Town Board Members Present:
Sally Orr, Town Supervisor
Paul Stermer, Councilman
Gerry Simcoe, Councilman
Attached attendance list
Meeting called to order by Sally Orr, Town Supervisor at 7:00pm
Pledge to the US Flag completed.
The January 13th Organizational Meeting minutes and January 19th Public Hearing Meeting minutes were read by Megan Thistle, Town Clerk. Motion to accept minutes with minor changes made by Gerry Simcoe, Paul Stermer seconded the motion. Roll – all agreed, motion carried.
Sally Orr, Supervisor, noted that monthly reports from Town Clerk, Historian, Highway Superintendent, and Court were received. These reports are filed in the Town Clerks office and available for inspection by the public during the Town Clerk’s regular business hours.
Sally indicated there was a personnel issue to do with the Court Clerk and requested a motion be made for the Board to move into an Executive Session. Paul Mortzheim made the motion, Paul Stermer seconded the motion. All agreed, motion carried. The Town Board left the Board Room to hold an executive session at 7:15 pm.
At 7:45, Town Board members returned. Gerry Simcoe made the motion to open the regular Board meeting. Paul Stermer seconded, roll – all agreed, motion carried.
Sally requested a motion to hire Kim Clark for 2 days per week for 6 – 8 hours maximum per week, at $7.15 per hour until the end of March 2009 due to the heavy flow of traffic tickets. Paul M made the motion, Gerry S seconded the motion. Sally indicated to the audience that the Justice Department took in over $26 thousand in tickets in January 2009. There has been an overload of tickets from the work zone as well as currently, and the Interim Court Clerk, Tracy Wilson, has requested that Kim Clark be appointed to manage the traffic tickets so she (Tracy) can address the criminal cases. Paul M requested that Kim Clark report to the Town Board. Sally O. agreed and indicated that Kim would be supervised by Tracy Wilson, the Court Clerk. Roll was taken on the motion to hire Kim Clark as interim assistant clerk to the town – all agreed, motion carried.
Sally O. brought up the minor zoning law revisions made by the Planning Board following the Public Hearing on January 19th 2009. Mary typed up the public hearing comments and it appeared that the majority of concerns had to do with noise ordinance. Sally read the section of the recommendations from the public hearing regarding noise:
The NYS DEC “Assessing and Mitigating Noise Impacts” report was used as a guideline on noise regulations. Using ambient noise levels as the baseline makes the application of the law site specific versus a hard and fast upper limit. Measuring noise levels takes specialized equipment and training. It is not recommended that a Town official become certified in this skill. It will be a rare situation when measurements are called for, so a professional resource should be hired when required at the landowner’s expense.
The recommendation is made to replace Section 3.3.2 b) Noise levels may not be greater than 55 dba measured at the lot lines nearest receptors. Noise from any phase of operations shall not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of neighboring properties.
3.3.2 b) Operations and activities may not exceed ambient noise by more than 6 dB(A) at non-industrial use receptors, or more than 10 dB(A) at industrial use receptors.
i.Measurements shall be consistent with applicable ANSI standards and performed by a certified technician.
ii. Report shall include measurement procedures, identification of sound level instrumentation and calibration, descriptions of measurement locations, sound level measurements and field observations, and weather conditions.
iii. Measurements should include all periods of operations during representative daytime and/or nighttime periods for a duration adequate to quantify the loudest modes of routine operation.
iv. Expenses are the responsibility of the property owner liable for the increase in noise levels.
v. Once routine operation begins, the Planning Board may require demonstration that a proposed development meets the predicted sound levels and conforms to applicable limits.”
Paul M. requested a definition of the word “Receptors” and a lengthy discussion followed regarding what determines loud, agitating, ongoing noise. Mary indicated receptors refers to a residence, a school, and so forth. Dick Johnson asked if noise levels were covered under the DEC guidelines. Additional discussion centered around inserting exclusions such as warning devices that might exceed the noise level guidelines. George Fleischmann asked if time frames could be put into place regarding hours of operations. A comment was made that Towns can specify a separate Noise Ordinance. Gerry Simcoe stated that there should be something in place that people can resort to if needed. Mary Lentzen indicated that the town of Erwin has a separate Noise Ordinance and most towns have “off hours”. Dave Fuller stated that there is no way, as a town, to measure noise, no tool, and so it may be hard to enforce. Ideas such as noise berms, trees and shrubs, and simply getting used to the noise were brought up. Paul requested the definition of Receptors be put in the appendix with other definitions.
