BY CHERYL SLAVIN
New York City Police Officer and Stony Point resident Andrew Dossi was honored Wednesday night at the regular Stony Point Board Meeting, which had been postponed one day because of the winter storm warnings. Officer Dossi had been shot twice as he and fellow Officer Aliro Pellerano, who was also injured, attempted to apprehend two robbery suspects in the Bronx. A graduate of North Rockland High School and Rockland Community College, Dossi is also an Army veteran. Supervisor Geoff Finn, speaking on behalf of the entire board, commended Dossi for his heroism, and stated that it was an honor to stand next to him and present him with a plaque of appreciation for his service. Dossi’s extended family joined him at the podium.
The public hearing on the proposed changes to Stony Point’s sign law continued. The changes would allow for the erection of a single electronic billboard at the intersection of Filors Lane and Route 9W. Currently, Stony Point sign law does not allow for any electronic signage.
According to the amended draft, the sign could be as large as 15 by 8 feet, and 10 feet high. It would flash 10 second advertisements, with a 3 second transition time between notices. The contactor would build and maintain the sign without any financial expenditure by Stony Point. In exchange, the town would receive one 10 second slot to post official notifications for every eight commercial advertisements.
Residents George Potanovic and John Dineen both argued strongly against the construction of any electronic sign within the town, stating that it was out of character with the town’s historic appeal, that it would pose a dangerous distraction especially to younger drivers, and that it is an unnecessary and ineffective means of communication with residents.
Potanovic presented extensive online research to support his position that billboards can “contribute to poor driving habits and an increased chance of accidents.” Directly addressing the audience he asked, “Do you want to see a flashing advertisement for the price of milk at Shoprite?”
The town board generally favors the idea of having an electronic billboard at a well-travelled intersection as a way to increase communication of news, announcements, and emergency notifications. The law would specify that the sign be constructed and landscaped in a manner consistent with the look and character of the town. Questions remain as to who will monitor the content of the billboard, as well as who would bear liability for accidents related to it. The hearing was continued to the February 24 board meeting in order to provide time for other agencies as well as members of the public to comment.
The public hearing on the zoning amendments for the Letchworth property was closed, and the board passed a resolution to accept the amended law, in the hopes that expanding the types of uses for the property will facilitate marketing, development, and an increase to the tax rolls. The board also passed a resolution approving the application for a $100,000 2015 Community Development Block Grant to install a portable handicapped accessible restroom at Veterans’ Memorial Park. A similar facility is already in use at Riverfront Park.
The board discussed at length the options of whether to bond or to ban the expenses for a list of capital improvement equipment such as trucks, other vehicles, and computer equipment. A number of short term bans are coming due, and the board must decide whether to pay the outstanding debt outright or finance it through a long term bond. In addition, given the current low interest rates, the board is considering long term bonding for certain items that ordinarily would be subject to a shorter term ban. The board had many questions as to which action was more economically feasible and better for the taxpayers. Although in the end the board voted 3-1-1 to approve a bond amount of $1.25 million (Monaghan abstained, Finn opposed), all agreed to submit questions to its bond advisors and counsel for further guidance as to future choice options.
A special use permit application by Verizon Wireless to construct a new “wireless communication center,” ie: cell tower, at 560 North Liberty was presented by Michael Sheridan of the law firm Snyder & Snyder. The tower would be disguised as a flag pole, with all the antennae concealed inside. The board sent the request back to the Planning Board for declaration as lead agency and further proceedings.