge success at Craig School. Next meeting of the Public Works Committee is Wednesday, June 4, 7:30 a.m. in the Paul Schaffer Room.
Councilwoman Kasper Police & Parks Committee, announced a Sergeant promotion and Dispatcher hire in the Police Department. Proposed Park projects include resurfacing the tennis courts at Avon Crest Park; a turnstile for the Skateboard Park, and they are investigating County property on the other side of Albany Street for a possible park.
Councilwoman O’Donnell, Transportation Committee, said discussions are still in process to get the Grange restored, maintained, and given another use. They are discussing a partnership with ECOS who has been able to get grants in the past. They wish to get the Grange secure as far as the foundation and work on the interior and have committed to have a draft document ready by June 15. At the next agenda meeting she will bring up plans to get power at the Train Station.
Councilwoman McDonnell, Education & Recreation Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Community Center. They are currently working on summer programming and the brochure is now available on the web site and at schools. They are trying to include all this information in the school district mailing each year.
On-line credit card soccer registration for the fall is planned as a convenience to residence and a more timely registration process. The firm selected handles registration and payment and also helps provide rosters and will help communicate with everyone registered and will also help us prompt people to sign up for next year.
They are looking to pilot a pre-k section of the playground camp for the last week of the summer. The camp currently serves children from kindergarten through 7th grade.
Next meeting, Wednesday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.
Supervisor Landry announced that the Finance & General Government Committee will meet on Monday, June 9 at 6 p.m. in the Paul Schaffer Room. The Economic Development Committee will meet Thursday, June 5 at 4:30 in the Paul Schaffer Room.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise indicated.
Resolution 2008-101 appoints Joseph Twitty to the position of Police Sergeant, on a permanent basis, at a salary of $69,494 effective immediately.
Resolution 2008-102 authorizes the Superintendent of Highways to retain the services of Copeland Coating Company, to provide materials and services in connection with the resurfacing of the tennis courts at Avon Crest Park at a cost not to exceed $15,700.
Resolution 2008-103 authorizes the purchase of a turnstile for the Skateboard Park at a total cost not to exceed $3,750.
Resolution 2008-104 appoints William Pedicone to the position of full time Grounds Maintenance Worker in the Parks Department at an hourly rate of $14.2582 effective June 1, 2008
Resolution 2008-105 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into agreements with Niskayuna Fire District No. 1 and No. 2 for the inter-municipal cooperation between the Town and Fire Departments authorizing the purchase of gasoline by the Fire Departments through the Town-operated facilities.
Resolution 2008-106 authorizes the purchase of a 4x4 pickup with a plow for the Highway Department for a total cost not to exceed $23,250.
Resolution 2008-107 authorizes the purchase of safety mulch for the Becker Street Park at a cost not to exceed $5,000.
Resolution 2008-108 approves Local law 4 (2008) to increase the boundaries of the Schenectady Metroplex Service District to include St. James Square Plaza.
Resolution 2008-109 appoints Kenneth P. Hassett to the position of Temporary Building Inspector, at a rate of compensation of $25.00 per hour, without benefits, for a term not to exceed six months.
Resolution 2008-110 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract with one or more service providers to enable the payment of Recreation Department registration fees by credit card over the internet and authorizes the Director of Recreation and Comptroller to accept credit card payments over the internet for such fees.
Resolution 2008-111 authorizes the purchase of a complete playground for the Becker Street Park at a total cost not to exceed $18,613.
Resolution 2008-112 appoints Valerie M. Peters, to the position of Accountant, on a permanent basis, at a salary of $37,091 effective immediately.
Resolution 2008-113 appoints Duane J. Van Derwerker, to the position of Civilian Police Dispatcher, on a permanent basis, at the salary of $28,238, effective June 1, 2008.
Resolution 2008-114 authorizes the purchase of Symantec Firewall & Antivirus software license renewals at a total cost not to exceed $2,960; backup software for Microsoft Exchange License renewal at a total cost not to exceed $120; and Microsoft Office Software at a total cost not to exceed $10,600.
Resolution 2008-115 authorizes an additional payment in the amount of $9,477 to conform to the original 5-year amortization schedule as established in 2006 for the purchase of Highway equipment.
Resolution 2008-116 authorizes the acquisition of various Highway equipment and the issuance of Serial Bonds not to exceed $86,000.
Resolution 2008-117 authorizes the acquisition of various Highway equipment and the issuance of Serial Bonds not to exceed $173,000.
At this time, upon request of Supervisor Landry, the Board voted unanimously to go into Executive Session to discuss a labor negotiation.
Resolution 2008-118 approves the terms of the summary agreement and authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with CSEA Local 847 for the period January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2010.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Supervisor Landry adjourned the meeting.
Helen Kopke, Town Clerk