BY ROBERT KNIGHT
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
With Democratic Supervisor Andrew Stewart absent, the four-member Republican majority of the Orangetown Town Board had a fairly easy time of it earlier this month, disposing of a five-page agenda in quick order.
The only debate the entire evening was a nearly one-hour discussion on a request by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill to convert their motherhouse on Route 340 into a pseudo nursing home for elderly nuns, to be run by a national Jewish organization. The request, by attorney Ira Emmanuel, took the board by such surprise that they were at first speechless.
After quickly recovering, however, the mostly all Catholic council peppered Emmanuel and representatives from both the Dominican Sisters and the former Beth Abraham, now renamed Center Light Health Care, on just how the concept would work at the sprawling Sparkill Dominican campus. Besides the Dominican mother house, the site also includes St. Thomas Aquinas College, Thorpe Village, Dowling Gardens, a Camp Venture complex and a separate four-year college.
Only the convent would be involved in the transformation into a nursing home for elderly and ailing nuns, the speakers all agreed, promising to provide further details to the council as they develop.
Details of the presentation, and the board’s reactions, were detailed in last week’s Rockland County Times.
In other business at the same council meeting the board quickly and without dissent disposed of 13 other items in a matter of minutes. They then moved just as quickly into executive session in the vacant supervisor’s office, saying only that their discussions there had to do with “personnel matters,” without further explanation.
The council also excluded Deputy Supervisor Allan Ryff from attending the executive session. Ryff, a former Republican councilman, was appointed to the deputy supervisorship last year by Stewart, a Democrat. His primary duty is to run Town Board meetings in Stewart’s absence, which he did at this meeting.
The business items on the workshop session agenda, all of which were approved unanimously, were merely referrals to the council’s next business meeting, which will be held Sept. 9. The board remains on summer vacation until that time.
The forwarded items include the following:
- A tax certiorari request by Tali Plaza of Nyack for a tax refund for over assessing their property. The refund, for tax years 2012 and 2013, will be $11,174 by Rockland County, $25,049 by Orangetown and $107,289 by the school district.
- A similar tax certiorari request by PAR Builders and Masis Parseghian for the West Gate Best Western Motel on Route 59 in Nyack in the amount of $4,111 from the county, $16,53 from the town and $49,134 from the Nyack School District. Both settlements were recommended by the town assessor and town attorney’s office.
- Schedule a public hearing for Sept. 9 at 8 p.m., to authorize the town to clean up two abandoned properties in Orangetown, and add the cost to the owners’ tax bills. In both cases the town will seal broken doors and windows on the vacant houses, clear debris from the yards and mow the overgrown lawns. The properties are at 2 South Mary Francis Street and 44 Livingston Street, both in the hamlet of Tappan. The owners were not identified.
- Authorize the town highway department to support the annual Sons of Italy Festival Sept. 11-14 by providing street barricades, cones, trash cans, plastic fencing and electric signs, at no cost to the organization.
- Also authorize the highway department to provide similar assistance to the Blauvelt Lions Club for their annual Applefest on Sept. 28 at Flywheel Park in Piermont, including six recycling kiosks and 12 garbage cans.
- Authorize similar assistance to the annual Pearl River Day Festival on Oct. 11, by adding the use of an electronic message board several days before the event, in addition to other benefits already authorized.
- Authorize similar assistance to the Nyack Chamber of Commerce for its annual Septemberfest Street Fair onSept. 7 by providing the town’s “Showmobile,” at a cost to the Chamber of $350, the standard fee the town charges all groups who request usage of the expensive trailer that converts to a portable stage.
- Authorize usage of the same Showmobile to Dominican College in Blauvelt, for use in their annual “Fire in the Sky” event on Sept. 20, at the same fee.
- Authorize usage of the same Showmobile to the Nyack Chamber of Commerce for its annual Nyack Halloween Parade in October at the same fee.
- Authorize providing portable toilets to the Blauvelt Lions Club Applefest in Flywheel Park in Piermont on Sept. 28.
- Authorize the Rockland County Chapter of the American Red Cross to permanently place a portable Red Cross storage trailer on town property at 81 Hunt Road in Orangeburg. The trailer will contain equipment and supplies to enable a quick response in that area to any emergency, from fires to hurricanes and floods to tornadoes. Placement of the trailer has already been agreed to by both the Red Cross and the town’s Office of Emergency Management, which includes the Police Department and several other town agencies.
- Accept, with regret, the retirement of Detective Patrick Frawley from the Orangetown Police Department, based on duty-incurred disabilities. His retirement was effective August 22.