Paul addressed an item on the 2nd page, number 4 (see attachment). He indicated that it needed to be noted that on occasion the guidelines were going to be violated and what was acceptable for the good of the community. Fran Temple indicated that each case would be evaluated individually. Mary L. stated that the guideline is there so Dave F. , Code Enforcement Officer, has something to back him up. She added that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to then prove it. Sally brought up the issue that what seemed to be the problem was that the recommended noise limitations were too low. It would be a failure on the town’s part for a small business, for example, to come in and then be unable to operate because they’d be in violation of the noise.
Discussion again centered around the decibels limit and Paul M stated that he liked the 55 dB and or 6 and 10 dB over Ambient, under the discretion of the Planning Board. Sally indicated she needed additional time to research having a separate, stand alone Town Noise Ordinance.
Jack Smith suggested a consideration be made regarding Industrial Use and normal conditions for that industry. This would exempt farmers.
Sally asked if the Town Board was ready to make a vote on the minor revisions to the zoning law, but indicated she would prefer to table the discussion to research a stand alone noise ordinance. Paul Stermer asked if another public hearing would be needed. Mary L. indicated if major changes were made, a public hearing would be necessary.
Paul S. made a motion to table the discussion, Paul M. seconded, Roll – Gerry S. – no, Paul M. – yes, Paul S. – yes, Sally O. – yes. Motion carried.
Sally asked if there were other areas on the revisions that needed attention. Paul M. suggested returning the language to “Negative Environmental Impact” rather than the “Successful Completion Process.” Paul M. also indicated that the writing for the “Major Excavation Land Reclamation” was not well written. Mary L. stated that all the Planning Board can do is enforce DEC decisions.
Paul Stermer addressed his concerns about item 3.3.1 “ground or water contamination” and said that this would put farmers out of business. Discussion ensued about laws that have been in effect “forever” and all it takes is someone to push it. Paul M. said that “agricultural” could be excluded. Sally asked Mike Fogel, attorney for Hawbaker, if someone could challenge the law. He indicated that taken literally, yes it could be. Mary L. indicated the Board needed to decide if they wanted to scratch the revision, revise it, or leave it. Paul M. wanted to amend it to say “activities prohibited in commercial/industrial sites.” Sally asked the Board if it should be in, out or amended. Gerry S. said in and amended, Paul M. said in/amended. Sally said out. Paul Stermer said in/amended.
Paul Mortzheim suggested the chart be a reference chart and added that a statement should be included: “these are issues the Planning Board considers and will likely have to mitigate in the best interests of the Town.” Paul M. requested removal of “ensuring no adverse effects” to the real estate section.
The audience was asked if they had anything to share with the town. Fran Temple asked if the Board was asking the Planning Board to do anything at this time. Sally indicated they were wanting to research the idea of a separate noise ordinance.
Fran Woodring asked about the tickets and whether more and more were being written in the town, or if it was a backlog. Sally indicated there was a backlog.
Jack Smith raised the issue of junk in people’s yards. Sally described the amnesty notice across town the first year this was addressed. 200 vehicles were removed by this process. Jack asked if any tickets or follow up had been done since. Sally indicated that at one point she had ordered Dave not to write tickets because of the backlog the Justice had.. Dave indicated that he was still talking to people and asking them to remove their junk. Dave said that to follow the process, Jack needed to file a complaint that Dave could follow up on, and get back to Jack. Gerry S. suggested it was time to have Dave start issuing tickets. Sally agreed and told Dave he could start doing that.
Dick Johnson raised the issue of Howie McFall resigning and going to work for the Town of Erwin soon. He has been receiving resumes to replace him but has not been impressed with their level of experience.
Kitty Pierce invited everyone to the Historical Society meeting on February 26th.
Paul M. noted that during the December 2008 meeting Tracy W. requested phone lines be modified to accommodate the needs of the court and confidentiality. Paul M. also indicated that work will begin on the Power Authority Grant project, and a young man needing community service would be starting with the attic.
Sally indicated the waiver for historical building status was received. Paul M. stated that there are plans to enclose the front of the building to cut energy costs. Board members agreed this was a good idea.
Gerry S. raised the issue of Town’s cost for the bridge work being done locally. Board members were unsure the amounts, and some of the work cost depended on whether or not the county took over Morgan Creek Rd.
Bills were reviewed at 9:40 pm. Approved by all.
Motion to pay bills was made by Sally, 2nd by Paul S. Roll – all agreed, motion carried.
Motion to adjourn meeting made by Sally, Gerry S. 2nd, Roll – all agreed, motion carried, meeting adjourned.
