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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 22, 2007
Gives Dolin win in N.S. supervisor race
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND Democrat Thomas Dolin will be the next New Scotland supervisor.
With a lead of only 26 votes over Republican Douglas LaGrange after the Nov. 6 election, the count last week of 114 paper ballots determined the outcome of the race. Dolin won by 35 votes, with a tally of 1,454.
"I wish to assure each and every resident that, starting January 1, I will devote all my time and energy to ensuring that we keep New Scotland the community that we want it to be," Dolin, a retired lawyer, said this week. "I won’t allow our community to be overrun with development."
"It was close," LaGrange, a farmer, said of the outcome. "I’m very, very surprised that I came so close," he told The Enterprise. LaGrange will return to his seat on the town board and, with the retirement of Supervisor Ed Clark, he will be the only Republican on the board.
"My opponent ran a strong campaign," Dolin said of LaGrange, who had the support of Clark, who served the post for three two-year terms. "I felt like I was running against Mr. Clark and Mr. LaGrange, which presented a challenge," Dolin said. "I feel lucky to have survived," he joked.
"I didn’t run as strong in the village as I thought I would," said Dolin, who attributed it to Clark’s popularity there. Clark had been the mayor of Voorheesville for 17 years, before becoming supervisor. "He’s well-respected here in the village," Dolin said of Clark, who, Dolin said, sent out a letter to town residents encouraging them to vote for LaGrange and the other Republican candidates.
"I certainly wish Tom all the best," LaGrange said. "It’s not about politics or party when it comes to working for the town," he said.
LaGrange is finishing his second year of a four-year term on the five-member town board. With Dolins election and the re-election of Democrats Richard Reilly and Deborah Baron, the Democratic Party will maintain its majority on the board. Democrat Margaret Neri is the fifth board member; she will be up for re-election in 2009.
Campaigning for supervisor was "quite different" than campaigning for town justice, Dolin said. He served for 14 years as a town judge in New Scotland, resigning his post mid-term in March to run for supervisor.
"When you get into non-judicial aspects of government... there are differences of opinion," Dolin said, citing issues such as development, tax policy, and land use as examples.
The spectrum of issues is much greater, Dolin said. There was a bit of a learning curve "as far as educating myself to the challenges the town faces due to the threat of development and the need for adequate water for many residents who are served by inadequate and unreliable wells," he said.
Once he is sworn in on Jan. 1, one of the first things Dolin plans to do, he said, is address the budget gap. "We’ve been using up the budget surplus accumulated under Herb Reilly’s administration," said Dolin. "I’m faced with a substantial budget gap next year," he said, adding that he will explore "all types of solutions, including staff reductions."
He also plans to "accelerate" the search for adequate and safe water, he said.
"I hope to demonstrate over the next two years, my ability to do the job, and justify the voters’ confidence in electing me," Dolin said.
"I was told that absentee ballots would likely mirror the machine count," Dolin said. "I was told to presumably expect to win." The paper ballots consisted of 95 absentee ballots and 19 affadavit ballots.
He learned of his win in a message left by his wife, Nancy, on his cell phone. Mrs. Dolin went to the Albany County Board of Elections last Thursday as absentee ballots were counted, while her husband attended the funeral of William Childs, a former town planning-board member, and well-respected community figure.
"I found out after the funeral," Dolin said.
LaGrange said he feels that the results of the race partially reflect a need for people to "separate national issues from local issues," implying that the dissatisfaction with the Republican Party on a national level played into the results in New Scotland.
"That’s disappointing," said LaGrange. "It shows I should have done a better job of letting people know the local issues," he said.
Running for supervisor "was never a personal thing for me," said LaGrange. He saw it as an opportunity to do a good job for the town, he said.
"Doug is a very responsible board member," Dolin said. "I’ve always had a good relationship with him, and I respect his views," he said.
"We both tried to run campaigns that addressed issues and not personalities," Dolin said. "I don’t think there’s any bitterness," he added.
