Macedon Village Board Wed., March 26, 2014

A regular meeting of the board was called to order by Mayor Cramer at 7:00 in the Village Hall. Meeting minutes dated March 12, 2014 were approved, with changes. Additionally, the abstract dated March 26th in the amount of $24,982.71 was approved, as presented.

A public hearing was called to order regarding the 2% Tax Cap Override at 7:01. No public comments were offered, and the hearing was closed at 7:51 PM. A motion was then made to adopt Local Law #1 of 2014, to override the tax cap, which was approved, with one nay vote from Trustee Sliney. Mr. Sliney explained his reasoning, which is to support the ideals of Governor Cuomo, who has made concerted efforts to reduce property taxes.

Mr. Pete Henry, of the Macedon Trails Committee, came before the board to present a history of the Committee, which began in 1990. Some accomplishments of the committee were reported as being the Greenway between Macedon and Palmyra, which was developed into a mowed park, and Lock 60 which was developed as another area for the public. Additionally, he explained, that canal trails were built, and plans for another trail which would create a path from the village to Bullis Park was devised, allowing foot traffic off of Main Street for children to pass carefully. After permits were issued, the Trails Committee realized the path would cross over public property, and easements were obtained. Later it was determined that due to drainage issues, the path would be directed onto New York State land and the Towpath. Verbal agreements were then made with property owners, allowing easements for the trail. However, currently the property has changed hands, and the current owner, Mr. Jeff Beckenbach, has obtained legal counsel, and denied a written easement agreement. Trustee Lohse interjected that the previous owner denied ever giving verbal permission to the Trails Committee to pass over their property.

Residents were vocal, explaining they support their neighbor’s position. They explained the history of the partially completed trail, which included stories of property damage, theft, fires, high levels of noise, heavy ATV and dirt bike traffic, snowmobiles, trespassing, hunters with guns and arrows, and partying teens using the trails. It was also noted that the trails were dangerous due to steepness of grade, and that they were unusable for residents. Another resident countered that the clearing of trees and brush is illegal to begin with, due to the lands being protected lands. It was also noted that there was only one legal easement, which only led to one short trail, then out, which is not legally a path, having only one egress. Residents voiced their concern about liability with their property being heavily treaded. Another resident questioned why there is a need for another trail when there is already a complete trail on the other side of the canal, which is maintained by the state, and connects to the park, making this second trail redundant. A neighbor of Mr. Beckenbach explained that “It doesn’t matter the history. There is no legal easement, and he does not want a trail. I have never seen such an obstruction of justice. It is his property, and he does not need to meet with anyone, and it is a travesty to hold up a legal process because one or two people want a trail on someone’s private property.”

Mr. Henry replied to their concerns, “We’re trying to build trails to make people happy, not to make people angry. I don’t want to build a trail on property if the property owners don’t want it there.”

The board replied to the resident’s concerns. Trustee Sliney remarked that, even if there was an easement granted, the existence of an easement would not change anything- the heavy traffic and misuse would begin again. Trustee Lohse explained that he has lived on Kemp Drive for 25 years and there has never been any legal trails in the woods, ever, and concluded stating, “I am definitely against putting a trail there now.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Cramer stood firm, saying she is trying to “collect all the facts”, while residents retorted that there is no paperwork or documentation stating that there was ever an agreement, and there are no facts to obtain.

Mayor Cramer continued to state that she wants to meet with Mr. Beckenbach, and Trustee Sliney turned to the Mayor, stating “If we continue this, we are saying a registered deed issued within the village is no good!”.

In response another resident stated, “I don’t understand what the problem is. You are the Mayor, and you are here for us. Our voices should be heard and that should be your biggest concern.” Others questioned the Mayor, “It seems like you’re the only one fighting us, you are so adamant about getting this trail in, even your Trustees are not.” Mayor Cramer continued to repeat that she wants to collect all the information, and will not agree to allow the building project to continue until she has collected all the facts.

When questioned about the legality of the easement, Attorney Art Williams explained an Easement by Prescription would not qualify under the eyes of the law in this instance, due to the fact that it was never a maintained easement. Trustee Kelly questioned the mayor “Why are you holding up the dedication of [Jeff Beckenbach’s] land? What more information do you need? This stalling costing everyone.”

