TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, 05/10/2021 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCIL PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCIL PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCIL PRESENT
MIKE PFEIL, COUNCIL PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Jeffrey Hazel; Benjamin Gerring; Scott Daniels; Tricia Fenstermacher; Brandon VanCuren; Chuck & Marcia Hutcheson; John Owens; Helen & Clayton Emick; Dave Lutsch; Jonathan Henck; Dave & Mary Wahl; David & Rebecca Mormel; Dan Strickland, Highway Superintendent; Dale Robbins, Attorney; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Pierre Chagnon, Legislator; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PUBLIC HEARING: 6:45 PM
- 6:45 PM – DISCUSS PROPOSED LOCAL LAW ESTABLISHING 6 MONTH MORATORIUM ON SOLAR FARMS
Mr. Yates brought the hearing to order at 6:45 PM.
Mr. Lawson said the Planning Board began discussing this action when there was a solar project proposed for land located on Watson Road close to the lake. He said he did not think this location was still being considered but the Planning Board felt it would be wise to issue the moratorium so they will have some time to better determine locations for this type of facility. Mr. Lawson asked the board if they are looking to just cover the NYS-Unified Solar Permit projects large enough to be classified as farms or all commercial projects. He said there is a company called Gale Head Solar that is looking at a project on the corner of Butts and Open Meadows Roads.
Mr. Robbins said if the town is going to adopt a moratorium, the Planning Board and Town will need to use the time wisely to make sure we accomplish what the town wants to accomplish.
Mr. Lawson said when the Planning Board had reviewed the current Solar Law, they had included the Districts where they could best locate larger arrays. He also noted that the project on Watson Road would have required a Use Variance which is difficult to obtain.
It was discussed that there are no current applications in the works.
Mr. Robbins said we need to prepare a SEQR and set a public hearing.
- MOTION # 55 OF 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO ADJOURN THE PUBLIC HEARING AT 7:01 PM. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
REGULARLY SCHEDULED BOARD MEETING 7:00 PM
- PLEDGE & MOMENT OF SILENCE
- MINUTES: 4/8/21
- MOTION # 56 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 4/8/2021 TOWN BOARD MEETING AS PRESENTED BY THE TOWN CLERK. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- BRANDON VAN CUREN
Mr. Yates introduced Mr. VanCuren and said he is a new resident in our town living at the Green Farm on Rt. 394. He said Brandon has attended many town meetings and has shown an interest in assisting him with the Ball Creek Stabilization Project. He indicated he will be helping with a water study and has already established contacts with the DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Yates said he is no liability to the town and comes with his own insurance. He said he is very excited to have a young person interested in the town.
- GRIEVANCE DAY – WED. 5/26/21 3:00 – 8:00 PM – TOWN OF CHAUTAUQUA OFFICES
- MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE – VETERANS PARK SUNDAY, 5/30/21 AT 2:00 PM
- HARMONY/NORTH HARMONY HISTORICAL SOCIETY – SPRING YARD SALE AND QUILT RAFFLE SAT. 5/22/21 FROM 10 AM TO 5 PM
- DAVID WAHL (Almar Dr.)
Mr. Wahl referenced the issue with Mr. Olson regarding the trailer located on property with no water or septic. He expressed concern that there are no toilet facilities at the location. He said the town should address that in some way.
Mr. Yates said the town has addressed the issue. He said Mr. Lawson is addressing any zoning issues and he and Mr. Sena had gone down and seen Mr. Olson last Saturday. Mr. Yates said he was provided proof that Mr. Olson is taking his holding tanks to Camp Chautauqua to be emptied. He said any further issues regarding zoning will be addressed but there are other issues that are not the towns to decide.
Mr. Lawson said he had sent a letter and spoken to Mr. Olson. Mr. Olson’s attorney had sent him a letter advising that the lakeside property in question is a separate deed and has always been a separate property even though it shows on the tax map as one SBL.