LaGrange said that he believes the supervisor post should have a four-year term. "To have to run every two years is an arduous process... It takes time away from family, and the job," he said. "Even the best of us might lose focus on what’s best for the town, having to go out and campaign," said LaGrange.
"I didn’t do it as well as I should have," he said of his own campaign.
In his first run for town board, LaGrange lost by just a handful of votes; he was successful in his second campaign.
In 2009, when his town-board term is up, "I’ll have given eight years to the town of New Scotland," LaGrange said, referring to his four years on the town’s planning board and his four years on the town board. "Eight years is certainly doing my civic duty," said LaGrange.
"I can’t answer if I’d run again for anything," LaGrange said.
"There are plenty of people that have at least as much or more to offer than I do... It’s tough to get people to step up and do it," he said. "I wouldn’t rule it out," LaGrange said of another run, either for town board or for supervisor.
LaGrange said that he will be there working "hand-in-hand" with Dolin, as long as he is doing what’s best for the town. "I hope he grabs ahold of some issues he’s talked about and moves forward... I’ll be there with my support and I would assume his majority will be, too," LaGrange said.
"It’s five people up there," LaGrange said of the board. "It’s not four-to-one or three-to-two," he said. "It should be five people working together."
"After visiting voters in various parts of town, I’m interested in helping them solve the various issues that need addressing," said Dolin. "I think I can expedite solutions. If I can do that, it would be very rewarding," he said.
"It’s exciting and satisfying to help people solve their problems," Dolin concluded.
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND With one opposing vote cast by retiring Supervisor Ed Clark, the $5.5 million proposed 2008 budget was approved last week by the town board.
Clark, who has successfully run on the Republican line for three two-year terms, strongly disagrees with the Democratic majority on the tax rate as well as decisions made regarding the salaries of town employees.
Democratic Councilman Richard Reilly told Clark that his "no" vote "speaks volumes about your legacy."
Clark said this week that he is unsure what Reilly meant by that comment, and doesn’t "particularly care what he meant."
The Democrats have controlled the vote because of their majority for the past eight years, he said.
"Everything that happens in town happens by their approval or their design. It’s not my legacy," Clark said.
The board approved a tax rate increase of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value an increase of 10 percent over this year for residents outside of the village, and a 13-percent increase for village residents.
Clark had recommended that the board implement a tax rate increase of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, and try to cut costs.
At Clarks recommended increased rate by 10 cents, $89,000 would be put back into the diminishing reserve fund. At 15 cents, $134,000 will be put back into it.
"It was simply what I felt was tolerable for a one-year increase," said Clark of the 10-cent tax rate increase, indicating the figure is "acceptable, but not ideal." The board could then make up more of the difference by cutting costs, he said. Clark told The Enterprise that he feels an increase of 15 cents per $1,000 is "too much."
Clark had no specific suggestions for the board when he was asked where costs could be cut.
"I’m uncomfortable cutting anything," said Councilwoman Deborah Baron, who suggested the 15-cent tax rate increase.
Clark said that $250,000 in the fund balance is "barely passable." His suggested 10-cent tax rate increase would bring the fund balance to about $200,000, meaning that a tax increase would be necessary again next year.
The 15-cent tax rate increase will leave $245,000 in the fund balance for 2009.
Board members asked how Councilman Douglas LaGrange, the only Republican councilman, felt. "Ed, you drew me into this five years ago," he said. "We’re now hitting the wall you spoke of back then.
"We’ve got to find areas to cut back and not just hit the fund balance," said LaGrange. "I could live with 15 cents," he said.
LaGrange told The Enterprise this week that he ran for town board because Clark had shown him his projections for the fund balance.
"It was something he knew a long time ago, and has been trying to convince everyone that we need to stop depleting it," LaGrange said.
"The fund balances are very uncomfortable now," Clark said this week. "One or two years’ reserve just isn’t enough," he said.
