Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

Water meter access, park vandals, Fjord Trail forum

The Cold Spring Village Board, at its Wednesday (Nov. 9) meeting, added lead testing in the water supply of structures built before 1986 to the assignments given to Sak Metering in Cold Spring and Nelsonville. 

Technicians from the Queens-based firm have been adding digital “end points” to water meters in more than 800 homes and businesses, technology that provides more efficient and accurate monitoring of usage. 

Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo said Cold Spring can fund the additional $7,794 needed for lead testing because Saks’ bid for end-point installation came in lower than budgeted. With the testing, the project cost is $114,054.

End points can usually be installed on the exterior of a building, but in some cases water meters are located in basements. Village Clerk Jeff Vidakovich said crews have been unable to install end points in 30 to 40 homes and businesses. That number will likely increase, he said, because modifications made to the interior of some buildings now obstruct access to the meter. 

Under the Village Code, property owners face a fine of up to $250, up to 15 days in jail, or both, if a meter is made inaccessible. 

Saks technicians will return in December to complete end points for properties at which the owners were unavailable. 

Vidakovich said the board will need to address the issue of obstructed meters in order for water usage to be accurately monitored and billed. 

In other business…

  • The Hudson Valley Fjord Trail and state parks department will host a community forum from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Dutchess Manor, 263 Route 9D. Topics will include trash management, public restrooms, emergency services, vehicular and pedestrian congestion, natural resource protection and parking. Registration is required at hhft.org. 
  • Mandatory water conservation measures remain in effect; village reservoirs are at 55 percent capacity. 
  • Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke of the Cold Spring Police Department reported that two 12-year-olds who knocked over and damaged toys in the Tots Park have been banned from the park. Burke said he spoke with both adolescents and their parents.
  • The department responded to 80 calls for service in October, and officers issued 10 traffic and 92 parking tickets. There were two arrests, one for trespass at the village garage and one under the mental health law. Burke said there were nine vehicle crashes.
  • The Cold Spring Fire Co. responded to 20 calls in October, including seven for mutual aid, four fire alarms, four assists to emergency medical services, three elevator rescues, a mountain rescue and an assist at a medical helicopter landing zone. 
  • Trustees Eliza Starbuck and Cathryn Fadde will present recommendations at the Nov. 16 board workshop on updated signage required for implementation of the village parking plan. 
  • Jesse St. Charles was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • A change of use at 40 Main St. from retail to personal services, which will include a three-chair hair salon, was approved as recommended by the Planning Board. 
  • Deputy Mayor Tweeps Phillips Woods, filling in as chair for Mayor Kathleen Foley, said reports are expected in December or January from ad hoc committees on short-term rentals and community policing, and a working group completing the update of the Village Code. 
  • Residents were asked not to blow fall leaves into the street, a practice that clogs sewers and is subject to a fine. Leaves must be discarded in paper bags at curbside on days scheduled for yard waste pickup. 
  • Central Hudson is issuing bills again for the first time since July. Ascolillo advised that bills may be large since they cover four or five months of electrical usage.

One thought on “Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

  1. The Current reports that the The Hudson Valley Fjord Trail and state parks department will host a community forum from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Dutchess Manor, 263 Route 9D. This forum is scheduled due to rising concerns of the developer’s intentions and ramifications and impact for the village.

    The village administration should be commended for voicing such concern. It is not clear if the forum includes a discussion of a proposed tourist bridge and primary trailhead from Dockside to Little Stony Point (LSP). It should be said that on its website HVFT already advertises our Dockside Park as a trailhead: “Dockside Park will be the southern gateway of the Fjord Trail.” That is a preemptive, unilateral, disclosure and should inspire alarm. In anticipation of the forum, I wish to further convey my observations as to why the bridge is both an irresponsible and environmentally destructive concept.

    I use the word ‘concept’ because the developer has published no pro forma or feasibility studies whatsoever, and not a single construction drawing for the bridge, as is standard practice for any public design intent. This, despite the developer advising the public at a forum in March 2022, that construction drawings were “80 percent complete.” If that is so, why do they sequester and not publish them? The village should not have to resort to a FOIL in order to discern the developers’ intentions.

    From an environmental perspective, the bridge must necessarily compromise/deprecate the river shoreline from the northern point of Dockside Park, one-half mile northward to LSP, by virtue of placement of marine piles to support the weight of the bridge and its bounty of tourists. This shoreline is the only remaining undeveloped area between the Boat Club northward to LSP; i.e., nearly the entire Village shoreline.

    The remaining strip of shore includes sensitive and imperiled river wildlife habitats north and south of Eel Point, that are rich with birds and coastal fish and amphibians. A large berm, or earthen ramp, placed by the contractor to service the construction of the bridge looms ominously over this habitat. The berm is extraneous to the Dockside construction drawings: the village was never advised.

    If the recent work at Dockside Park is any indication, all of this shoreline will also be blighted. At the end of the day, the notion of a gradual shoreline in lieu of traditional caissons appears ill-conceived, insufficient to hold back the river and its tides. Most developers know this, which is why the practice is seldom used, or successful. Note the existing shoreline structure.

    It is now well nigh impossible to detect any insects or birds within other parts of Dockside, as all of the trees and shore-vegetation were removed. Despite what we were told, not all of this vegetation was invasive species. In effect, the state destroys alleged invasive species, in order to bring in another invasive species – tourists.

    I note that owing to erosion only a fraction of the plantings have thus far survived, denouement or demise of those remaining near the shoreline is imminent. Neither was any groundcover or geotextile installed to prevent the erosion of most of the top soil that was dumped there, much of it now replaced with silt, and heaving plantings. Most of what remains are the unsightly revetements, debris, boulders and assorted wrack that doubles as hardscape, and a couple of disoriented wood benches. In other words, any shoreline restoration or preservation talk from the developer was, and is, pure green-wash – only in service of mollifying public outrage.

    It is ever so important that the public has a voice in the planned development in our front yard because we can’t expect environmental advocacy groups to object — as is part of their raison d’etre: according to the developers’ website, they are all “partners” in the endeavor. Neither Scenic Hudson, nor Riverkeeper deigned to advise why they reversed their well-known advocacy policies of preserving the shoreline. There is still time for them to get back to their roots.

    If the village cares even a toss for preserving this sensitive area, and by extension, the integrity of the Village, it’s not too late to speak up now toward the collective goal of arguing for a green and happy place for us and our children, whose future well-being trumps any pollyanna developer greenwash. Otherwise, we leave such crucial interests wholly in control of the state, which has no skin in the game.

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