There was further general discussion of Mr. Olson’s plans to build on his second lot.
Mr. Sena said Mr. Olson had indicated in their conversation that they were taking half of the 50’ lakeside property for their dock and reserving the other half for the community dock shared with 7 residents.
There was also discussion of the storage of docks at the property.
Ben Gerring and Jeff Hazel – Hadley Bay Hotel Project Presentation
Mr. Gerring said they had presented their plan to the Planning Board over the last two months, and they had recommended a short introduction/presentation to the Town Board.
Mr. Hazel passed out some pre-concept drawings and said they are interested in building a 4-story hotel with approximately 80 rooms and 80 parking spaces. He said they will do a market study when it is determined whether the project is viable for the location which would require a zoning change from a TC-4 to a TC-3 District. He said they would also need a Special Permit to build and might also be seeking some variances for parking in the front to preserve lake view and buffer neighbors. He said the footprint is about 1500 sq. ft. so with 4 floors it would be about 6,000 sq. ft.
Mr. Senske asked what the next steps in the process would be.
Mr. Yates said the first step would be to change our local law on zoning districts.
Mr. Senske asked if a preliminary market study has been done.
Mr. Gerring said their first contact was with the IDA and moving forward with their projection, this is an epicenter interchange in the county. He said the anticipation of seasonal vs. non-seasonal occupancy is not a concern because the area is an untapped resource. He said the willingness of the town to move forward has bearing on him putting up funds for the feasibility study. He said the town must want this as much as they do. He said the involved franchise has indicated that the proposed plan can work in the location. He said a lot of work has already been done and emphasized that he is a local investor as opposed to an out-of-town firm. He said they are basing their timeline on being shovel ready for this project is approximately 2 years.
Mr. Sena noted that the property across the road is zoned TC-3.
Mrs. Ortman said some thought needs to be given to the traffic situation for ingress/egress on Rt. 394 as it is a very busy road.
Mr. Yates said many questions will be answered through SEQR. He currently thinks all they are requesting is the zoning district change.
Mr. Robbins said the idea of spot zoning has been discussed and he feels that is not an issue as there are multiple properties being considered, as well as the fact that contiguous property reached by crossing the road is already zoned TC-3.
Mr. Henck asked for clarification of the location of the project.
Mr. Yates said the town would consider moving forward with a SEQR and Public Hearing.
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
1. NYS Agriculture & Markets – Municipal Shelter (CCHS) Inspection Report 4/7/2021 – Satisfactory
2. Sewer up-date – Pre-Bid Meeting 5/12/21 – Bids will be opened on 6/3/21
3. Letter of support to PJ Wendell
Mr. Yates said he had written a letter in support of P.J. Wendell on the Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Restoration Project. This involves a feasibility study with the Army Corps of Engineers.
4. Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club – Landowner Appreciation BBQ Chicken drive thru 5/22/21
5. Invitation to Grand Opening Southern Chautauqua Emporium LLC – 5/12/21 at 11:00 AM
- Charter/Spectrum Contract Franchise Fees – Public Hearing
- MOTION # 57 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON MONDAY 6/14/21 AT 6:45 PM AT THE TOWN OFFICES ON STOW RD. ASHVILLE, NY, FOR THE APPROVAL OF A CABLE TELEVISION FRANCHISE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SPECTRUM NORTHEAST, LLC AND THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Schedule SEQR and Public Hearing on Proposed Local Law #2-2021 Amending the Zoning Law and Map to designate the Hadley Bay TC-4 District as a TC-3 District
- MOTION # 58 OF 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO HOLD A SEQR AND PUBLIC HEARING ON MONDAY 6/14/21 AT 6:00 PM AT THE TOWN OFFICES ON STOW RD. ASHVILLE, NY, ON A PROPOSED LOCAL LAW TO MODIFY THE HADLEY BAY TC-4 DISTRICT TO A TC-3 DISTRICT. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Schedule SEQR and Public Hearing on 6 Month Moratorium on Solar Farms
- MOTION # 59 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO HOLD A SEQR AND PUBLIC HEARING ON MONDAY 6/14/21 AT 5:45 ON PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #1-2021, A LOCAL LAW ESTABLISHING A 6 MONTH MORATORIUM ON THE CONSTRUCTION, INSTALLATION AND/OR PERMITTING OF SOLAR FARMS IN THE TOWN. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Winona Ave. Connelly Park ROW
Mr. Robbins said after his research he has determined that the Town of North Harmony does not own the ROW in question. He said the town did file a quit claim deed for the purpose of obtaining funding for an environmental water conservation project. He noted the town is not a court. It is a service vehicle for people who live in the community as well as having designated and specific responsibilities assigned by the State of New York. He said our job is not to resolve disputes but to look at things; make a fair decision and move on. He said we do not have the knowledge to assume ownership of the ROW and we also do not know for certain who does own it (a descendent of the developer of the road?). He said this is a common problem with paper streets all around Chautauqua Lake.
Mr. Yates said he will contact Mr. Gibbons and let him know he should have his attorney look at it and decide whether he wants to go forward with an abstract search. He said it is not a town matter at this point.
Mr. Sena noted it is an important watershed area and perhaps Dave Spann should look at it.
ECO- Strategies is ready to move on the Ball Creek Restoration
- MOTION # 60 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH ECO-STRATEGIES FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES FOR A STREAMBANK REMEDIATION PROJECT AT BALL CREEK, COUNTY RT. 16 (STOW RD.) AT A COST OF $4,000.00 WITH A $2,000 RETAINER. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Review bids on the Rt. 33 Gravel Pit Site – Timberland Realty
Mr. Yates said two bids have been received on the sale of the Rt. 33 Gravel Pit property:
- Scott Daniels $112,000.00
- Jonas Burkholder $115,000.00
Mr. Yates said he would recommend we accept the cash offer of Mr. Burkholder as interest rates are starting to get higher. He said if the board wishes they can seek more bids.
- MOTION # 61 OF 2021
MR. PFEIL MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO EXECUTE ALL DOCUMENTATION ASSOCIATED WITH THE SALE OF TOWN PROPERTY LOCATED ON CR-33 PANAMA-STEDMAN AND KNOWN AS THE GRAVEL PIT (SBL# 364.00-2-21) TO JONAS BURKHOLDER FOR THE SUM OF $115,000.00. THIS ACTION IS SUBJECT TO PERMISSIVE REFERENDUM. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Dave Munsee – Request to locate Corn Stand at town property 4-corners Ashville
- MOTION # 62 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE USE OF TOWN PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE FOUR CORNERS OF ASHVILLE BY DAVID MUNSEE FOR A CORN STAND PROVIDING HE OBTAIN A PERMIT; STATE TIMELINE AND HOURS OF OPERATION; AND PROVIDE CURRENT CERTIFICATES OF LIABILITY INSURANCE. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Schedule Work Session – Employee Handbook – Thursday 5/27/21 at 6:00 PM
- Schedule date and time to complete clean out of Old Building
Mr. Yates asked the Court, Town Clerk and Bookkeeper to set a date to have all records removed from the old building so it can be placed on the market. Mr. Peacock said he would let Mr. Yates know by Wednesday what date they will do that.
- CLWMA – Alliance Member Voting Form 2021 – (motion to adopt recommended slate)
MOTION # 63 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE CHAUTAUQUA LAKE & WATERSHED MANAGEMENT ALLIANCE, INC. SLATE OF OFFICERS AS RECOMMENDED:
Town/Village At-Large At-Large
Don Emhardt Bruce Erickson Mary Hutchings
MR. PFEIL SECONDED.
Mr. Sena said he had not read the document, so he would abstain.
