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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 16, 2007


Improvements slated for cellphone towers

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SCOTLAND – In our technologically-savvy world – where television programs can be viewed on a cell phone – the service, along with a broader cell-phone coverage area, will soon have an outlet in New Scotland.

The town’s planning board granted two special-use permits last week, allowing improvements to two existing cell phone towers – one owned by Crown Atlantic Company, and the other by Capital Region Broadcasters.

Cellco Partnership and Verizon Wireless will remove and replace 12 panel antennas and one microwave dish on Crown Atlantic Company’s tower at 106 Tower #3 Lane, off Pinnacle Road. The tower currently has 12 antennas and eight microwave dishes, explained attorney Dave Brennan.

The new antennas and microwave dish would increase the coverage area in the town, he said, adding, "It’s improving service." The antennas would be at 149 feet, and the microwave dish would be at 45 feet.

The board’s approval was subject to the town’s engineering firm, Stantec, being satisfied with the structural analysis of the tower, using the G-standard, which has been adopted by the industry, but has not yet been adopted by New York State’s building department.

The town uses the most current standard, Stapf told The Enterprise.

"We want to resolve it in a manner that is acceptable to the town-designated engineer," Brennan said.

During a public hearing on the application, Thomas Dolin, a former town judge and current Democratic candidate for supervisor, asked what services would be extended. "It’s a positive thing, and I’m just trying to figure out how positive it is," Dolin said.

Brennan said that the antennas would be providing more cell-phone service to a greater area.

The improvements to the tower owned by Capital Region Broadcasters, located at 73 Tower #3 Lane, will provide television service for cell phones.

The special-use permit, granted to Media Flo USA, allows for the installation of a 24-foot antenna on the tower, and for two satellite dishes, and two Global Positioning Systems antennas to be installed on an existing equipment building.

The antenna will be installed at a maximum height of 262 feet, the satellite dishes will be installed on grade, and the GPS antennas will be side-mounted to the building.

Media Flo submitted a G-code structural analysis, but it was stamped by an engineer who was registered out of state. Town engineer Keith Menia told the applicant to provide him with an inspection report, to be sure the tower has been properly maintained.

The applicant must also satisfy the town engineer with respect to the stamp on the engineering drawing.

Other business

In other business at recent planning- and zoning-board meetings:

– The zoning board granted an area variance to Nancy Deschenes, allowing her to install a swimming pool on her property at 38 Maple Road. Deschenes received 13 feet of relief from the 25-foot side-yard setback requirement in the residential agriculture district. Deschenes’s pool will come within 12 feet of the side-yard property line.

When the building permit for the pool was filed, it was approved, and construction began before Deschenes was made aware that she was not in compliance with the zoning regulations.

The board held a public hearing prior to granting the variance, in which Paul Lopez, whose mother resides adjacent to the Deschenes property, addressed the board. Lopez and his mother were confused as to how far the pool would be from her property line, which was confirmed to be 12 feet.

"I’m against it by all means," Mrs. Lopez said.

Deschenes intends to lay crushed stone under a fence that separates the two properties;

– The zoning board approved an application for an area variance submitted by Shawn LaSalle, allowing him to erect a covered entry and attached garage to his house at 1726 Tarrytown Road. LaSalle received 20 feet, 6 inches of relief from the 40-foot front-yard setback for the covered entry, and 8 feet, 6 inches of relief for the garage.

LaSalle said that he intends to keep the lilac bushes in the front of the house as a buffer zone.

There were no public comments during the public hearing held before the variance was granted;

– The zoning board approved an application for an area variance submitted by Robert Denman, allowing him to install a swimming pool on his property at 162 Maple Road.

Denman received 6 feet of relief from the 25-foot side-yard setback requirement; the pool will be erected within 19 feet of the side property line.

There were no public comments on the application at a public hearing held before the board granted the variance;

– Both the zoning and planning boards heard an application for an area variance submitted by Joseph Vogel III. Vogel owns a landlocked parcel on Cliff View Lane, a private road. Vogel has access to his property, where he has been living for about a year-and-a-half, by traveling over another parcel with road frontage on Woodwind Drive. Vogel wants to erect a detached garage on his property, but lacks the required 15 feet of road frontage.

