Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting of the Santa Clara Town Board held on Thursday, September 10, 2020, Saranac Inn, NY Town Hall at 6:30 P.M.
Roll as follows for the Regular Monthly Meeting:
Andrew McGill - Supervisor
Richard Lyon - Councilman
David Perry - Councilman
Marcel "Mickey" Webb - Councilman
John Murray - Councilman
Scott LaMay - Superintendent of Highways
Laurie McGill - Town Clerk
Regular monthly meeting called to order by Supervisor McGill at 6:30 P.M.
Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
Motion by Rick Lyon, seconded by John Murray to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting. All members voting Aye. Motion carried. Motion by John Murray, seconded by Rick Lyon to accept the minutes. All members voting Aye. Motion carried
Motion by Rick Lyon, seconded by John Murray to accept the resignation of Steve Light from the Highway Department as of August 28, 2020. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to approve the hiring of William Tanzini as of August 31, 2020 as a MEO for the Highway Department.
Paul Smith Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department contract ends 12/31/2020. A Public Hearing has been set for October 8, 2020 at 6:15 PM on the proposed 5 year contract starting January 1, 2021 and ending December 31, 2025.
Dog Law Update - As per our last town board Meeting a Committee of the Town Board met with Lena Bombard of the Tri-Lakes Humane Society (contractor with the Town for Dog Control) and with an attorney for the Town. The consensus of the meeting and of the Town Board is that we will need to revise and more specifically define our Local Law. Specifically the definition of the wording and meaning of "under immediate supervision and control". In addition some other clarifications may be needed. Some of the other discussion pertained to the current law and the ability of the contractor to enforce complaints. Specifically a complaint must be signed by either the property owner, dog owner or an eyewitness to the alleged violation of the dog control law in order for a ticket to be written and forwarded to the Court. Without a signed complaint the contractor can at best look into the matter and perhaps discuss the situation with the dog’s owner, but no formal enforcement action can be taken. Another issue discussed was that of some complaints being about matters that are actually governed by laws other than our dog control law. For example, if it appeared that someone was using a dog to harass or threaten someone that would need to be handled by the New York State Police. In conclusion because the situation is more complicated than at first thought the Town Board and the Town Attorney have begun to collect other Town Laws pertaining to the "under control" definition and enforcement for review before making any changes to our dog control law. While this will take additional time and will not result in a quick rewrite of the law it is the feeling of the Town Board that we would rather get it right than find ourselves doing it all over again soon because we acted too quickly and not carefully enough. We hope that you understand and concur in our efforts to fix this problem so that the dog control law is enforceable and understandable to everyone.
RESOLUTION No.: 06 -
INTRODUCED By: Mickey Webb
SECONDED By: Rick Lyon
DATE: September 10, 2020
RESOLUTION SCHEDULING PUBLIC HEARING ON A LOCAL LAW
TO ESTABLISH A MORATORIUM ON COMMERCIAL
DEVELOPMENT IN THE R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 ZONING DISTRICTS IN
THE TOWN OF SANTA CLARA
WHEREAS, for the well-being of the Town's residents and to attract visitors
seeking the natural beauty of Adirondack forests, waters and mountains, the Town of
Santa Clara believes that the preservation, to the greatest extent possible, of the natural
beauty and wilderness character of the Town's R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning districts has
been and continues to be critically important to the Town of Santa Clara, and
WHEREAS, it is essential that all future new commercial development and all
commercial re-development of properties in the R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning districts, as
well as all modifications to existing commercial property in these zoning districts, must
be consistent with the Town's goal of preserving the natural beauty and wilderness
character of these zoning districts and with the significant historic and architectural
character of existing residential and commercial property uses in these zoning districts,
WHEREAS, the Town Board believes that a Moratorium is necessary to
temporarily restrict commercial development in the Town's R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning
districts to thereby allow the Town Board time to review the existing zoning regulations
for those zoning districts and to prepare revised and/or new zoning regulations for those
zoning districts in order to ensure that all future new commercial development and all
commercial re-development of properties in the Town's R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning
districts, and all modifications to existing commercial property uses in these zoning
districts, will preserve the natural beauty and wilderness character of the area to the
greatest extent possible and be consistent with the historic and architectural character
of existing residential and commercial property uses in the R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning
WHEREAS, a Public Hearing is required prior to adoption of a Local Law to
establish such a Moratorium,
NOW, THEREFORE, THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF SANTA CLARA
HEREBY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
1. Based on the Town Board's discussions at tonight's meeting, the Town's
Special Counsel is hereby directed to prepare the text of a proposed Local Law
with the necessary form and content to enact a Moratorium on commercial
development and commercial re-development of properties in the Town's R-C-1.3
and R-C-3.2 zoning districts, as well as on modifications to existing commercial
properties in those zoning districts.
