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Montrose Enhancement Planning Committee Meeting Minutes
Montrose Enhancement Planning Meeting
February 11, 2010
Linda Puglisi, Town Supervisor
Frank Farrell, Deputy Supervisor
Ann Lindau, Town Board
Richard Becker, Town Board
Ed Vergano, Town Engineer
Chris Kehoe, Deputy Director of Planning
John Palmiotto, Director of Recreation
JoAnn Dyckman, Town Clerk
Rosemary Boyle-Lasher, Assistant DOTS Director
Claudia Vahey, Personnel Manager
Ray Reber Zoning Board of Appeals
John Mattis, Zoning Board of Appeals
Approximately 40 residents were in attendance.
The purpose of the meeting was to talk about improving and enhancing the Hamlet of Montrose (Montrose is 2 ½ square miles with four thousand residents). The Town wants to find out what the residents need and what they would like done to improve the quality of life in this area.
The residents may break into small groups and sub-committees in future meetings, (next meeting is April 14th, 7:00 PM at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library). As we proceed, the Town will try to apply for grants (long-term) and also use volunteer help, as well as town staff for projects.
A PowerPoint presentation was given, which can be viewed at www.townofcortlandt.com.
Questions and comments from the audience:
• Joe Price, Bonnie Hollow Lane - concerned with drainage issues because there is no connection with the Town from his home. He has a sump-pump.
• Margie White, O’Connor Court - concerned with the new Train Station and how it will affect traffic turning from Dutch Street onto 9A. This is now a dangerous intersection and the additional traffic will make it more difficult to turn. The light at the V.A. will not help with the Dutch Street intersection. Ed Vergano spoke that the entrance of the train station to accommodate a left-hand turn lane will widen the road. This is a state road, but the Town will contact the State DOT and Metro-North to see if they can improve this area for site-distance.
Another issue with Dutch Street is that cars sometimes make the left turn into Dutch and enter into the one-way lane. Additional signage is needed for safety.
• Larry Kalkstein 2144 Albany Post Road, comment on the coordination and communication with the Town. He spoke about his property at Albany Post Road. He appreciates the communication with the Town and their assistance with the State. He has plants along Rte 9A along his property. He would like the Town to help with the watering and weeding of these plants. Would like this area on a routine maintenance list, (litter, weeding) if possible. Also, would like the sidewalk to be shoveled from snow to assist the people walking and using the Dance studio and the parking lot at the ambulance corps.
Another issue is with the youth hanging out in the parking lot and the Montrose Deli area. Would like the trooper to come by this area after school (2:15 PM - 4:00 PM). He does appreciate the police assistance and believes that the area has improved.
• Eileen Price, Bonnie Hollow Road is concerned with the area between Dutch Street and Kings Ferry Road. In front of the envelope factory and other businesses, the sidewalk area is dangerous. The trees need to be trimmed and sidewalks need to be maintained. Ed Vergano added that the Town does have a grant to re-do this sidewalk (should be done within 2 years). It was stated that the Town is responsible for maintaining these sidewalks.
Also, along Sunset Road from Kings Ferry to Dutch Street, the road is very narrow, there is no shoulder area to walk on. She would like more pavement to walk on without being in the street. This is a safety issue, especially on the weekend with people using Georges Island (owned by the County).
Kaufmans Auto Body shop has a new owner, Brookfield, (this is before the Planning Board), which is a recycling plant for autos and trucks. It may be the same use as Kaufmans but it is a more modern plant. The residents are concerned with the traffic issues and the trucks going into the property. The Town Attorneys are looking into the issue if it is a continuous use. There will be new fencing and new landscaping put up along side the road. Recently, they have removed 20,000 thousand tires. Ed Vergano, Town Engineer added it is a very clean and efficient operation. In regards to safety issues with the removal of fluids from the cars it was noted that they have to comply with County and State standards. If anyone has concerns about Brookfield, they can contact Chris Kehoe to get on the Planning Board agenda mailing list (site development plan approval for a renewal of a junk yard special permit). Supervisor Puglisi does have concerns. Ed Vergano added that truck traffic generation would be discussed at the many Public hearings. The important questions will be asked. It is zoned industrial. Chris Kehoe explained that the site was a junkyard, and it is still operating as a junkyard. Cars will be crushed and dismantled. This was not a crushing operation (with Kaufman). The Town has concerns and questions will be asked and answered. It will go through the Planning Board process, which can be lengthy. It will be evaluated so it does not impact the community.