The planning board passed along a favorable recommendation to the zoning board for the application. The zoning board will hold a public hearing for this application at its Aug. 28 meeting; and

– The planning board granted a special-use permit to B.A.R.D. Brothers, allowing the business to expand an existing non-conforming use structure by less than 25 percent. The structure is located within the residential agriculture district at 160 North Road in Clarksville, and has been used for the commercial storage of general contractor materials and equipment, which is not permitted.

Alan Darmurmuth, of B.A.R.D. Brothers, told the board that his company rents space to Helderberg Siding, which needs additional storage for foam used under siding. The space in the rear of the business where a run-down building is located will be used to construct a weather-tight storage shed that is about 110 square-feet larger than the existing building, Darmurmuth said.

The board had no problems or concerns with the application. "His site is neat as a pin," said Elliott. There were no public comments during the public hearing held before the board granted the variance.


Village promises water so golf-course plans cluster

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SCOTLAND – A plan was presented last week for a 35-lot subdivision at the Colonie Golf and Country Club – a project that has been in the works for some 40 years.

Daniel Hershberg, of Hershberg and Hershberg, presented the cluster-development concept plan to the New Scotland Planning Board on behalf of Amedore Homes.

The development has been stagnant for years, while a water source was sought.

The village of Voorheesville has agreed to provide municipal water to the site – located just east of the village on 244 acres off the south side of Route 85A.

A water main would be installed at the applicant’s expense and water would be sold to the town of New Scotland, and then to the homeowners.

The soil on the site, said Hershberg, "is good for septic systems."

The application was submitted to the town as a 40-lot subdivision, but, said Hershberg, "We had failed to consider the 17-percent slope" The maximum amount of lots we could fit is 35."

The homes will be "individually designed," said Hershberg. Some will be one-story, and some will be two-story homes, he said. "These will be on the expensive side," he said, giving a ballpark starting price of around $500,000.

Planning-board Chairman Robert Stapf suggested that the applicant consider duplex housing. "I would look for some lots to be designated with duplex units on them," Stapf said.

"We’ll certainly take it back and consider it," Hershberg said.

Because of lot size, configuration, and topography, "There’s no place to put play fields," said Hershberg. The applicant will consider paying $1,500 per lot to the town’s recreation fund, he said, fulfilling a requirement for greenspace.

The entrance to the subdivision, which currently leads to the golf course, would be moved closer to the property line, Hershberg explained, to line it up with Douglas Lane across Route 85A, and create a T intersection.

Buffer zone

For months, Scotch Pine residents have requested of the Voorheesville Village Board, a buffer zone between their houses and the golf course development. In June, the village signed a contract with the town providing village water to the development and requiring a 50-foot buffer zone between the new development and the Scotch Pine development.

Some residents who reside on Forest Drive, which is located outside of the village, entirely in the town of New Scotland, were under the impression that the buffer zone would extend around their properties as well.

The applicant is proposing a 10-foot buffer in that area of development.

"We could consider a larger buffer," Hershberg said.

"I think a 10-foot buffer is reasonable," said Stapf. "Essentially, if someone wants to put something in their backyard, they can’t cut a tree to do it," Stapf explained about a no-cut zone.

Though the board was not holding a public hearing, it allowed comments and questions from residents on the application.

Matt Hotopp, a Forest Drive resident, questioned why the buffer zone was reduced from 50 feet to 10 feet.

"A 50-foot buffer zone is not feasible because the lots are not deep enough," Stapf explained.

"The applicant has indicated their willingness to put in a buffer zone" which decreases their property value," Stapf said. "Normally we would not require a buffer zone" I think it is fair, what they’re offering now," he added.

Ruth Dalotto is also a resident of Forest Drive, and expressed her desire for the larger buffer zone.

Stapf asked her if she would be willing to contribute some of her own yard toward the buffer zone. She was not.

Board member Cynthia Elliott suggested that the residents should think about what exactly they are after and consider what the developer is willing to do.

Other suggestions

Alternate board member Jo Ann Davies asked Hershberg if the development would be restricted to country-club members only.

"Our goal here would be to encourage people who are members at Colonie Country Club to buy a home here," Hershberg said, adding that it would not be a members-only community. "I’m not even sure that’s legal," he said.

Board member Chuck Voss asked if the applicant had considered pedestrian amenities such as sidewalks and streetlights.

