Village zoning committee expanded
By Michael Turton
Main Street Cold Spring will soon take on a slightly different look. At its July 24 meeting, the Village Board approved a pilot project to remove the lines that delineate parking spaces along the south side of the street.
The move came at the recommendation of the Parking Committee chaired by Trustee Cathryn Fadde. Studies have shown that the number of parking spaces can be increased by 15 percent if individual parking spaces are not marked. That could hold true on Main Street where currently the length of parking spots varies considerably.
Fadde said that the lines marking 53 spaces on the south side of Main will be blacked out for a 90-day trial period. During that time Parking Committee members will conduct a count to assess the effectiveness of the strategy. Lines will remain intact on the north side of Main Street.
Fadde has also contacted New York State Sen. Terry Gipson regarding state approval for resident parking permits. The state legislature is not currently in session and Gipson’s office indicated that January would likely be the earliest that such an initiative could be addressed. Mayor Ralph Falloon wondered if a pilot program for the permits could be initiated — without state approval. Village Attorney Mike Liguori quashed that idea. “They (the state) occupy the field,” he said. “You can’t usurp that authority.”
Standing boards added to zoning committee
The yet-to-be-formed committee that will update the Village of Cold Spring zoning code will consist of seven members rather than five as originally discussed. The update is being funded through a $75,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The grant application had recommended a committee of five, however since being elected, Trustee Michael Bowman has argued consistently for a larger group to include representatives of the village’s standing committees.
At the meeting, Bowman suggested a nine-member committee but after a brief discussion trustees agreed to a seven-member committee that will include representatives from the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Historic District Review Board. In addition, one member of the Village Board will serve as a liaison to the new committee. Only six residents have indicated interest in serving on the committee. A second call for volunteers has been issued.
Treatment plant gets upgrade
Trustees heard details for the $1.6 million upgrade of the aging sewage treatment plant on Fair Street. Bart Clark, an engineer with Oakwood Environmental Associates, outlined the project, which will include construction of a new building, upgraded electrical system, new generators and a new “fine bubble” aeration system. The project replaces equipment that was installed more than 40 years ago. It also alleviates serious “life and safety issues” while producing long-term savings through the reduced operating costs that the new system will ensure.
Clark “optimistically” estimated that approvals from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Putnam County, required before construction can begin, will take about two months.
Superintendent of Water and Sewers Greg Phillips addressed complaints he has received in recent weeks regarding discolored tap water in some village homes. Phillips said that the discoloration is caused by a combination of warmer water temperatures this time of year and water lines that are 150 years old. “It is an aesthetic issue — not a health issue,” he said.
Phillips said he could begin flushing water lines on side streets but there was “no guarantee” that the measure would eliminate the problem. Since the meeting, flushing has been initiated on Garden Street and other side streets. Trustee Bowman commented that despite the complaints, village water is “a million times better than a year ago.” A major cleaning and relining of the water main beneath Main Street was undertaken last year.
Sign of the times?
An ongoing discussion of the local law governing temporary signage in the village continued, in particular regarding a collection of signs found on Chestnut Street at Main Street. The village has received complaints about the signs however, it is not in a legal position to act. The section of the Zoning Code dealing with signage was struck down in a 2005 court case and the law contained in Section 104 has never been rewritten.
The signs near the main intersection are likely unlawful even without the Village Code since they are on land believed to be part of the Route 9D right-of-way where signs are prohibited. Makeshift signs are also sometimes found in the other parts of the village. Trustee Stephanie Hawkins suggested not prohibiting such signs outright. “We should take some time to look at how the community is using such signs,” she said.
Falloon asked trustees to submit their thoughts on acceptable size, materials and location for signs. The board’s collective response will be forwarded to Village Attorney Liguori who will rewrite the local law. Jennifer Zwarich was in attendance and said she sees no need for change. “As a resident … I really enjoy the signs … as long as (they are for) a non-profit. I have no problem with them,” she said.
At their July 29 meeting trustees continued their review and approval of suggested changes in building department fees as recommended by Building Inspector Bill Bujarski. In addition, Putnam County has handed over responsibility for inspecting and approving gas hookups within the village.
An interview with a candidate to fill a vacancy on the village police force that had been scheduled for that evening was postponed by Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell. Mayor Falloon was absent due to his work schedule.