Mary Lentzen provided copies of the revised zoning law regarding mining and excavation in Lindley. Mary indicated that the revisions were required following the legal decision in favor of Hawbaker because the law had determined that Lindley’s zoning laws were beyond the authority of the Town.
Mary went through the sections that had been modified, added or deleted. (See handout attached). Mary indicated that the vote to approve or disapprove of the revisions could not be made until the Planning Board had received a response from Steuben County regarding the changes. Another meeting would be scheduled for the vote, once Steuben County contacted Mary.
Sally opened the meeting to the audience. Tommy Kirk raised the issue of the noise level specified in the revisions. Sally agreed to check into appropriate noise levels.
Attorneys Adam Shultz, Mike Folger representing Hawbaker, raised a number of points in light of some developments since the mining moratorium began in September 2008: The Route 99 Corridor Project and its impact on Lindley; the development of the Marsalis Shale project; and the gas and drilling in the town of Lindley. Attorney Shultz indicated that the transcript from tonight’s meeting would be made available to the Town. Attorney Shultz indicated that in light of these developments, (and the impact of heavy trucking, water use, chemical use), he recommended the Town step back and identify sections of the Town to be used as Industrial sites where the aforementioned activities could set up base, and in that way control the impact on the town these projects would have. (See copy of transcript attached).
Ted Walker asked what impact approval or disapproval of a permit by DEC would have on the Planning Board’s decisions. Mary indicated that the Town would comment but not issue a permit if DEC doesn’t pass it. Sally stated it was the Town’s goal to work more closely with DEC.
Tim Shadduck asked what control the Town might have regarding the 8 or 9 gas wells being developed in Lindley. Attorney Shultz indicated the Town couldn’t control where the wells were located, but instead reiterated his suggestion to consider where their base of operations, infrastructure, yards, etc. would be limited to.
Sally indicated that it is the Town Board’s plan to review the Comprehensive Plan.
Meeting adjourned at 8:51, indicating that if there were major revisions to the current revision, there would be another public hearing.
Megan Thistle, Town Clerk
1. Attorney - Kent Woloson
2.Official Newspapers - Corning Leader
3. Designate Bank - Chase/Community
4. Custodian - Cindy Stermer
5. Pay bills by certifications
6. Meeting Night - 2nd Tuesday of the month
7. Deputy Highway Supertindendent - Herb Eldridge
8. Deputy Supervisor - Gerry Simcoe
9. Registrar - Megan Thistle
10. Deputy Clerk,Tax Collector,& Registrar - Pam Clarkson, Kim Clark
11. Buy stamps & pay bills before due date
12. Chairman of Assessors - Guy Hill
13. Voting Machine Custodian - Larry Harris
14. Deputy Voting Machine Custodian - Leland Harris
15. Pay Officers Quarterly except Bookkeeper, Hwy Supt, & DCO, Town Clerk/Tax Collector
17. (1) Appeals Board - Steve Ritter
18. (3) Ethics Board - George Fleischman, Linda Grover, ?
20. Bookkeeper - Kathy Biggio
21. Give Supervisor 30 day extension to file Annual Report
22. To pay mileage 48 CENTS
23. Audit Supervisor, justice, Tclerk books 4th Monday of January
24. Historian - Catherine Pierce
25. Dog Control Officer - David Edmister
26. Code Enforcement Officer - David Fuller
27. Health Officer - Linda Smith, FNP
29. Planning Board Chairperson - Mary Lentzen
30. Southeast Steuben Library Trustee - Linda Swan
32. Interim Court Clerk - Tracy Wilson
33. Deputy Town Historian - Dick Pierce
34. Tech Support - Roger Steadman
1. Sally Orr discussed the action items the board members were planning on addressing in 2009. Sally shared that hers were the following:
- Establish level of reserves
- develop policies for officials
- re-evaluate Comprehensive Plan
- records management and space utilization
2. Jake raised the issue of looking into the cost for used equipment for Dick Johnson.
3. Sally asked for an update on the Power Authority grant and Gerry Simcoe indicated they were at the point where they needed to have the waiver regarding the town hall as a historical site before continuing. Sally indicated she has been leaving messages for the person responsible for this aspect of the grant.
4. Kitty Pierce indicated there would be a Historical Society Meeting on January 22nd.
5. Fran W. asked about the noise from the log skidder nearby and Dave Fuller indicated he had not found the people yet, in order to ask them about a muffler.
Bills were processed and approved. Meeting adjourned.