"We’re talking about creating a homeowners’ association," Hershberg said. "Traditionally, with the homeowners’ association, we would require each home to have a lamppost with the 911 number at the end of each driveway," he said.

Edie Abrams, a New Scotland resident who lives on Route 85A, inquired about how the development will increase traffic on the road. Abrams said that she has asked about the maximum amount of cars that would be permitted to travel on the road before the state’s Department of Transportation would widen Route 85A.

"You’d be amazed at how far away from capacity you are," Hershberg said.

The development’s concept at this point, "looks viable," said town engineer Keith Menia.

The board passed along the application, with a favorable response, to the zoning board, as it requires a variance for a cul-de-sac roadway that is longer than the zoning allows.

The planning board, though, will maintain lead agency status on the application.


New coach not a slam dunk

By Rachel Dutil

VOORHEESVILLE – As it would for an important game, the public filed into Voorheesville’s high school on Monday night, but, rather than cheering on a team, clashing sides – residents, teachers, and students – battled over the varsity girls’ basketball coaching appointment.

In years past, the victorious girls’ teams inspired parades through town as they won eight sectional titles in a row and two state championships.

Rumors had been surfacing around town for weeks about who the board was going to appoint to replace Coach John McClement. He resigned in June after he was approved to coach Albany High School’s varsity boys’ basketball team.

At Monday’s school board meeting, the board appointed Dennis McCormick, a physical education teacher in the elementary school, and girls’ junior varsity basketball coach for eight years, after a lengthy public comment session.

McCormick had resigned as JV coach after he heard he would not get the varsity job, said the teachers’ union president. He could not be reached for comment this week, and it was unclear yesterday if he would accept the post.

Many people believed that the board was going to appoint Robert Baron, violating the regulations of the commissioner of education.

Baron was recommended for the post by the school’s athletic director, Joseph Sapienza. The superintendent, Linda Langevin, considered recommending Baron for the school board’s approval but reversed herself after learning the teachers’ union would sue.

Baron, a former school board president, is not a certified teacher. According to the state’s regulations, "A person who does not hold a current New York State teaching certificate may be employed as a temporary coach only if there are no certified teachers available with experience and qualifications to coach the team."

"I was never under the understanding that I had the job," Baron told The Enterprise this week. "I was just told that I was going to be recommended to the superintendent by Joe Sapienza," he said.

As a former school-board member, Baron said, "I’ve learned that you don’t have a job until you’re recommended by the superintendent, and appointed by the board."

Baron said he plans to coach again at Scotia this year.

"It’s like all things in life, you don’t always get what you want, you just move on," he said of not being appointed at Voorheesville.

Board President David Gibson opened up the public comment phase of the meeting by saying, "After some of the comments I’ve heard, I wonder why anyone would serve on the board, and why anyone would serve as a coach."

Robert Burns, a resident, who said he is a friend of Baron, wanted the board to describe the process by which Baron’s name was distributed to the community as the candidate that was going to be appointed to the position.

Burns also said that McCormick had told a group of female basketball players that he had not been appointed to the position.

"Individually, board members have zero authority," Gibson said. "No one has the backing of the board until it makes a vote."

Superintendent Linda Langevin explained that she had contacted the attorney for the district, Norma Meacham, to find out if there was any flexibility within the regulations.

Meacham informed her that the New York State Union of Teachers would appeal if Baron were appointed.

"This board is very careful to be sure to put good people in place," said Langevin, who was visibly flustered by the public criticism. Many people came forward on McCormick’s behalf, she said. "There is no question that he would be a good coach," she said of McCormick.

"The mix-up came because people were on the streets, talking about this before there was board action," Langevin said. "People went everywhere in the community but not to me," she said, adding that former board member Richard Brackett called her to ask what she was thinking.

"I am not the reason for the problem," Langevin said. "In the future, we’re going to have a more inclusive process."

Regan Burns, a former Voorheesville basketball star, who now teaches, and coaches girls’ varsity basketball at Scotia, spoke about Baron’s coaching qualifications.

"I know he has qualifications," she said, adding that he was her assistant coach last year at Scotia. "He’s demanding, he’s fair, the kids respond well to him," she said. "Mr. Baron has the passion, and he has the experience."

One resident, who didn’t identify herself, asked if there were any teaching positions that the board had ever spent as much time discussing. "We’re responsible for the rumors – we’re the adults," she said. "The first responsibility of this school district is to educate our students," she said.