The Town Board shall meet on November 12, 2020, at 6:00PM to hold a Public Hearing to hear all people who are interested in the proposed Local Law
establishing a Moratorium on commercial development and commercial re-
development of properties in the Town's R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning districts, as
well as on modifications to existing commercial properties in those zoning
districts. The Town Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to publish a Notice of Public Hearing in the Town's official newspaper, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise not less than ten (10) calendar days before the date of the Public Hearing and to
make a copy of the proposed Local Law available for public inspection during
regular business hours when the draft is received from the Town's Special
Counsel, and to make a copy of the proposed Local Law available at no charge
to anyone who requests it.
3. No review of the proposed Moratorium is required under the State
Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) because adoption of a Moratorium
on land development is an exempt SEQRA Type II Action under 6 NYCRR
4. The Town Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of the
proposed Local Law to the Town's Planning Board for its report in accordance
with the Town's Land Use Law.
5. The Town Clerk is hereby further authorized and directed to: 1) refer the
proposed Local Law for review and comments as provided in Article XII of the
Town Land Use Code, 2) to cause written notice of the Public Hearing on the
proposed Local Law to be given as provided in Article XII of the Town Land Use
Law, and as may otherwise be required pursuant to New York State law, and 3)
to make any other referrals and provide any other notices with respect to the
proposed Local Law as may be recommended by the Town's Special Counsel.
6. Town The Town's Special Counsel for planning and zoning matters; the
law firm of Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC; is hereby authorized and
directed to assist the Town Clerk, Planning Board, Code Enforcement Officer and
Town Board with the preparation and/or review of any and all documents
necessary for the adoption of the proposed Local Law and to otherwise advise
and assist Town officials in the process of adopting the proposed Local Law.
7. This Resolution shall take effect immediately.
The question of the adoption of this Resolution was duly put to a vote on roll call which
resulted as follows:
Ayes: Webb, Murray, Lyon, Perry, McGill
The resolution was declared duly adopted by the Town Board this 10 day of September 2020.
Beaverwood Road – Highway Superintendent LaMay reports that there are dangerous dead trees on Beaverwood Road that need to be removed. He has had some complaints about these trees being a danger. He has contacted National Grid but they will not take them down. A quote was received from Niederbuhl Bros, LLC to remove the trees. Motion to approve quote and proceed with removing dangerous trees on Beaverwood Road by Niederbuhl Bros LLC for $3,220.00 by Rick Lyon, seconded by John Murray. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
RESOLUTION No.: 07 INTRODUCED By: Mickey Webb
SECONDED By: Rick Lyon
DATE: September 10, 2020
RESOLUTION REQUESTING REVIEW AND CHANGE OF APA POLICY ON AGENCY REVIEW OF PROPOSALS FOR NEW
TELECOMMUNICATIONS TOWERS AND OTHER TALL STRUCTURES IN THE ADIRONDACK PARK
WHEREAS, government's primary responsibility is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, and
WHEREAS, cellular telephone (cell phone) service and emergency telecommunication systems are increasingly critical to the health, safety and welfare of Adirondack residents and visitors, and
WHEREAS, cell phone service and smart phones allow users, including business people and students, to participate in remote meetings and educational classes using Zoom or similar services, and
WHEREAS, cell phones are a crucially important tool used by emergency response personnel, including forest rangers, police, fire and ambulance services to receive reports of incidents, to provide life saving instructions to lost or injured people, and to locate
them through triangulation or the location feature of their phones, and
WHEREAS, users may send text messages to emergency response personnel, even when signal strength is insufficient for voice communications, and
WHEREAS, life threatening incidents have occurred in the Adirondacks during which the lack of cell phone and emergency radio
service have led to delays in response, and to worse outcomes for the people involved, and
WHEREAS, cell phone service has enabled forest rangers to help lost and injured people in the Adirondacks avoid serious injury, and
WHEREAS, radio communication is based on the "line of sight" transmission of radio waves from transmitting antennas to receivers,
including cell phones and emergency radio receivers, and
WHEREAS, radio transmissions can only be received within a limited range of the transmitter, with the range depending on transmitter power, antenna radiation pattern, receiver sensitivity, noise level, and presence of obstructions between transmitter
and receiver, including trees, buildings, mountains, and other obstructing topography.
