Zoning and Building Issues Dominate Discussions at Stony Point Town Board Meeting

BY CHERYL SLAVIN

Zoning and building issues dominated the conversation at the Stony Point Town Board meeting on Tuesday night. Right at the start a number of residents of the Hoke Drive neighborhood expressed their concerns about the Aldi Supermarket currently under construction on South Liberty Drive. In addition to concerns about possible noise, light and air pollution stemming from the new air conditioning units and parking lot lights, the residents were most overwhelmingly concerned with privacy and safety issues. The supermarket property directly abuts the back or side yards of many of the residents.

The newly built brick wall separating the properties, itself an eyesore, is also not high enough to ensure the homeowners’ private enjoyment of their domiciles. Some residents presented pictures of workers gazing down into their yards as they barbecued or swam in their pool while others complained of loiterers staring right into their homes from the vantage of the wall. Trash falling into the backyards from the site also troubled the residents.

Supervisor Geoff Finn agreed with the residents that something should be done to ameliorate the situation, stating that he had already been in discussion with the owners about it. He assured them that he would consult with the building department and the town code and do everything possible to work with the owners to address the problems. Possible solutions included planting a tree barrier both to ensure privacy and hide the eyesore, as well as coming up with ways to hide and muffle the air conditioning units.

Other zoning issues concerned the Ba Mar Mobile Home Park, which had applied for permits to start rebuilding homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The bad news was that Ba Mar intended to build at the current flood elevation height rather than at the proposed new height of 11 to 13 feet. As Finn explained later in the meeting, it will take some time for the base flood new elevation numbers to be officially instated, given the necessity of a SEQRA process and public hearings.

The town will declare itself lead agency in August and set a date at that time for the public hearing. In the meantime, the town wants the mobile home park to build at the proposed new levels, even if they are not yet official. Finn cited both safety concerns and the need to comply with the federal requirements slated to go into effect next May. Finn and building inspector Bill Sheehan both stated that they will be monitoring Ba Mar for compliance. Unfortunately, Finn said he anticipates Ba Mar’s corporate owners might build at the lower height and pawn off the problem on the homes’ future residents.

Hurricane Sandy also figured into Supervisor Finn’s announcement that the town was in the process of setting up a committee to handle the planning and distribution of Stony Point’s $3 million state CRZ grant. The New York State Community Reconstruction Zone Planning Program was set up to supply additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities severely impacted by the hurricane. The Stony Point committee will consist of homeowners, business owners, board members and elected officials so that all the needs and concerns of the community will be fully represented.

Further, Finn met recently with his department heads to discuss the Hazard Mitigation grant due August 1. They are working on 10 to 15 letters of intent addressing such emergency needs as temporary street lights and flood lights. They will also be seeking to install generators and central air conditioning for the RHO building so that during future emergencies it can be used as a cooling station or a shelter. “We never again want to be in the situation we were in after Hurricane Sandy,” Finn said. Further, with regard to the RHO building, Finn said that bids will be solicited soon for the long-planned bathroom renovations.

Finn also reported that at a recent meeting all five town supervisors united to oppose United Water’s proposed water rate increase. They will continue to work together to fight the increase.

Board member Luanne Konopko announced that a new, interactive planning use flow chart will be available on the town’s website. The flow chart will greatly simplify the information process for residents and business owners seeking to build or make changes to their property.

The board also passed a resolution to request the county for a change in speed limit along Route 210. The proposed change would make the limit a uniform 30 mph from Route 9W at least through the Farley school zone.