The process

The selection process began in June after McClement’s resignation. The district advertised the position for two weeks, Sapienza told The Enterprise.

The district then "screened applications, set up interviews, conducted interviews, did reference checks," and finally made a recommendation to the superintendent, Sapienza said.

Four individuals inquired about the position; three people applied, and two were interviewed – McCormick and Baron, said Langevin.

Sapienza’s recommendation was Baron.

"I did go to the superintendent and state my recommendation was Bob Baron," Sapienza said at Monday’s meeting. "The recommendation came from my desk," he said.

That recommendation came in late July, Langevin told The Enterprise. At that time, she said, she was aware of the commissioner’s regulations, "but didn’t know if there was any flexibility within that framework."

She verified with Meacham that there was not.

Sapienza’s recommendation, she said, "was a judgment call. Both men are really good coaches."

The rest, she said, "is a personnel matter."

Sapienza would not say why he recommended Baron over McCormick, but he did confirm to The Enterprise that he was "fully aware of the commissioner’s regulations" when he made his decision.

He felt confident in his recommendation, even though it violated the state’s regulations, he said.

Numerous residents stated at Monday’s meeting that they had been informed by basketball players that McCormick had not been appointed to the position.

Several girls from the team spoke to Langevin regarding the matter, she said. "They asked that the conversation be kept confidential," she said.

"My decision stands on its own," Langevin said of recommending McCormick.

In the week before the board meeting, Langevin said that she spoke to McCormick and informed him that she would be recommending that the board appoint him.

Typically, the board doesn’t make basketball-coaching decisions until September or October, because the season doesn’t start until November, said Langevin.

"Severe concerns"

Kathy Fiero, president of the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association, expressed "severe concerns" with the process to the board.

She explained to the board that, during the week of July 16, she was out of town and received a call indicating that the decision had been made to hire Baron.

At a school board negotiations committee meeting on July 23, Fiero said that she expressed her concerns with Meacham, Langevin, and committee members Timothy Blow, C. James Coffin, and Kevin Kroencke. She informed the group of the commissioner’s regulations, she said.

Fiero said Langevin was uncomfortable discussing it without a quorum of the board.

"I wasn’t looking for a decision, I was trying to share information," Fiero said. "The commissioner’s regulations were my concern," she said.

"My issue is with the process," Fiero told The Enterprise. "They seem to feel that they can make exceptions," she said, adding that she believes the district owes both Baron and McCormick an apology.

"It shouldn’t have gotten this far" I don’t think it was fair to either candidate," Fiero said.

"It’s a messy process," Gibson said on Monday. "No state law has been violated" We encourage you to not jump to conclusions," he said.

"We want the best coaches in the district," Coffin said at the public meeting. The board discussed the differences in the two candidates, Coffin explained. "Our administrator’s recommendation was to appoint Baron," he said. "We talked about the regulations" and took the time "to dig into the details," he said.

"The bottom line," he said, "is that no decision is made until the board fully digests what’s going on". We took time to make sure we’re on solid ground."

"Basically, I’m at the point now where I’m glad it’s resolved, and I’m anxious to move forward," Sapienza said yesterday of McCormick’s appointment.

"Mr. McCormick is a positive, passionate coach," Sapienza said. "We’re going to move forward and get the girls ready for their season," he added.

"I think it was the right decision," Fiero said. "He deserves an opportunity to coach the Voorheesville girls," she said of McCormick.

"I applaud the board for doing the right thing. I think they have an obligation to uphold the commissioner’s regulations," Fiero said.


Improvements slated for cellphone towers

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SCOTLAND – In our technologically-savvy world – where television programs can be viewed on a cell phone – the service, along with a broader cell-phone coverage area, will soon have an outlet in New Scotland.

The town’s planning board granted two special-use permits last week, allowing improvements to two existing cell phone towers – one owned by Crown Atlantic Company, and the other by Capital Region Broadcasters.

Cellco Partnership and Verizon Wireless will remove and replace 12 panel antennas and one microwave dish on Crown Atlantic Company’s tower at 106 Tower #3 Lane, off Pinnacle Road. The tower currently has 12 antennas and eight microwave dishes, explained attorney Dave Brennan.

