Two More Candidates in Nelsonville

Eisenbach and Potts make four for two seats

Two additional candidates have announced for the March 16 Village Board election in Nelsonville, bringing the total to four for the seats held by Trustees Dove Pedlosky and Lisa Mechaley, who do not plan to seek re-election.

George Eisenbach, a retired civil engineer who has lived in Nelsonville for nearly 20 years, and former Trustee Alan Potts filed nominating petitions with the village. The deadline was Tuesday (Feb. 9).

Last week, Maria Zhynovitch, a state appellate court attorney, and Kathleen Maloney, who has held a variety of clinical, corporate and research roles, announced their candidacies.

George Eisenbach

George Eisenbach

In a statement, Eisenbach proposed to bring his professional experience to the planning and cost-management of projects such as road repaving. “I’ll make sure the roads are done right and on budget,” he said. “I was shocked to learn Nelsonville’s budget last year grew 25 percent. I know how to find waste in bloated budgets and how to cut it.”

He also said he would bring his “scientific knowledge to the debate about 5G and make sure we have a full and open public discussion that isn’t cut short by the telecoms or politics. As a community we can no longer afford to conduct our debates with the lack of transparency and division we saw during the cell tower debacle.” 5G refers to newer wireless technology that uses smaller, shorter poles and similar structures installed more closely together, instead of relying on cell towers that cover a broader area. 

Eisenbach said he decided to get involved “after watching telecoms threaten our Village Board into agreeing to a cell tower that violates local zoning laws, my neighbors’ property rights and the state fire code.”

Eisenbach and his son, David, were among the plaintiffs who filed a federal lawsuit in October to invalidate the court settlement.

Alan Potts

Alan Potts

The fourth candidate will be Alan Potts, who served on the board from 2017 to 2019 before finishing third in a three-way race for the seats won by Pedlosky and Mechaley.

“As a Nelsonville resident for more than 16 years, I know firsthand how important it is to have cost-effective fire protection, trash collection, street/sidewalk maintenance and snow removal,” he said in a statement. “Nelsonville is also facing important choices around sewer versus septic, Airbnb, budgeting, etc.

“In addition to being a reliable steward of Nelsonville’s resources, it’s essential to solicit resident input on Nelsonville affairs, as well as their needs and interests,” he said. “I would ensure Nelsonville’s interests are represented with neighboring Cold Spring and Philipstown. I am committed to dealing with our village concerns in an honest, unbiased and transparent manner and would hit the ground running, drawing on my experience serving as a trustee.”

Jeff Rossi also filed a petition but withdrew it on Feb. 9, telling The Current that “time constraints that will preclude me from giving the board the time the role deserves” drove his decision. He said he would support any candidate who had “the best interest of the natural beauty of Nelsonville” in mind and who “specifically opposes the development of the cell tower behind the Cold Spring Cemetery.”


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5 thoughts on “Two More Candidates in Nelsonville

  1. I welcome Mr. Eisenbach’s entry into the race for the Nelsonville Village Board, but I do want to point out why his comments concerning the 2020 budget are not factual.

    Last year was the first time in recent history where enough thoughtful budget cuts were made to avoid raising taxes on res-idents. The budget increase you refer to is primarily a transfer from our state Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) grant and savings accounts to pay for the long-overdue repaving of two village roads.

    The cell tower settlement was undertaken by the board to protect the financial future of the village in the face of immense legal challenges. The current lawsuit against the village, in which Eisenbach is a plaintiff attempting to overturn this same settlement, however, is obligating us to expend additional resources, taxpayer money and time in court. Our counsel has cautioned that, if elected as a trustee, Eisenbach would need to recuse himself from all matters involving this lawsuit.

    Bowman is the Nelsonville mayor.

  2. Thank you, Mayor Bowman, for responding to the article. As reported in The Current, the budget for the previous year was $325,000. The budget for 2020-21 is $405,000. That is a 25 percent increase.

    On the cell tower lawsuit: My fellow plaintiffs and I are suing to invalidate the settlement that you and the Village Board complained the telecoms forced you into accepting. We understand the pressure you were under, but as citizens we could not sit by and quietly ignore the fact that this settlement violates our local zoning laws, our neighbors’ property rights and the state fire code.

    The 95-foot tower, plus its adjacent parking lot and access road, will destroy the tranquility of the historic Cold Spring Cemetery. It will even be illuminated at night. In my professional opinion as a civil engineer, the switchbacks on the proposed access road are too severe and steep. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt — maybe a volunteer firefighter, a maintenance worker or one of my neighbors. This cell tower will stand next to our homes on a wooded hill with no direct access to town water for firefighting. This thought keeps me up at night. If the Village Board wouldn’t fight, we had to.

    I suspect many Nelsonville residents will be surprised to hear their taxpayer money is going to defend a settlement that the Village Board didn’t want. But while we wait for the court to decide our case, as trustee I’ll make sure the village enforces the temporary restraining order, environmental regulations and the laws protecting our rights as a community.

    I will also make sure there is a full discussion and informed debate about the dangers this project poses to our community, our homes and our environment. As you know, Homeland Towers made significant changes to the plan after the public hearings and the court-ordered settlement were concluded.

  3. Thank you, Mr. Eisenbach, for running for Village Board. I did not feel represented when I presented data for the illegal switchback for the cell tower. I did not feel represented when I noted the 40 percent increase in large trees being taken down. I did not feel represented when we were not given a public town hall meeting after the switchback and trees were changed.

    These were large changes to “the plan” which many of us were not in favor of. I attended a few Zoom meetings and was told to propose my suggestions in writing for the new 5G policy. Of the many suggestions I proposed (which were taken from other New York and Connecticut codes), only one was addressed and I never received answers to the rest. I am aware that I am not the only citizen whom feels bamboozled, confused and unrepresented by the board. I am now taking a class in how to be an effective citizen participant. While I am growing confident, I hope to gain an effective voice.

  4. I would like to respond to previous comments on Eisenbach’s candidacy. I cringe at the hypocrisy of laying the blame for the present lawsuit against the village at the feet of our neighbors. This outcome was a known risk of allowing the tower company to bully the board into settlement. In succumbing to the pressure, the board divided our village.

    The residents of Nelsonville have a right and, in fact, a responsibility, to respond to Homeland Towers and Verizon forcing an unwanted settlement upon our village. Why aren’t our representatives refusing to allow our tax money to be spent de-fending a settlement they told us they felt forced to accept? Our neighbors are bravely attempting to protect the history, beauty and wildlife of their village after their own elected officials failed to do so.

    I welcome Eisenbach’s candidacy and his pledge of transparency and honesty. We need strong candidates who will insist on protecting our village and representing us, their neighbors.

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