• Many residents spoke of noise levels coming from Georges Island (owned by the County). Buses, (fumes) noise, traffic. How many buses go in this area during the season? (John Palmiotto will inquire with the County). The pavilions are rented out and many people are bussed in. The issue is also the safety along Dutch Street.
• Bill Lorenzen is concerned with Brookfield and with Dakota Masonry Company, which is a mess. The train station will generate more traffic and this is a concern. Can Montrose residents obtain special access to the train station (special parking rate) and at George’s Island? Golf driving range was closed because it was not economically successful, according to the owner.
Another issue is the no parking on the street for 6 months (Nov. - April) out of the year. Cars are parked on the property owner’s lawns. Can signs read that during snow emergency “no parking” on the street?
• Verplanck resident asked about the Code Red announcement re: no garbage pick up. The residents agreed it was affective and good and they liked the communication. It was asked that it be re-worded with wording that is not so alarming. Linda Puglisi noted that this is a brand new system, which will only be used for emergencies.
• Beth Lorenzen is requesting sewers for Montrose. The State Health Department is making the standards for septic systems higher. Do we pay a sewer tax? The Town can create a special sewer district in which the properties owners pay off the life of the bond for the sewer district. The Town is not legally allowed to use its treasury to pay for sewers. Sometimes grants are available, but that is rare. More than 50% of the residents in the neighborhood have to agree to a sewer district. The Town Board would like a large majority of the public to be interested before they would consider a sewer district. The cost could be between $1500- $3,000/year for 20 years.
• Bill Dalton, College Hill Road spoke that the properties along Rte 9A are the heart of the Town. Montrose doesn’t need Brookfield, a concrete plant or a composting operation business in this area. He would like the Town to change this area, possibly by changing the laws or zoning, this area could be the new center of Cortlandt.
Ed Vergano added that when you re-zone areas you have to grandfather existing uses. Mr. Dalton is confident the Town can make positive changes happen.
Supervisor Puglisi added that she wants to control over-development in the Town and feels strongly about this issue.
• Dominique Simon is pleased with the Teen Center but wants to put together a committee to study (and is volunteering) to reinvest in the kids in Town. If the Town wants to make Sunset Road safe for walking, perhaps they can invest in the teens to make it happen. Hire them at minimum wage or involve them in the planning. Involve the kids and give them a place to go.
Linda commented on the new Youth and Recreation Center, which opened in September 2009. More programs can be added to get the kids involved. We will expand the hours, opening on Saturdays into the night, beginning in April.
The kids can possibly get community service credit if they were to volunteer with some of the suggested programs.
•Ira Ellis, Coachlight Square, spoke of a broken traffic light on Trolley Road. Frank Farrell will call the highway department.
Linda Puglisi asked if anyone notices issues such as this to please call her office or e-mail.
•Charles Thompson, Trustee from the Hendrick Hudson School District, commented on that an extraordinary asset to this community is the people and children that reside here. He spoke of the Hudson River being another wonderful asset in this community. We have a beautiful shoreline along the Hudson, in Montrose, (no train). He would like the 9A side of Montrose, the gateway, as spectacularly beautiful as the Hudson side. It is the Towns challenge. Supervisor Puglisi mentioned that the Town was responsible for lobbying the State to buy and preserve the Montrose Forest Park, 50 acres on the Hudson.
•Andrew Prosser, Bonnie Hollow Road (resident of Montrose for 25 years). For the record he is happy with his septic system and is not interested in sewers or a tax increase. Spoke that he uses the Georges Island Park, which is spectacular and it would be a great idea to discount the Town of Cortlandt resident.
The abandoned gas stations along Albany Post Road were discussed.
Linda Puglisi spoke that one gas station next to the Ambulance Corp. is owned by Barrier Oil corp. Many violations have been issued in which the owner has 30 days to answer. There is still one open violation. The Town Attorney is looking into what legal steps the Town can take for the owner to clean it up. The other is owned by Petro-Land co. , which also has violations. Code Enforcement does inspect regularly. The house near the ambulance corps is in foreclosure. All three are being monitored. The Town Board will discuss what their next actions will be on these properties. Frank Farrell commented that the Town Attorney has contacted the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to see if the tanks have been closed out properly. The Town will make sure the State enforces this in regards to the environment. Code Enforcement will continue to check on the appearances. The Town can’t legally have them paint the building. Another resident mentioned that oil is being dumped there, and the air tank has been ripped off the building. It is an eyesore. The properties may be unsellable because of the tanks in the ground, which need to be replaced. It still is the property owner’s obligation to make sure the tanks are safe. The Town does not want to inherit the environmental problems.