WHEREAS, radio transmitting antennas, outside the Adirondacks, are often sited in locations that avoid obstructions to provide maximum transmission range for radio waves, including cell phone signals and emergency radio transmissions, and
WHEREAS, currently cell phone service is unavailable in many areas of the Adirondacks, and
WHEREAS, Adirondack local governments believe that the unavailability of cell and emergency radio service in many areas of the Adirondacks is the foreseeable result of the fact that the towers supporting the antennas for those services have been required by the APA policy on towers to be "substantially invisible", and consequently substantially lower than such towers elsewhere in New York State, and at, or very near, the height of obstructing tree canopies, and below the height of surrounding topography, which reduces the range of the radio waves, and
WHEREAS, the "substantial invisibility" standard is fundamentally incompatible with optimum essential cell phone and emergency radio service for Adirondack residents and visitors, and
WHEREAS, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the importance of cell service and the internet, which have become indispensable for distance learning and telemedicine vital to residents and visitors attempting to work from home and school children and college
students attempting to continue their education by learning at home with technology, and
WHEREAS, the Review Board believes that the APA's current "tower policy" results in cell carriers settling for lower towers than they would build outside the Adirondacks, because they are aware of the limited maximum height the agency will require to' approve their permits, and
WHEREAS, the lower towers result in shorter transmission range, which negatively affects public health, safety, welfare, education, and the economy, and
WHEREAS, the Review Board firmly believes that, with careful planning and siting, APA staff is capable of balancing protection of the viewshed with the cellular needs of residents and visitors, and
WHEREAS, the Review Board believes that the APA cell tower policy should be amended to allow and encourage improved cell phone and emergency radio communications, while recognizing the need to protect the Adirondack's resources, and
WHEREAS, the current definition of "substantial invisibility" requires that towers not be "readily apparent" as to size, composition or color and that the structures will, to the maximum extent practicable, blend with the background vegetation, other structures or
other landscape features as seen from all significant potential public viewing points, and
WHEREAS, the Review Board believes that "not readily apparent" is a more reasonable standard considering the pressing need for improved cell service,
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Review Board respectfully requests that the APA review and modify its tower policy and adopt "not readily apparent" as the new standard, and also add the following incentives and exceptions for specific sites:
encourage vertical collocation of carrier's antennas, by offering a height incentive of 10 to 15 feet above the tree height to
encourage vertical collocation and reduce the proliferation of towers horizontally collocated with other towers, which
would have the added benefit of reducing carriers costs, and
offer general permits for cell carrier antennas on existing tall structures such as water towers, hotels, ski lift towers, inside
church steeples and on government buildings, provided they meet certain specified conditions, and
allow cell carrier antennas of some height, such as 20 feet above existing structures within the APA Hamlet classification,
offer a height bonus of 10 to 20 feet above the tree canopy for new towers serving currently unserved areas, in recognition
of the pressing need vividly illustrated by Covid-19 restrictions on meetings, and
add a requirement to its policy that staff and commissioners ask cell tower applicants for information, including a map,
showing how a higher tower would expand coverage and benefit residents and travelers, which would enable APA
commissioners to weigh the visibility cost against the public benefit.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Adirondack Senators, Adirondack Assembly Members and the Adirondack Park Agency and Adirondack Counties.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon the Board approved the following
THIS AGREEMENT made September 10, 2020 between the TOWN OF
SANTA CLARA, hereinafter referred to as the TOWN, and the ADIRONDACK PARK
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW BOARD, a Board duly organized and existing
pursuant to the provisions of §803-a of the Executive Law of the State of New York,
acting by and through its duly appointed members, hereinafter referred to as the
WHEREAS, the Review Board was created by the Legislature of the State of
New York and is composed of representatives appointed by the county legislatures of
the counties lying in whole or in part within the Adirondack Park; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the State of New York has provided only partial
funding for the REVIEW BOARD to perform its statutory functions as outlined in
Executive Law §803-a; and
WHEREAS, the TOWN has authorized an appropriation in the sum of Three
Hundred Dollars ($300) in support of the work of the REVIEW BOARD in representing
the interests of the local governments of the Adirondacks; and
NOW, THEREFORE, it is agreed as follows:
The TOWN agrees to pay to the REVIEW BOARD the sum of Three
Hundred Dollars ($300) for the services of the REVIEW BOARD in
representing the TOWN in matters relating to the Adirondack Park.
2. The REVIEW BOARD agrees to provide to the TOWN the benefit of its
services, including but not limited to, attendance at all meetings of the Adirondack Park
Agency, attendance and participation at public hearings conducted by the Adirondack
Park Agency on projects under review by said Agency, periodic reports on the activities
of the Adirondack Park Agency to the Supervisor of the TOWN, especially as such
activities affect the residents of the TOWN and generally to report on the administration
and enforcement of the Land Use and Development Plan set forth in the Executive Law
of the State of New York.
All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Town Budget - Public Hearing on the Town of Santa Clara 2021 Budget has been set for October 8, 2020 at 6 P.M. Budget will be put on the Town website for review.