YES (4): ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. ABSTAIN (1) SENA. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Certification for Caterpillar Excavator for IRS
Mr. Robbins said this will be done today and sent into Cat.
- Deputy Highway Superintendent residency issue; Local Law?
Mr. Yates said it is being discussed that the town may at some point want to pass a Local Law permitting a Deputy Highway Superintendent who is not a town resident. He said this is something that does not need to be addressed immediately.
Mr. Robbins said you would have to pass a Local Law to do that and there are timetables involved that would require that happen before he takes office.
Mr. Yates said the current plan is to have the Deputy Highway Superintendent take over after the Highway Superintendent retires.
Mr. Robbins said the positions of Deputy and Superintendent would require Local Laws to be in place before you could appoint either position to someone who does not reside in the town.
Mr. Strickland said the person who is interested in the position works for the town currently, but does not live in the town, although he is actively looking for a home here. He said he feels this person would do a good job for the town and what they are trying to do is buy some time for this to occur.
There was further general discussion.
- Dave Munsee – Request to locate Corn Stand at town property 4-corners Ashville
- MOTION # 64 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE USE OF TOWN PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE FOUR CORNERS OF ASHVILLE BY DAVID MUNSEE, CORN STAND PROVIDING HE OBTAIN A PERMIT; STATE TIMELINE AND HOURS OF OPERATION; AND PROVIDE CURRENT CERTIFICATES OF LIABILITY INSURANCE. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Helicopter Issue at Ashville Bay
Mr. Robbins said the town was not successful in pursuit of a zoning violation in the case of the helicopter. He asked if the town board had interest in proposing a local law that might solve the problem.
Mr. Lawson said we had adopted a local law regarding helicopters, but he thought Mr. Robbins had reviewed it and wanted to modify it so it would be more stringent.
It was discussed and a decision was made to wait for further information to be received before any action is decided upon.
- Dick Sena Snow Report – Final Snow Total 2020-2021 – 117 inches! (graph attached)
PIERRE CHAGNON, LEGISLATOR
Mr. Chagnon reported that the following occurred at the April 2021 Legislature meeting:
At the April 28th meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature:
- County Executive Wendel recognized Town of Ellery Supervisor Arden Johnson for his recent birthday, and for being the oldest and longest serving Town Supervisor in New York State.
- We authorized the sale of the tax foreclosed old Silver Creek School to Region Nine UAW Housing Corporation, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, which has extensive experience and success in developing affordable housing projects in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The project will be an historic renovation of the building that has stood vacant since 1978, creating approximately 47 affordable apartments for persons 55 and over. The building has a collapsed roof, is subject to frequent vandalism, has dead animals inside, and the basement is currently full of contaminated water. This long-sought redevelopment opportunity will increase residents’ health and well-being, increase jobs, and result in community and economic development.
The County just received the U.S. Treasury Department of guidelines for allowable use of the funds coming to the County from the American Rescue Plan. Now the hard work begins to identify eligible uses that will bring long-term transformation and lasting economic development.
One year ago in response to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we proactively approved a long list of budget amendments that would reduce expenses and offset nearly $4.2 million of reduced sales tax. We also approved 149 County employees taking a voluntary furlough through the end of July, which offset an additional $1.1 million of reduced sales tax. To our great relief the actual 2020 sales tax receipts were nearly the same as in 2019, leaving us with a significant budget surplus for the year.
ANNE GOLLEY, ASSESSOR
TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
The valuation for new construction, demolition, and any reviews requested by the property owners have been completed. The 2021 tentative assessment roll has been sent to Chautauqua County, and all notices for properties that had an assessment change have been mailed out.
The appropriate legal notice for the Tentative Assessment Roll appeared on May 1, 2021 in the Post Journal, as required by the State of New York Real Property Tax Law.
Grievance Day for the 2021 assessment roll will be Wednesday, May 26th by appointment at the Town of Chautauqua office.
