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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 3, 2010

Mulls request for dog park
Village board hears of parking woes on Maple Avenue

By Jo E. Prout

VOORHEESVILLE — Maple Avenue residents are being ticketed because of illegal parking. One resident asked the village board last week to reduce the ticketing and offer alternative parking.

The board also heard praise for its updated website along with a request to place unapproved meeting minutes on the village website. Finally, the board said it would investigate whether or not the village would allow a dog park, a fenced area where canines can run free under the supervision of their owners.

No parking

Maple Avenue resident Glenn Schultz complained about the number of parking tickets given to residents on his street. Schultz said that families there do not have safe places to park.

“I can’t sit here and offer a solution,” said Mayor Robert Conway. “There’s no vacant land there.”

Schultz said that families, especially those with teens, find it difficult to park. Cars take up the driveways, and are not allowed on the street, he said.

“There’s no parking for people who live there,” Schultz said. Contractors or birthday- party visitors can take up the allotted parking areas, he said, leaving others to park on the street temporarily.

“It’s only on occasions,” he said. He complained that other residents see cars parked on the street “for five seconds” and call the county sheriff.

“What did you expect people to do?” Schultz asked.

Maple Avenue, or New York State Route 85A, is a state highway.

“The state is saying it’s against the law,” Conway said. “If they decide to ticket you, they’re going to ticket you. I understand your frustration.”

“You can say it’s a state law. OK. This is our village,” Schultz said.

Schultz said that he was disappointed that, during recent reconstruction along Maple Avenue, additional parking was not provided. He complained that other reconstruction projects, like that in neighboring Altamont, provided on-street parking.

“I’m willing to listen to solutions,” Conway said.

Schultz asked the board to suggest public parking in a private development now underway off of Maple Avenue. “I have no problem with it,” said Conway, adding that, if he were the owner, he would not agree to allow public parking there.

Board members suggested the use of two other municipal parking areas on Voorheesville Avenue. Anne-Jo McTague, the village’s attorney, suggested making parking arrangements with neighbors, as her family has done. Board member John Stevens said that St. Matthews Church allows Salem Hills residents to use its parking area, and that Maple Avenue residents could ask, also.

Conway said that the village has not called the sheriff’s department about resident parking.

The sheriff’s department could not be reached for comment.

Open minutes

Village resident Steven Schreiber praised the village’s updated website, but asked that unofficial minutes from recent meetings be included online.

Schreiber called the website “tremendously improved. It does the village justice,” he said. “It’s much more current and informative.”

He asked the board to consider putting draft minutes of board meetings, or those that have not yet been approved by the village board at a subsequent meeting, on the website, so that the village would be consistent with the open meetings law. That law requires that minutes from public meetings be dispersed within two weeks of the meeting, according to the New York Department of State website.

“It has been suggested that, if the minutes have not been approved, they may be marked ‘draft,’ ‘unapproved,’ or ‘non-final’ when they are disclosed,” the website states.

Schreiber said that members of local commissions and committees need the unofficial minutes to know what is going on in the village.

Schreiber brought the same concerns to the board in April 2009. “We will certainly talk about it,” Conway told him last week.

In 2009, Schreiber also questioned the board’s unadvertised pre-meeting workshop — and its advisability under the Open Meetings Law — at which regular business is discussed before the regular board meeting held an hour later. Board members defended the practice last year, and continue to hold the pre-meetings in the clerk’s office where, Conway said last year, files are easily accessible.

Also, Clerk-Treasurer Linda Pasquali told The Enterprise this week that an electronic newsletter would not be sent out, but that information previously included in the village newsletter would be available on the website, www.villageofvoorheesville.com.

Dog park requested

Schultz asked the board to consider putting in a dog park in half of the skate park area in the Voorheesville Avenue park.

He said that several dog owners asked him to approach the board about installing a fenced park in which dogs could run free. Schultz said that the neighboring towns of Bethlehem and Guilderland each have similar parks.

The village dog owners, he said, have offered to pay for the park, if the board will grant them space.

“It’s not fair for non-dog owners to pay for it,” Schultz said.

The board agreed to investigate allowing a dog park, including liability costs.

“What did Guilderland do? What did Bethlehem do?” Schultz asked.

“It’s getting a little crowded down there,” Conway said about the main park. The board agreed to also consider alternate sites for the dog park.

Last month, board member David Cardona said that local parents were interested in reviving the skate park, which has been unused for some time.

Other business

In recent business, the village board:

— Agreed to accept a grant to update indoor and outdoor lighting for the court, held at Village Hall. No money from the grant was available to update the men’s restroom downstairs, Pasquali said; and

— Learned from Cardona that BST Financial and Management Consultants has examined the village’s efficiency indicators and its current spending trend.

“We were a pilot for them,” Cardona said. “I think we’re in pretty good shape.”

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