CHATHAM – The Town Board last week discussed making Church Lane in Chatham Center one-way and also noted how little the public knows so far about plans for a new gas pipeline through the northern part of the town.
At the board’s regular meeting Thursday, May 15 board member Bob Balcom asked town Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt if there have been any updates about a proposed gas pipeline expansion through Chatham. In January, board members received letters from Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, a Kinder Morgan company, about exploring the extension of gas pipelines through parts of Columbia County. The letter, dated January 9, said the company would be contacting landowners in the coming weeks and would hold outreach meetings about the project.
Though that was five months ago, Mr. Balcom said he had recently been receiving calls from residents about the issue, though he did not say that any of his constituents had been contacted by the gas company.
“They really have nothing to say yet except that they are working through their permits,” Supervisor DeGroodt said, referring to the company. He said he had not heard from Tennessee Gas Pipeline since the January letter. “You’ll know something when we know,” he said of informing town residents of the company’s plans.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline already operates a gas pipeline through parts of Columbia County and a compressor station on state Route 66 at the north end of Chatham near the Rensselaer County line.
Also last week the board recognized Town Clerk Beth Anne Rippel for receiving certification as a registered municipal clerk from the state’s Clerks Association. “This prestigious award recognizes the professional competency of Ms. Rippel in fulfilling the responsibilities of her office,” a letter from the association reads.
As for the question of making Church Lane one-way, Rory Block, a Church Lane resident told the board, “It’s just not quality of life.” The proposal is to make the street one-way going toward Route 66 from county Route 13.
Ms. Block said she moved to the lane in 1979 and she has been recording problems with the street being two ways for three decades. She pointed out that the street is too small for two cars to drive on and allow parking for residents. “There is not enough room for one car,” she said of the size of the street. She stressed to the board that it would be safer with one lane of traffic.
The short residential road offers a slight shortcut between Routes 66 and 13.
The board discussed having the street become one-way with Highway Superintendent Joe Rickert, who didn’t see a problem with it. “I think one-way is a fine solution,” Mr. Rickert told the board.
The board plans to hold a public hearing at the next meeting in June about the change. A decision by the town to make the street one-way would also have to be approved by the state.
Mr. Rickert said it might take a while for the state to make a decision but that the change could be put into effect by late summer.
“That would be a huge improvement,” Ms. Block told the board.
The next regular board meeting will be June 19 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.
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