Butterfield meeting set for Haldane
By Michael Turton
Greg Phillips, Superintendent of Water and Waste Water, was not in attendance at the Tuesday (Sept. 8) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board but his monthly update was presented by Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell and it sounded an early alarm regarding a potential problem. Phillips’ report indicated that the upper and lower reservoirs that supply Cold Spring and Nelsonville with their water are filled to only 75 percent of capacity and he cautioned that predictions are that September and October will produce less than normal precipitation.
“We are asking residents to practice voluntary conservation of water so that we do not have to implement use restrictions,” Phillips wrote. Later, during the public comment period, village resident Dick Weissbrod referred to the idea of creating increased demand for water at the proposed Butterfield development as “screwy” at a time when residents are being asked to reduce water use.
County to hold Butterfield meeting at Haldane
The Putnam County Legislature’s Physical Services Committee will hold a special meeting at Haldane School to address the Butterfield development project on Tuesday, Sept. 23. A letter from Committee Chair Carl Albano and District 1 Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra suggested that the meeting be held at 6 p.m. however Mayor Ralph Falloon will ask county officials to consider moving the meeting to 7:30 p.m. in order to make it easier for residents to attend after work.
Tree ordinance nears completion
Jennifer Zwarich, chair of the Tree Advisory Committee, presented a draft Village Ordinance that, if adopted, will lead to the formation of a Tree Advisory Board. The new board will “promote efficient and cost-effective management” of village trees, through the implementation of an overall tree management plan. On the advice of Village Attorney Mike Liguori, the term “commission” gave way to “board” even though the name of the volunteer body doesn’t affect its mandate.
Zwarich received hearty applause at the end of her presentation. Concerns raised in some quarters initially over perceived effects on private property have dissipated as objectors realized that the board would deal only with village-owned trees. Minor wording changes will be incorporated before the proposed ordinance goes to a public hearing.
Mayor Ralph Falloon praised Zwarich and her committee for their work and acknowledged the challenges they faced in dealing with limited but vocal criticism early in the process. “Unfortunately for us, the process is always difficult,” he said. “It’s the end product that counts.” He added that after the contentious “stay off my property” comments ended, “our questions were few.”
Zoning Update Committee appointments
Trustees made the final two appointments to the new Zoning Update Committee bringing the total to the required seven members. The board quickly appointed Jack Goldstein but then debated the final selection. They considered appointing both Francis (Terry) Lahey and Tom Monroe from the pool of five candidates, a move that would have resulted in an eight-member committee. Most have an odd number of members to eliminate tie votes.
After a motion by Trustee Michael Bowman to appoint Monroe with Lahey as an alternate failed, a subsequent motion by Stephanie Hawkins to appoint Lahey with Monroe as the alternate passed unanimously. The Village Board has yet to appoint a trustee to serve as non-voting liaison to the new committee.
‘Paint Fairy’ may be to blame
Trustee and Parking Committee Chair Cathryn Fadde reported that the experimental erasing of parking lines on the south side of Main Street seems to be working, evidenced by sections of the street that now accommodate more vehicles than in the past. Removing the lines can increase vehicle capacity by 15 percent.
Fadde was much less happy with what may have been the unauthorized painting of lines that prohibit parking in front of a village residence. The Harrisons, who live at 240 Main St., next to the Philipstown Town Hall, recently wrote to the village, expressing concern over poor sight lines for drivers exiting their driveway. The board discussed the issue, including the suggestion that a traffic mirror be installed, but took no action.
Subsequently, the Village Highway Department, which had been copied on the Harrison letter, painted a series of diagonal yellow lines prohibiting parking in front of the Harrison residence. No one at Tuesday’s meeting admitted to authorizing the work. Fadde, clearly annoyed that the Parking Committee had been left out of the process, facetiously suggested that “the paint fairy” was responsible for the paint job. In an email to The Paper however she put the responsibility clearly on Campbell’s shoulders, despite his denials at the meeting.
“The Parking Committee has been working for five months to find solutions to a variety of (parking) issues …” Fadde wrote. “Someone complains and Bruce handles it. It’s embarrassing and disrespectful to the people who volunteered (for the committee).”
Contacted by The Paper, Campbell again strongly denied being behind the painting of the lines. “I didn’t give any authorization to paint the lines — no way,” he said. Campbell said his only involvement was to speak to officials with New York State Department of Transportation regarding the traffic mirror because he was already dealing with DOT on other ongoing traffic matters.
While the painting of the lines may seem trivial, it may also be indicative of a “too many chefs spoil the broth” approach to how the Village Board sometimes goes about its work. Mayor Falloon has often stated he doesn’t “micro-manage” but his hands-off approach may be adding to the problem. Multiple trustees often deal with even the most basic projects before decisions are made. Earlier this year, at least three board members gathered information before a simple fee increase in village docking fees was instituted. Several, if not all trustees, are currently researching what signs should be permitted on village property as part of the redrafting of a local law.
Boat Mystery continues
An Aug. 29 article in The Paper titled “Mystery Boat” continues to spark interest as well as persistent questions. Comments on the article on Philipstown.info included two from residents who said that since no law has been broken, those who wonder about the small sailboat, La Dana, and issues surrounding where it is anchored, should “mind their own business.” The article does include a statement from the Putnam County Sheriff’s office that “… there is no law restricting the length of time that a boat may be anchored in such a location.” And both Mayor Ralph Falloon and Cold Spring Police Officer-in-Charge George Kane indicated to The Paper that the village has no jurisdiction in the matter since the boat is anchored offshore.
Soon after the article appeared, at least three additional boats were seen anchored in the same area, no doubt spurred on by the belief that it is legal to do so. However, a recent comment from another reader points out that the Village Code requires a permit when a boat anchors within 100 feet of the dock.
After Tuesday’s meeting Falloon said that the question will be investigated further. If the tale of the tape shows that La Dana is more than 100 feet from the dock, area boaters have discovered a very convenient location at which to anchor when visiting Cold Spring. If however, they anchor too close to the dock, a fine of $250 could be levied.
The Philipstown Garden Club presented a proposed plan for its 2014 beautification project — creation of an attractive village gateway at the corner of Fair Street and Route 9D. The project will include installation of a “Welcome to the Village of Cold Spring” sign surrounded by a floral garden.
Photos by M. Turton