GERMANTOWN—Neighborliness, or the lack of it, was a frequent subject during a short Town Board meeting March 18. The board passed two resolutions in an effort to address neighbors’ concerns about their health and safety.
The first resolution asked Code Enforcement Officer John Fieser to inspect 4777 Route 9G. If his findings confirm neighbors’ complaints, the property owner will be required to clean up the property, removing all debris within 60 days. This is the second time this property has been cited; last year, said Supervisor Roy Brown, the property owner “did attempt a cleanup, but it went by the wayside.”
The second resolution asked the state Department of Transportation to install “No Parking” and “No Standing” signs at the intersection of Route 9G and Northern Boulevard (County Route 35A, north end). Upstate Auto, Inc., 4895 Route 9G, reportedly parks cars and pickup trucks at the intersection in such a way as to hamper visibility for cars turning left out of Northern Boulevard to go north. Allegedly the business also parks cars and trucks on a neighbor’s property.
That neighbor, Louis Bruno, who with his wife, Roxanne, owns the property at 4887 Route 9G, attended the meeting and spoke from the floor. “When we purchased the house it was our understanding that Route 9G was zoned for small business,” he said. Now “a huge business” stretches onto their property. In addition to the visibility hazard, said Mr. Bruno, large trucks are tearing up the road shoulder, creating holes that fill with water.
“I thought the situation was temporary,” he said, “but it’s not.”
Neighbors had called town officials, and Supervisor Brown spoke with DOT. After an inspection, the agency was also concerned about poor visibility at the intersection. “DOT said it would take 30 days after we passed a resolution to get the signs up,” said Mr. Brown. “Once they’re up, the town police and the Sheriff’s Office can enforce them.”
Speaking during the public comment period, resident Betty Ahrens complained about a lack of information sharing among police agencies and residents. A burglary took place near her home and she wondered why she had not been notified, or at least asked if she had seen or heard anything. From the audience, Police Chief Brian Dubois said he had only learned about the burglary at the Stewart’s Shop on Route 9G. Mr. Brown said he didn’t know about it at all.
Kay Abraham said it seemed strange that the county Sheriff’s Office didn’t communicate with the town police. “Why is this not a basic policy?” she asked.
Mr. Brown said he would contact the Sheriff’s Office about the matter.
And finally, maintenance director Anthony Cidras, in making his monthly report to the board, said that he continues to pick up litter, human and canine, on the town campus.
In other business, the board:
•Appointed Roger Rekow to another five-year term on the Board of Assessment Review. Mr. Rekow has taken the required training
•Noted that the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board still have one opening each, and the Ethics Board, which has been expanded, has three vacant positions. Those interested should call 518 537-6687 ex. 310
•Learned from Supervisor Brown that he had met with all the parties to discuss plans for the sidewalk construction, with the goal of putting the project out to bid in May. Once work is scheduled, it would take three to four months to complete
•Learned from Mr. Brown that Carol Wilbur, marketing director of the Columbia County Economic Development Corporation, had visited Germantown. They had lunch at Otto’s Market and visited all the Main Street businesses. They discussed how the CCEDC and Germantown could work together, and Ms. Wilbur is expected to return with some marketing initiatives
•Confirmed the following dates: April 4, roadside cleanup, 9 a.m. to noon; April 5, Park Commission sub sale in the Kellner Center, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.; April 20 for the Riverkeeper Sweep cleanup, from 9 a.m. to noon (to volunteer, visit riverkeeper.org); May 18 for the Germantown Garden Club Plant Sale and the townwide yard sale. These dates and other events are online at the redesigned website, germantownny.org
•For April only, changed the regular meeting date of the third Monday to the fourth Monday, April 22 (7 p.m., town hall), in order to stay on schedule for bill paying.
All board members except Joan Snyder and Don Westmore attended, along with about a dozen residents.