"The proper way to have done it would be to have gradually increased the tax rate," said LaGrange.
Clark is the chief financial officer, LaGrange said, but, "ultimately, it’s the town board’s decision.
"He can state his opinions, make his suggestions, and the board votes as they wish," LaGrange said.
"At the 11th hour, things fell apart," Councilwoman Margaret Neri told The Enterprise, regarding last weeks meeting.
Democratic board members were clearly irritated with Clarks opposition to the budget. Neri told The Enterprise that she was disappointed that Clark voted against a budget when "his disagreement was with the salaries of a few individuals."
In the budget that Clark drafted, he requested a 3-percent raise for several town employees in addition to the cost-of-living adjustment, and he proposed a salary increase of more than 20 percent for the towns assessor, Julie Nooney, Neri said.
The board opposed the raise for Nooney, and settled on giving her a cost-of-living-adjustment only.
"I think we had valid concerns," Neri said, regarding the proposed raise for Nooney. "There have been concerns about the operation of that office," she said, adding that Nooney’s salary is competitive with the salaries of assessors in neighboring towns of similar size.
During the budget process, the town board meets for five budget workshops. Each budget item was reviewed during the workshops, Neri said.
Its an opportunity to look at town facilities and staff and decide how to continue to provide services while not increasing costs beyond what is absolutely necessary, said Neri.
Councilman Reilly "eloquently" pointed out the disparity in wages between employees in Town Hall, Neri said. Town Judge Margaret Adkins, a Republican, was present at that particular budget workshop and "echoed Reilly’s concerns," and encouraged the board to try and bridge the gap, Neri said.
The wage disparity, said Neri, is something the board has struggled to handle. Following Clarks suggestion would have perpetuated the disparity, she said.
The board ultimately voted to raise the hourly wage of several experienced employees who were at the lower end of the pay scale. Employees who, in the 2008 budget, earn $19.28 per hour, were determined to be at the top of their pay scale and will subsequently only receive the cost-of-living adjustment.
"We were very well-intentioned," said Neri.
Clark said that he doesnt believe the Democratic board members adequately explained their intentions regarding their decision.
"Mr. Reilly did say that it is a problem that all supervisors speak highly of their staff," and determining who to give a pay increase to is difficult, said Clark. "The board’s job is to come up with a system that reflects the realities of the employment situation, not relieves them of making the decision," Clark said.
"I simply proposed we limit raises to 3 percent beyond the COLA [cost-of-living adjustment]," Clark told The Enterprise this week. "I thought their new-found personnel policies were absurd... and I didn’t want to be party to them," Clark said of why he opposed the budget.
Clark provided no documentation, analysis, or conversation to back up what he was proposing, regarding pay increases, Neri told The Enterprise. "I look to Ed as our leader. He has 23 years of budget experience," she said of Clark’s 17 years as the mayor of Voorheesville and his six years as town supervisor.
"This was not an easy process... The board put their hearts and a lot of time into it," Neri said at last week’s meeting.
Reilly referred to Clark’s 10-cent tax rate increase recommendation as "incredibly irresponsible."
"I think we’ve got a great board, and a great staff at Town Hall, and overall, I think we’re in good shape," said Neri this week. "We’re ready to move forward."
In other business at its Nov. 14 meeting, the town board:
Took part in a moment of silence to remember William Childs, whom Clark said was a "very, very loyal volunteer" and an "influential member of the planning board for many years." Childs died on Nov. 9;
Announced that there will be a reception following the Dec. 12 town-board meeting for Clark, as it is his last meeting as supervisor. Democrat Thomas Dolin will take office as the new supervisor in January;
Heard from town engineer, Keith Menia, that all physical construction on the Clarksville Water District Extension #7 has been completed. "We want to be sure not to over-pressurize the new line," Menia said, adding that applications for water hookups will be accepted in the next couple of weeks.
