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Officials confirm it’s ZBA’s job to judge gallery’s show


KINDERHOOK—At the Village Board meeting last week, village Code Enforcement Office Peter Bujanow said that the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will meet December 28 and that the Jack Shainman Gallery: The School should be on the agenda.

The gallery is on Broad Street in what formerly was the Van Buren public school. It currently has an exhibit by artist Nick Cave with words written across the building’s facade in large black letters: “Truth Be Told.” Earlier this fall Mr. Bujanow denied approval for the plan to put the vinyl material used to spell out the words on the building and now the owner of the gallery, Jack Shainman, must go to the ZBA to appeal the denial.

At their meeting in November, the Village Board members and the board’s attorney, Rob Fitzsimmons, stressed that it is up to the ZBA to review an appeal from The School and decide whether the work violates village zoning law.

During the Village Board meeting in December 9, held on Zoom, a resident asked about a letter she wrote in an email to the board about The School. Mayor Dale Leiser said, “There were many emails that needed to be responded to.” He and other board members said that those emails were forwarded to the ZBA for the public hearing on the issue.

Board member Mark Browne said, “We did tell everybody that we read all their emails” at the November meeting. He said the board had to remain neutral until the review process “runs it course.”

Information about ZBA meetings can be found on the village website at .

Public hearings must be announced and properly published as a public notice before they can be held.

Also at the December 9 meeting, Mayor Leiser announced that the village had received an environmental variance from the state so the village may now move forward with demolition of a building at 48 William Street. The Village Board has been discussing the condition of the building for years but at last month’s meeting several residents of the street spoke about their concerns with the safety of the building.

Mayor Leiser said that bids for the demolition work would go out at the end of last week. The board plans to open the bids and, with the attorney’s approval, accept a bid at their next meeting on January 13.

“We are within a month of demolition,” he said.

Also at the December 9 meeting:

• Mayor Leiser pointed out that in the CEO report between January and December of this year the cost estimate for construction in the village was $1.8 million. Mr. Bujanow said that was “pretty significant” for the village to have almost $2 million in projects

• Economic Development Director Renee Shur said in her report that four new businesses were “in the pipeline” including the Aviary Restaurant, a new barber shop and new Pilates studio. She also thanked all the people involved in decorating the Village Square for the KBPA (Kinderhook Business and Professional Association) December Nights program

• Mayor Leiser said he had had some questions from residents who asked why their water bills were higher. “We did pump a lot more water” this last quarter he said, adding but that he had “no concerns about usage”

• Trustee David Flaherty reported an increase in the loads of leaves picked up this year, saying there were 236 loads of leaves, making for 877 tons. He pointed out that people are home more and may have more time

• Trustee Flaherty also said Van Buren Hall at the Village Hall will remain closed due to the pandemic. Trustee Dorene Weir reported that the playground at Rothermel Park also will remain closed. The village DPW has taken down the fencing around the playground equipment but there are signs.

The next Village Board meeting will be January 13, 2021 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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