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Neighbors, conservancy agree: some dog owners misbehave


GREENPORT–The Columbia Land Conservancy isn’t as good a neighbor as it might be, three residents told the Town Board at its monthly meeting Wednesday, July 6.

Dogs accompanying visitors to CLC’s Greenport Conservation Area off Daisy Hill Road “wake us up every morning,” said Joe Kobilca, sometimes as early as 6 a.m.

Mr. Kobilca said there were two incidents last year in which dogs attacked people. “I’m afraid to let my grandkids go out and play,” he said.

Mr. Kobilca told the board he had spoken with people at the land conservancy last year and again this year “and they gave me some lip service.”

Mazie Kisselburg, who lives at the end of Daisy Hill Road, said besides bringing noisy dogs, visitors to the conservation area “back up in my driveway and tear up the lawn.”

“We have been working with the dog-walkers,” CLC spokesman Tom Crowell told The Columbia Paper in an interview after the board meeting. Signs and a supply of plastic bags remind dog owners that “dogs are supposed to be on a leash, and cleaned up after,” he said.

He conceded that there is no one at the site to enforce dog rules.

“It is not the case that we invite people to bring their dogs and let them off the leash,” said CLC Executive Director Peter Paden. “We have rules that a dog must be on a leash and cleaned up after.”

He noted that the conservation area is maintained not just for passive recreation, but also as wildlife habitat, and “uncontrolled dogs are not good for that either.”

“I can understand [Mr. Kobilca’s] frustration,” Mr. Paden said. “We want to be a good neighbor, and we’re aware that not everyone follows the rules. We’ll have to think about how to improve the situation.”

Town Attorney Carmi Rapport suggested one possibility: Close a loophole in the existing town leash law. Currently the law says any dog must be leashed “unless it is accompanied by its owner or a responsible person and under the full control of such owner or person.”

Town Animal Control Officer Jennifer Pinkowski said she has already spoken with some dog owners visiting the conservation area. She told the board CLC officials want to hold a public meeting on the dog issue; councilmen asked her to move that idea forward.

Also at the meeting, the board:

*Received from resident John Mizerak a petition bearing about 50 signatures objecting to the narrowing of Williams Street, imperiling the safety of walkers, bicyclists and playing children.

Highway Superintendent Mark Gaylord said the narrowing, from 34 feet to about 24 feet, allows plenty of room for emergency vehicles to pass.

Because plows can now clear them in two passes instead of four, “I saved the town $26,000 by narrowing those two streets,” said Mr. Gaylord. “There was no reason for a 34-foot-wide street.”

Also narrowed was St. Charles Place; the highway superintendent plans to narrow Delaware Avenue and Washington Boulevard.

*Heard from Supervisor Edward Nabozny that the county Board of Elections as combined Election Districts 1, 3 and 4, which will vote at the Questar III building on Union Turnpike. District 2, covering Lower Greenport, will continue to vote at the Becraft Firehouse.

*Heard Police Chief Kevin Marchetto commend Greenport Officer Corey Cox for successfully talking down a distraught person who was threatening to jump from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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