Heard an update from Menia on the Krumkill Road rehabilitation project. A Geotech report determined that the slope does not pose an imminent danger of falling off; it is a "slow slump," Menia said. It will continue to be monitored, he said. Highway superintendent Darrell Duncan said that the town’s highway department has temporarily fixed the road, and Geotech estimated that it should be sufficient for the next six to eight months;
Accepted a check for $3,000 from the Voorheesville Community and School Foundation. The money will be used to provide a File of Life, for every house in the town of New Scotland. Members of the New Scotland Kiwanis and the Voorheesville High School Key Club hand-delivered the files to homes around town on Saturday. Residents are to put medical information in the files, to be accessed in an emergency;
Scheduled two public hearings, one at 6:30 p.m. and the other at 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 12, on two local laws regarding the MS4 storm-water management program. The first law has to do with erosion and sediment control, and the other law gives the town the ability to pursue residents who dump illegally. Paul Cantlin, the towns building inspector and zoning administrator, will enforce the laws; his salary was increased by $5,400 to compensate for the added responsibility.
Passing the local laws, said the towns attorney, L.Michael Mackey, would help the town to avoid substantial fines;
Amended the towns employee policy manual to allow excused leave of up to four hours per year for employees to undertake screening for breast cancer or prostate cancer;
Authorized the closure of town offices on Monday, Dec. 24. Employees will charge accrued leave time. Duncan said that the highway department will plow roads if it snows and receive regular pay, but otherwise the highway department will also be closed;
Accepted Alicia Bigelow and Charles Sullivan into the New Salem Fire Department, and William Salisbury into the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company;
Heard from Councilwoman Baron that Rebecca Paul has been appointed to the Voorheesville Public Librarys board of trustees; and
Heard from a concerned resident that people continue to speed on Route 85A where both the elementary school and high school are located. She estimated that 53 percent of people are speeding in front of the high school, where the speed limit has recently been reduced to 30 miles per hour. Clark said that he would contact the Albany County Sheriffs Department and ask that it patrol the area more.
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND - Residents who live on properties bordering the Colonie Country Club are concerned that their yards may shrink if plans for a 35-lot subdivision are approved.
John Smith, a resident of Maple Road, waited patiently through last Tuesday's planning board meeting to inquire as to the status of the Amedore Homes project. "It is going to affect our quality of life," said Smith of the development.
Landowners adjacent to the 244-acre parcel off of Route 85A have "stretched their land" into the property owned by the country club, said Paul Cantlin, the town's building inspector and zoning administrator, who said it was evident from surveys provided by Amedore.
"Once you get accustomed to it, it's hard to give it up," said Cantlin of the extra backyard with no added tax burden.
Development plans for the property have been in the works for several decades, said Daniel Hershberg, of Hershberg and Hershberg, to the town's planning board in August, when he first presented the plan for Amedore Homes.
Development plans have been stagnant as a source for water was sought.
The village of Voorheesville has agreed to provide municipal water to the site. If the project is approved, a water main would be installed, paid for by the developer, and water would be sold to the town, and then to homeowners.
The project is in a beginning stage; only sketch plat drawings have been submitted.
The drawings determined the need for an area variance to allow a 1,545-foot cul-de-sac. The zoning board granted the variance at its September meeting. Other than the length of the roadway, nothing else regarding the project has been approved.
The next step is for Amedore to submit a preliminary sketch plat to the planning board, said Cantlin. The planning board will look at the plans and set a public hearing. The town will notify landowners within 500 feet of the Colonie Country Club property line before the hearing.
If the planning board recommends any major changes to the plans, it will schedule another public hearing, Cantlin said. Once the preliminary sketch plat has been approved, the applicant can move forward, he said.
"The whole game is in their court," Cantlin said, referring to the applicant.
Supervisor-elect Thomas Dolin, was at last week's planning board meeting and told the board that he feels residents near the Colonie Country Club are "fearful" the project itself has been approved.
Chairman Robert Stapf said that residents will be informed of any public hearings, but, at this point, there is nothing to have a public hearing on.
