BY SARA GILBERT
The Village of Haverstraw met for its regular board meeting Monday, August 13 to pass laws, discuss rezoning issues, hear residents’ concerns and other business.
The board passed Local Law No. 6, which rescinds Local Law No. 5, which had banned tobacco advertising of any sort in Haverstraw stores. Immediately after this ban was made public, tobacco companies and convenience stores got together and sued the village.
“It’s too costly to fight it,” said Kohut.
Several residents spoke about how proud they are that their village was even attempting to make a difference and fight tobacco. Some suggested that the village try again in a year or so or try to build a bigger following of nonprofits that can back them in the lawsuit.
“It was our hope that a white knight would ride up,” said Kohut. “We are under federal pressures and time commitments to address the lawsuit now though.”
Denise Hogan from POW’r Against Tobacco and Alana Boutell from Reality Check presented the board with a plaque thanking them for the efforts in the fight against tobacco.
The Sign Law was put into effect as well at this meeting. All signs placed on public property are prohibited. All signs will be treated equally in order to make it fair, said Jay Hood, village attorney of Haverstraw. If caught posting signs the fines may be as high as $1,000.
Zoning issues were also addressed at the meeting. Jorge Lopez for Hector Sotomayer asked the board to allow the ground floor apartment at 29 Broadway to be used for his parents. The board denied the zoning change with Rafael Bueno and Francisco Batista approving it, Emily Dominguez abstained and Hood denied. The application did not pass.
The second request Lopez had was to add an apartment to the second floor. This passed and the application for re-zoning is going ahead.
Dave Zigler asked the board to consider the Servco property for a zoning change so it can be used for Castro Landscaping. Currently it’s right on the edge of the residential zone.
“This is a clean operation,” said Zigler. “No revving motors. They load up equipment in the morning and leave for the day.”
The board agreed to bring this up in the next meeting.
Two zoning issues were brought up at the last meeting: Hood owns property along 9W some of which is zoned as commercial, some as residential. He had asked the board to zone the entire property as commercial land to develop for businesses. The other issue was a restaurant wanted to build a location on the property near Harbor on Hudson. The outside attorney the board confronted with just to make sure they were following the law for the Hood case has not been in touch, they are waiting for results before moving forward with a motion. And the prospective restaurant owners have tabled the issue for now.
During public participation, local resident Magdalena Truchan spoke to the board about having the ferry operate during nights and weekends. She believes that it will help Haverstraw, bring people over to visit and make the area a more enticing place to live.
“At least try to,” Truchan said nicely to Kohut. He agreed that although it would be a lot of work, because the ferry relies on subsidies as it is just to keep it running, he would do his best and bring it up for discussion at the next meeting. There is currently a Change.org petition available to sign for this issue.
The oldest Catholic school in the county is turning 150. St. Peter’s asked the town if they would be able to post a banner announcing this. The board approved.
Several educational conferences were discussed and officials sent will be reimbursed for their trip. These include: Joe Modafferi to an ethics conference; Ruben Berrios to a New York State Building Officials Conference on September 11-14; and Mayor Kohut to a Main Street Economic Development conference in Syracuse on September 30-October 2 at a cost of $535.
According to Kohut, many municipalities are signing on to show support of the new Tappan Zee Bridge project.
“Not all the issues are resolved, but we can’t delay this any longer,” said Kohut, mentioning the positive sides of more jobs and less traffic.
Several announcements finished up the board meeting. The next Dancing Under the Stars show will be outside Village Hall on August 24. The Second Annual Back-Pack Event at Emeline Park, which supplies school-age children with supplies, will be August 19. A Street Fair will be held September 23. The next board meeting would normally be September 3, but that’s Labor Day so instead it will be on September 4.