We don’t want the taxpayers to be liable. It is a complicated issue.
The gas stations being used as parking lots are a safety concern, especially at dark. The police are notified (State and County).
Sue Pandolfino suggested that some more small businesses or restaurants or bookstores come into Montrose. She wants a “Town-friendly” place to go, in Montrose. The foreclosed house was suggested perhaps for some of these businesses.
Chris Kehoe mentioned the “Restore New York” grants, which have not been used as of yet, here in the Town. It can be complicated but the purpose is to create economic development. The state will fund the tear down but would want something to go there that would create jobs. Chris will bring that paper work and criteria to the next meeting.
If the Town did buy property what type of business would the residents consider? Economic growth is a topic for the next meeting.
Also possibly “Habitat for Humanity” might be interested in the foreclosed house in order to keep it on the tax rolls or if the Town buys this property it could be an expanded park area, perhaps with memorials (e.g. in honor of our emergency service volunteers and to remember our four fallen heroes on September 11, 2001) said Linda Puglisi.
The old teen center was leased to the Town of Cortlandt since 1989 for $1/year from Mr. Mike Kaufman. It is now owned by Brookfield Co. That will be an issued raised when they are before the Planning Board. The community can possibly ask Brookfield to do something nice at that location for the Rte. 9A corridor.
•Larry Kalkstein asked about having a camera installed in the deli area to remotely monitor the area. Linda spoke that because this is a small area, and no funds are presently available from grants. The State Police added that they have no funds available. The State Police Rep., Robin Reed in attendance will ask Sgt. Kranik. Traffic management would have to be monitored. A cost analysis would have to be done, as well.
Safety and security is a topic in this area, especially at night.
•Carol Heller spoke of the beautification of Montrose. It takes many volunteers to maintain the plantings, do weeding, etc. There are other ways of beautifying things besides using flowers. In the Dutch Street area near the monuments she would like to have some benches, keeping the star in stone with a few plantings. The County’s George’s Island sign does not belong in the Veterans site. The Scout project near the gazebo needs maintenance. If the scouts want to work for eagle badges, they could maintain what is already there (trim bushes, weed). The Town employees need to use the proper equipment. She would like all residents to pitch in and help clean up the Town. She would like community service with the court system and the judges worked out to assist with the maintenance. Take pride in our community! Can a spring project similar to the snow angel’s projects be implemented with the area youth to assist the elderly? Assign a Community weekend project with the Town supplying the bags. Do this on a regular basis. The Kings Ferry/Montrose Point triangle is not very pretty anymore; perhaps a new directory sign could be placed there (wooden). Make them consistent throughout.
•Jodi Hirsch, owner of the dance studio is concerned with crossing Albany Post Road. Would like a cross walk installed to assist the pedestrians? The Town Board will write a letter to the New York State Department of Transportation because it is their road. The Town can’t hatch out a crosswalk. The State DOT has to warrant it. This will be put on the Town Board agenda. This is a short-term project that can be done quickly.
•Ray Reber spoke of the memorial triangle on Dutch Street. Why is it located there? He isn’t confident that the County or State will change their signage. Suggested that the memorial be moved over to the other side. Carol spoke of the history of the memorial, which is in honor of a Dutch Street resident Henry Bethea (who was killed in the Vietnam War). The WWII memorial is also there. The Town wants to preserve this sacred memorial but we can try and ask the VA. for replacement. Bob Cavanaugh’s wife had it placed at this location. Carol goes there every spring to clean it up. Linda thanked Carol Heller.
•Dominique Simons has a group of at-risk Youth that would like to work on the strip along Trolley Road near the Hendrick Hudson Field. Where the sidewalks elevates. - Who owns this property? She has a group of kids that would be willing to work on this area and make it a beautiful spot. Can the Town remove the stumps? Asked about a right-on red sign on Trolley Road? The Town will review the traffic signalization.
Linda would like more residents to attend the next meeting. We will re-group, review this meeting and have lists that people can sign up for work that needs to be done and for conceptual planning. We need to encourage the children and scouts involvement in our plans.
She wants Montrose to be more business friendly. The Supervisor would like to have a “Cortlandt Business Day” (Town-wide) to encourage people in the Town to use our local businesses. “Earth Day” in April will have a kick-off in Montrose, Linda said.
Submitted by Judi Peterson, of Montrose, and Secretary to Supervisor Linda Puglisi