"Have you ever heard of Tall Timbers"" Louis Neri, the attorney for the town's planning board, asked Smith. The Tall Timbers project was originally presented to the town several decades ago, but never finished the process, Cantlin told The Enterprise.
There is no timetable for a developer to work through the process, he said.
"Nothing can happen until you receive notice," Neri informed Smith. "We can't force him to go forward," he added.
Cell tower proposal
Extending an existing cell tower on Woods Hill Road by 15 feet is "an important project for Verizon Wireless," said Michael Cusack, at last Tuesday's planning-board meeting.
Cusack, who represents Verizon, explained to the board that the company is attempting to fill gaps in coverage that have existed since the advent of cell service. The project, he said, is to provide coverage to New Scotland, including Voorheesville and the hamlet of New Salem.
If the application for an area variance and a special-use permit are approved, the 95-foot tower owned by the village of Voorheesville would be extended to 110 feet with a four-foot lightening rod.
A balloon test was conducted on Nov 2; a mast with a weather balloon was extended up the existing tower to the proposed height, Cusack explained.
"By adding 15 feet to the tower, we're not increasing the visual impact significantly from what is already there," Cusack said.
A comprehensive alternative site analysis was conducted, said Cusack, and no other locations will provide service to the town of New Scotland. "It's a matter of physics" It's non-negotiable," he said.
The installation of the extension can be completed in a way that does not require substantial removal of existing vegetation in the area, said Cusack.
Stapf was concerned that extending the tower will have an impact on adjacent landowners. The application was forwarded to the zoning board without any specific recommendations from the planning board, only a note to make the board aware of the rights of the adjacent property owners.
The zoning board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its Nov. 27 meeting; a hearing was tentatively scheduled for the Dec. 4 planning-board meeting, pending the outcome of the zoning-board meeting.
In other business at recent planning- and zoning-board meetings:
- The zoning board granted an area variance to Sydney Dunston, allowing him to replace an existing 480-square-foot mobile home with a larger, newer 980-square-foot mobile home. The property is in a residential agricultural district on Orchard Hill Road. Zoning requires an area variance for any increase of more than 25 percent on an existing mobile home located outside of a mobile home park. The new mobile home will not be in violation of any of the setback regulations;
- The zoning board approved an area variance for Edward Mead, allowing him to construct an addition to the side of his home on New Salem Road within the front-yard setback. The property is located in a residential agricultural district and requires a minimum front-yard setback of 70 feet on a state highway. The variance granted Mead 16 feet, 9 inches of relief from the front setback, allowing the addition to come within 53 feet, 3 inches of the front property line;
- Both the zoning and planning boards heard from John DeMis, on behalf of Lawrence Bunk, on an application for an area variance to allow for a subdivision of a parcel on Koontz Road, owned by Bunk, into four lots. The property is located within a residential agricultural district and requires a front-=yard setback of 40 feet. One of the proposed lots contains a barn that was built in the 1800s and is located only 15 feet, 7 inches from the centerline of Koontz Road. The planning board passed along a favorable recommendation on the application to the zoning board, citing the pre-existing conditions. The zoning board will have a public hearing at its Nov. 27 meeting;
- Both the planning and zoning boards heard from John Hormovitis on an application for an area variance allowing the subdivision of a 6.48-acre parcel into two lots - one lot would consist of 3.6 acres and the other 1.12 acres. The property, located on Thacher Park Road, lies within the residential forestry district, which requires subdivided lots to be a minimum of three acres. The applicant is seeking 81,675 square feet of relief to allow for a lot size of 49,005 square feet. The planning board passed along a favorable recommendation to the zoning board, which will hold a public hearing at its Nov. 27 meeting;
- Both the zoning and planning boards heard an application for an area variance submitted by Paul Morris to allow him to install an in-ground fiberglass swimming pool within a side- and rear-yard setback at his home on New Salem Road. The property is located within a residential agriculture district, which requires a 25-foot side-yard setback, and a 15-foot rear-yard setback. Morris is requesting 15 feet of relief for the side-yard setback and 8 feet of relief for the rear-yard setback, allowing the pool to come within 10 feet of the side-yard lot line and within seven feet of the rear-yard lot line. The planning board forwarded a favorable recommendation on to the zoning board;
- Both the zoning and planning boards heard an application for an area variance submitted by Keith Tuzzolo, on behalf of Tod Hanlon, to allow the construction of an indoor riding arena within the residential agricultural district on Bullock Road. The proposed arena will be 30 feet tall and would be for private use. The zoning law requires a minimum front- and side-yard setback of 50 feet for accessory structures between 20 and 35 feet tall. The applicant is requesting 35 feet of relief from both the front- and side-yard setbacks to allow the arena to be installed within 15 feet of the front lot line and 15 feet of the side lot line.