The new antennas and microwave dish would increase the coverage area in the town, he said, adding, "It’s improving service." The antennas would be at 149 feet, and the microwave dish would be at 45 feet.

The board’s approval was subject to the town’s engineering firm, Stantec, being satisfied with the structural analysis of the tower, using the G-standard, which has been adopted by the industry, but has not yet been adopted by New York State’s building department.

The town uses the most current standard, Stapf told The Enterprise.

"We want to resolve it in a manner that is acceptable to the town-designated engineer," Brennan said.

During a public hearing on the application, Thomas Dolin, a former town judge and current Democratic candidate for supervisor, asked what services would be extended. "It’s a positive thing, and I’m just trying to figure out how positive it is," Dolin said.

Brennan said that the antennas would be providing more cell-phone service to a greater area.

The improvements to the tower owned by Capital Region Broadcasters, located at 73 Tower #3 Lane, will provide television service for cell phones.

The special-use permit, granted to Media Flo USA, allows for the installation of a 24-foot antenna on the tower, and for two satellite dishes, and two Global Positioning Systems antennas to be installed on an existing equipment building.

The antenna will be installed at a maximum height of 262 feet, the satellite dishes will be installed on grade, and the GPS antennas will be side-mounted to the building.

Media Flo submitted a G-code structural analysis, but it was stamped by an engineer who was registered out of state. Town engineer Keith Menia told the applicant to provide him with an inspection report, to be sure the tower has been properly maintained.

The applicant must also satisfy the town engineer with respect to the stamp on the engineering drawing.

Other business

In other business at recent planning- and zoning-board meetings:

– The zoning board granted an area variance to Nancy Deschenes, allowing her to install a swimming pool on her property at 38 Maple Road. Deschenes received 13 feet of relief from the 25-foot side-yard setback requirement in the residential agriculture district. Deschenes’s pool will come within 12 feet of the side-yard property line.

When the building permit for the pool was filed, it was approved, and construction began before Deschenes was made aware that she was not in compliance with the zoning regulations.

The board held a public hearing prior to granting the variance, in which Paul Lopez, whose mother resides adjacent to the Deschenes property, addressed the board. Lopez and his mother were confused as to how far the pool would be from her property line, which was confirmed to be 12 feet.

"I’m against it by all means," Mrs. Lopez said.

Deschenes intends to lay crushed stone under a fence that separates the two properties;

– The zoning board approved an application for an area variance submitted by Shawn LaSalle, allowing him to erect a covered entry and attached garage to his house at 1726 Tarrytown Road. LaSalle received 20 feet, 6 inches of relief from the 40-foot front-yard setback for the covered entry, and 8 feet, 6 inches of relief for the garage.

LaSalle said that he intends to keep the lilac bushes in the front of the house as a buffer zone.

There were no public comments during the public hearing held before the variance was granted;

– The zoning board approved an application for an area variance submitted by Robert Denman, allowing him to install a swimming pool on his property at 162 Maple Road.

Denman received 6 feet of relief from the 25-foot side-yard setback requirement; the pool will be erected within 19 feet of the side property line.

There were no public comments on the application at a public hearing held before the board granted the variance;

– Both the zoning and planning boards heard an application for an area variance submitted by Joseph Vogel III. Vogel owns a landlocked parcel on Cliff View Lane, a private road. Vogel has access to his property, where he has been living for about a year-and-a-half, by traveling over another parcel with road frontage on Woodwind Drive. Vogel wants to erect a detached garage on his property, but lacks the required 15 feet of road frontage.

The planning board passed along a favorable recommendation to the zoning board for the application. The zoning board will hold a public hearing for this application at its Aug. 28 meeting; and

– The planning board granted a special-use permit to B.A.R.D. Brothers, allowing the business to expand an existing non-conforming use structure by less than 25 percent. The structure is located within the residential agriculture district at 160 North Road in Clarksville, and has been used for the commercial storage of general contractor materials and equipment, which is not permitted.

Alan Darmurmuth, of B.A.R.D. Brothers, told the board that his company rents space to Helderberg Siding, which needs additional storage for foam used under siding. The space in the rear of the business where a run-down building is located will be used to construct a weather-tight storage shed that is about 110 square-feet larger than the existing building, Darmurmuth said.

The board had no problems or concerns with the application. "His site is neat as a pin," said Elliott. There were no public comments during the public hearing held before the board granted the variance.



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