As always, thank you for your continued support of the Assessor’s Office.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
COURT REPORT FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL 2021
May 10, 2021 Board Meeting
$28,326.00 in fines, fees, and surcharges was collected by the Court and was given to the Town of North Harmony CFO for the court cases reported to the NYS Comptroller for April 2021. We opened 278 new cases and closed 208 cases.
Additionally, courts in our area were officially given the green light to start back up with certain court proceedings. Calendar call is the only official court session we are permitted to hold right now, so there is still no vehicle and traffic court as of the writing of this report.
Katie A Zimmer, Court Clerk
May 7, 2021
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Strickland said the Highway is starting a drainage project at Magnolia and will have help from the towns of Harmony and Chautauqua. He said they will be laying 330’ of large pipe. He said they are also preparing for summer work.
Mr. Strickland announced his official date of retirement as 8/31/2021.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson said he had been in touch with a geologist involved with solar and she has agreed to assist the Planning Board (PB) as they are developing the Solar Law for the town. He said she will be a valuable resource. He said tomorrow night the PB will be discussing height for accessory structures in the AG District (18’ is allowed) and people are having to come in for variances for simple pole barn constructions. He hopes they might be willing to adjust that height requirement. He said he will be discussing with Chad Cole of Vidal Electric the building they want to construct on CR-33. He said this will come before the town board because it is more than 5,000 sq. ft.
JOHN STOW, DCO
Following is Mr. Stow’s report:
We had one call this month for a dangerous dog incident involving two dogs attacking and killing two sheep on Morris Rd. The matter was brought to the Court and settled.
With Covid restrictions loosening up in the state, and most people who are vulnerable to the virus getting the proper vaccinations, I believe it is now safe enough to start the Dog Enumeration.
My schedule is fairly open for the next month or two and I can start immediately if it is safe to do so.
Mr. Peacock said he had heard the case and had been advised within 24 hours by the owner of the dog that she has re-homed the dog and no longer has it.
- DOG ENUMERATION
Mr. Yates said Mrs. Thomas has received information on conducting a mail-in enumeration at a cost of $700-800. He said there will still be some door-to-door work to be done after the mailing.
Mrs. Thomas said she is looking for the boards support in pursuing this action. She said several towns including Hanover had been very pleased with the mail-in option. She said they held theirs for 30 days and had licensed 310 new dogs. She said they had sent out about 4,500 mailers at a cost of $1,500 and estimates North Harmony will need to send about 1,200-1,500.
Mr. Yates recommended that the town use the mailers first and then have Mr. Stow follow up with door-to-door visits. He noted we do have funds budgeted for that purpose.
- MOTION # 65 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE TOWN CLERK TO PURSUE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF A MAIL-IN DOG ENUMERATION FOR THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she had nothing further to add to her written report.
- MOTION # 66 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE TOWN CLERKS 4/2021 REPORT AS PRESENTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
- MOTION # 67 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE SUPERVISOR’S APRIL 2021 REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 68 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO PAY THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER:
GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS $21,895.68
HIGHWAY FUND VOUCHERS $17,603.59
CAPITAL FUND VOUCHERS $ 8,989.83
MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Plaque for Sally Carlson Ordered – New Building Dedication/Open House will be Saturday, 7/31/2021 Noon – 4:00 PM in conjunction with AFD BBQ
Chuck Hutcheson, Connelly Park
Mr. Hutcheson stated his disappointment that North Harmony has chosen not to apply any herbicide to the lake this year. He asked if there are any plans to apply next year.
Mr. Yates said not at this point.
Mr. Hutcheson said many of the other towns have chosen to go forward with treatment this year and encouraged the board to start planning for next year.
Mr. Senske said the town will certainly be looking at that next year at the appropriate time.
- MOTION # 69 OF 2021
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENSKE, SECONDED BY MR. PFEIL AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 9:00 PM.