Next Board Meeting will be October 8, 2020 at 6:30 P.M.
Lynne Perry reported that the Bartlett Carry Road Association is having construction work done on the bridge on the Bartlett Carry Road starting Monday, September 14th. The bridge will be closed to all traffic for portions of the day. All emergency service agencies have been notified of this closure.
Ms. Chappo read the below statement to the Board/h3>
My first comment is about dog control. There was joint public comment made at the July meeting by Planning board members John LaHart and Scottie Adams, and resident Pamela Palumbo that the dog control law should be rewritten to provide a clearer definition of "under control."
The Town of Santa Clara should not be providing special treatment to
board members or their friends in drafting of town laws and any other
special requests. The dog control law should be a strengthened leash
law, and this idea of "under control," which has permitted dogs to be
kept running at large, should not be left up to the interpretation of
irresponsible pet owners placing the health and safety of other residents at risk.
The law as it is currently written is not adequate and the enforcement
is not adequate. This summer, following complaint to the town of
having the pet owned by Ms. Palumbo and Ms. Hall running at large on
my family's private property on multiple occasions, these individuals
have shown up at my family's private residence, been verbally and
physically abusive, and have engaged in other forms of harassment in
retaliation for this complaint. No one should have their safety
threatened because the Town of Santa Clara has failed to enact a leash
law that adequately protects the public.
Church Pond Road Fund
My second comment is as it pertains to the issue of public
accountability, official conduct, and transparency in the Town of Santa
Clara. There should be a full public accounting of the improper
formation of the so-called "Church Pond Road Fund," which includes as
its members and/or leaders nearly half of this Town Board and
specifically members of the Town Variance, Planning, and Board of
Assessment committees, as well as the Upper Saranac Lake manager.
This Town group, which is an unincorporated HOA started by a member
of the Town's Variance Committee in 2004, has presented and
continues to present a clear conflict of interest.
Failure of town officials to recuse themselves from issues pertaining to
this HOA and requests for special treatment on behalf of the HOA stand
in violation of Article 18 of the New York State General Municipal code,
leading to the impression of preferential treatment by the Town of
current and former board members as well as their spouses and private
residents of the HOA on issues regarding proposed short term rental
regulations, permits, variances, dog control, municipal contracts, and
other town codes and amendments. There should be a full public
accounting of the activities, financials, tax records, and communications
of this subcommittee of the Town of Santa Clara since 2004. These
unresolved conflicts of interest have created a climate of unequal
treatment, the impression of a misuse of taxpayer resources,
documented harassment, and retaliation against private residents.
Michelle Brown Garcia thanked the Board for the use of the community room for the NYS Boater Safety course. Michelle plans to hold more courses next summer.
John LaHart requested a copy of Resolution No.6. A copy was provided after the meeting.
Connie Rockefeller asked if there would be a public meeting on the dog control law when it has been reviewed and ready to be amended. By law a Public Hearing must take place before a Local Law can be amended. The Public Hearing will be scheduled and published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise when the amendment is ready and a date set.
Good of the Town
Supervisor McGill received a letter from Christopher Cohan about pollinator plantings at Town office's property. We have various open spaces like culvert/rain garden and along road around lonely evergreens to name two locations which pollinator plants would do well. After further discussion by the Board, a motion was made to deny the request of the pollinator plantings. All members voting aye. Motion carried.
Supervisor McGill contacted an appraiser Donald Hoffman of Intercounty Appraisal in Lake Placid. Mr. Hoffman will appraise the Town Garage in the Hamlet for a fee of $1,000.00. On a motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon the Board authorized the hiring of Mr. Hoffman to appraise the Town Garage. All members voting aye. Motion carried.
Highway Superintendent Scott LaMay reported the paving has been completed on the Bay Pond Road. Gravel will be put down on the shoulders the week of September 14th and the highway department will be splitting the cost of the shoulder machine with the Town of Harrietstown. The Town needs to start thinking about replacing pickup trucks. Scott is working with DEC and APA on applications for culvert extensions on the culvert on the Everton Road in the Hamlet. If works needs to be done on this road it would be impossible currently to get in there with a dump truck and Scott also has concerns with emergency vehicles getting in there as well. The application process is ongoing.
Mickey Webb reported that only a 16.7% response has been received by the Town of Santa Clara to the 2020 Census. Mickey encourages anyone that has not completed the census to please do so.
General Fund vouchers No. 190 to 203 in the amount of $8,862.08 and Highway Fund vouchers No. 78 to 90 in the amount of $25,707.64 were audited by the Board. Motion by Rick Lyon seconded by John Murray to approve vouchers and pay audited vouchers. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion to adjourn at 6:45 P.M. made by Dave Perry, seconded by Rick Lyon. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.