Stapf asked that the applicant provide documentation from the town's highway department regarding the entryway, and requested that any illumination be downward directed. The planning board forwarded a favorable response to the zoning board on the application. The zoning board will hold a public hearing at its Nov. 27 meeting;
- The planning board heard an application for a special-use permit submitted by Deborah Longtin to allow her to operate a dog kennel on her property on Cedar Grove Road. Longtin has 1,000 feet of road frontage and has no close neighbors. She said that she would not build any structures, but use pre-existing buildings on her property. She would not want the kennel to house more than 24 dogs, she said. The board scheduled a public hearing on the application for its Dec. 4 meeting;
- The planning board heard an application for a special-use permit submitted by Marjorie and John Waldman to construct a pond on a 2.6-acre vacant lot on property owned by them off of Normans Kill Road. The proposed pond would be rectangular in shape, approximately 300 to 400 square feet, with a maximum depth of eight to 10 feet. The pond would be constructed entirely below grade and any soil removed would be used for grading around the existing area. The pond is intended to be used for drainage control and to protect from excessive soil erosion. The board scheduled a public hearing on the application for its Dec. 4 meeting;
- The planning board heard an application for a special-use permit submitted by Joseph Bianchione of ABD Land Surveyors, on behalf of Karen Weiss, to allow horse boarding activities, including a riding stable and arena, on Weiss's 59-acre property on Countryman Road. Weiss hopes to board between 12 and 15 horses and also provide riding lessons, she said. Water to the barn will be supplied by a spring on the property. The proposed arena would be about 80 feet by 140 feet. The horse manure will be disposed of on site and will not contaminate any water sources. The board scheduled a public hearing for its Dec. 4 meeting; and
- The planning board heard an application for a special-use permit submitted by Bill Caldwell on behalf of Bradford Realty to allow for an addition of eight telecommunications devices to an existing tower on Tower Lane 3, off the west side of Pinnacle Road. Stapf informed the applicant that he needs to hire a professional to evaluate the tower to determine if it is structurally sound. The board appointed Peter Barber to act as the attorney for the application, and appointed the town's engineering firm, Stantec, to review the application. The planning board will act as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review. The board scheduled a public hearing for its Dec. 4 meeting, pending the submission of proper paperwork.
A starting point
Senior overlay district gets another look
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND A proposed overlay district for senior housing generated discussion at last Tuesdays planning board meeting. The town board backed off adopting it after concerns were raised at two public hearings, and sent it to the planning board for review.
The plan would allow developer Charles Carrow to build 15 duplexes behind a medical complex he built on Route 85. The 6.9-acre site has the potential for both town sewer and water, unlike much of New Scotland. Because the site is zoned for commercial use, residential development would not be allowed without the floating zone for senior housing. Robert Baron, husband of Councilwoman Deborah Baron, would act as the project contractor for the development if the plans are approved. Councilwoman Baron has said she will recuse herself from discussion and voting on the bill because of the conflict of interest.
