Lowdown on this Week’s Stony Point Town Board Meeting

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

The Stony Point Town Board convened at 7 p.m. on January 8 to handle matters which included the swearing in of a councilman, new equipment purchases and leases, the granting of a gathering permit and waiving of a public hearing for the Polar Plunge, and continued public discussion on the Champlain-Hudson Power Express transition line.

The biggest item on the agenda was the swearing in of James McDonnell as councilman. Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe took the time to travel to Stony Point to personally swear in McDonnell, a personal friend.

“He didn’t ask me,” Zugibe said. “When I heard he was being sworn in, I called and volunteered for this role. I think the people of Stony Point know what a valuable asset they have here. I know what a valuable friend I have.”

One of the main items of discussion during public input was the Champlain-Hudson Power Express, a planned power transition line which would move power from Montreal, Canada to Staten Island and Astoria, Queens.  President of the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE) George Potanovic Jr. presented a letter from SPACE board member Susan Filgueras requesting a 60-day extension for the town’s response to a court decision allowing the project.

The line has drawn criticism from Stony Point residents because it will likely require eminent domain seizures of property in the town. Potanovic and others contend it will pose not only environmental hazards, but also endanger historic cemeteries in the Stony Point area.

Potanovic explained the organization’s position against the line and the town’s vested interest in fighting a particular article in the project’s application.

“This Article 7 bypasses any local zoning or other kind of regulations the town might have,” Potanovic said. “It does not provide any kind of environmental review regarding the placement of this line through Stony Point.”

In preparation for the annual Polar Plunge, the board voted to waive a public hearing and grant a mass gathering permit for the event. The proceeds from this year’s Polar Plunge will go toward Hurricane Sandy relief.

The board also voted to purchase or lease various vehicles and pieces of equipment. Most notably, they voted 4-to-1 to lease a new Ford C-MAX for three years, with Luanne Konopko voting against the measure. Supervisor Geoffrey Finn stated that he hopes the board will set a precedent by being the first town in the county to lease a hybrid as a cost-saving measure.

Purchases also included a Kubota Excavator and portable bathrooms for Riverfront Park, which will be full-sized units which will resemble ordinary facilities rather than porta-johns.