The major debate about the document has been with how much flexibility it should have. Some residents and town officials have criticized the proposal for lacking standards to accommodate the needs of the elderly. Others say flexibility is desirable so as not to discourage potential developers.
Projects will all be subject to the normal planning process including public hearings and can be denied, if the board deems them inappropriate.
The senior housing district is part of a project that Councilman Richard Reilly, along with zoning administrator Paul Cantlin, and planning-board Chairman Robert Stapf, have been working on since the town enacted a moratorium on large-scale development in the Northeast Quadrant over a year ago.
Reilly has made recommendations to the town board about changes to the zoning law that would affect the Northeast Quadrant, and the town. The senior housing zone is among them. [For related stories go to altamontenterprise.com, under archives in New Scotland for the following dates: Aug. 16, Aug. 30, and Sept. 20, in 2007.]
Reilly and Baron were re-elected on Nov. 6 for their town board seats.
"I think we all recognize the need for senior housing," Reilly said at a public hearing on the proposal in August, in response to a question as to why he is proposing a floating zone, which would allow senior housing to be constructed anywhere in town. "I would rather provide the flexibility," he said.
"We’ve got to do something," said Stapf at last week’s meeting. He said that he had reviewed senior housing ordinances from other municipalities such as the village of Voorheesville, and the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland, Colonie, and Beacon.
Some of the ordinances, he said, have a section on suggested features that are not mandated, such as storage space, first-floor bathrooms, and wheelchair accessibility.
Jo Ann Davies, an alternate to the planning board who was filling in because Cynthia Elliott and Charles Voss were absent, suggested that universal design elements be used as a guideline for developers. A few considerations, she said, are motion detectors, entrances without steps, and doorways with awnings.
"Overall," said Stapf, "I think it works for me, and for the town," he said of the document.
"You have to have flexibility as a board to deny or accept a proposal," said the attorney for the planning board, Louis Neri. "I don’t know that this ordinance is set up to micromanage projects," Neri said.
Supervisor-elect Thomas Dolin asked about incentives for affordable housing.
Mandating affordable housing doesnt seem to work well, said Stapf. Incentives such as increasing density for developers who build affordable housing is more successful, he said.
The problem, Stapf said, is what happens when a person moves from a home deemed affordable. Will the home then be sold to seniors at an affordable price"
Stapf went on to say that he would like to see incentives for affordable housing for all types of lodging and not just senior housing.
The town has been contacted by several organizations that are interested in developing senior housing, said Stapf. "I think we need to get something going," he said.
Davies asked if the board had considered incentives for making homes energy efficient.
The town would need to have someone to enforce it, said Stapf. "Are we going to make the building department bigger"" Stapf asked. "It takes employees to enforce these things, and to manage these things," he said.
"We have to have a starting point," Neri said of the proposed district. "If you have a basic outline, you can always amend it, and improve it," he said.
Senior housing is advantageous to the town because it minimizes the impact to the school district, as most seniors dont have school-aged children, said Stapf.
The intent is for a "senior living area," he said.
"We are discriminating based on age," said board member Kevin Kroencke, who thought that the age of 55, which is defined in the proposal to be the minimum age for eligibility in senior housing, "seems a bit young."
You can, legally, discriminate based on age, said Reilly, "as long as it’s above 55."
Davies asked if the proposal would go back through a public-hearing process. She also expressed concern over getting input from the towns elderly.
"I certainly think it should go back to a public hearing," Reilly said. He asked if Davies might want to seek out seniors for their feedback on the proposal. She agreed.
"This is just an ordinance to expedite senior housing. We’re not enabling or creating some new housing," said Neri, who reminded everyone that units that may be built "aren’t necessarily going to be occupied by current residents of the town."
"Is it perfect"" asked Stapf, about the draft law. "No, but it’s something."
"It’s a start," echoed planning-board member, Elizabeth Stewart.
Reilly will work on tweaking the draft, keeping in mind the suggestions made by the planning board, and the town board will then schedule another public hearing.
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