Ms. Marilyn Byron then made a presentation to the board that she would like to have a moratorium for hydro-fracking, and hydro-fracking waste materials, now that it has been cleared of being called “hazardous waste”. She explained that current standards of wastewater treatment are not equipped to filter out radioactive waste, and also noted that High Acres Landfill is the fourth largest dump within 80 miles of Rochester. She invited the board and residents to attend a seminar at Books, Etc. On April 10th at 2:00 to educate people on hydro-fracking and solar power, to learn more about the process, as well as advocacy against it.

Mayor Cramer noted that the Summer Sidewalk Sale will be held on June 21st. Regarding elections,  the swearing in event will be held on Monday, April 7th at 7:00 PM, with a reception to follow. The last pancake breakfast of the season at the fire hall will be held on April 13th from 8:00 AM- Noon.

Deputy Mayor Bassage reported  the Community Clean-up and Canal Clean Sweep, is set for April 25th and 26th. The Canal Clean Sweep will be held on Friday, April 25th from 8:00 AM- Noon, and the Community Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, April 26th with Gravino Park as this year’s focus. This year the Community Clean-Up will be led by the Pal-Mac Athletes, but volunteers are needed for both days.  Trustee Lohse remarked that it would be wonderful if the community could come together to help homeowners in need of home repairs such as exterior painting they cannot afford. The board agreed to look further into this possibility.

Village Engineer, Mr. Dan Cornwall recommended that the survey proposals dated February 19th for sewer mains be accepted, and a motion was made to move forward with Colton Land Surveys for the water line replacements and sidewalk extension projects, which was approved by the board.

Village Code Enforcement Officer, Mr. Don Morrill reported  has prepared a list for fire inspections in assembly buildings, and noted that the house fire at 44 Crest Avenue has been boarded up, and owners are awaiting word from the insurance company. He also reported that he has been reviewing the site plan and building plan for Mr. Beckenbach’s new home site. Lastly he noted that he has attended mandated training and has received and issued permits, noting that he is ready to issue his permits once the issues have been ironed out.

DPW Superintendent, Mr. Dave LeMoyne, reported that the Water Department has replaced 2 more water meters, and he noted that only 14 meters still need to be replaced. He explained that the Highway Department has been cutting brush, repairing pot holes, replaced 3 mailboxes, began repairs at the salt shed, and completed vehicle maintenance.

Fire Chief, Mr. Tim Wilcox, stated that reports have been sent to the board, and that he is looking into alternatives for older fire hydrants in the village.

Under new business, Trustee Lohse made a motion to approve the resolution prepared by Village Attorney, Mr. Art Williams, accepting title to the Stone Street paved area as shown on an instrument survey, not as a dedicated street, with no obligation of the village. This was approved by the board. This resolution will begin the process to allow Mr. Beckenbach to build his new home.

A discussion was held regarding the 2014-2015 village budget. Trustee Sliney questioned whether the change in ambulance cost was recorded, and asked if the water fund questions have been satisfied.

Trustee Lohse remarked that the board had not voted on the grant funding, and remarked that the village hosts only 51 homes, comprised of mostly senior citizens, and therefore cannot afford a grant which will require large sums of funding from the village. Trustee Bassage replied  that some of the cost would be through in-kind services. Trustee Lohse stated that the money would be better spent on investing in the parks and the ambulance, and not additional studies.

Mayor Cramer replied that this is what the residents have said they want. Trustee Sliney retorted that the Village of Macedon cannot be compared to the Village of Skaneatles, the Village of Fairport, and Corning, NY, as these were the examples he has heard when plans have been discussed. It was also noted by the Deputy Village Clerk, Ms. Kathy Reilly, that the village has been notified that NYS grant funding is not currently in the state budget.

Trustee Lohse then made a motion to reject the EPF Grant, which was seconded by Trustee Sliney. Trustee Sliney explained that the public information meetings were sparsely attended by a handful village residents. He  feels the money was poorly spent. A resident questioned the mayor that if the walls and docking were to be placed in, if the village would be responsible for maintaining the improvements, and that is an additional expense, which Trustee Lohse affirmed. Mayor Cramer denied it, stating that the plans have been approved for maintenance free materials. Trustee Kelly remarked that the money is in the budget, and it ought to be spent on what is needed, and not additional engineering fees. “I’m tired of paying people to do plans, we need to use it as a reserve.”  The board voted to reject the EPF Grant, and place the monies in reserve; Mayor Cramer abstained.  The 2014-2015 proposed budget was then approved, with a public hearing scheduled for April 9th at 7:00 PM. The tentative budget will be available for review by March 27th at Noon.

No other business came before the board and the public meeting was adjourned at 9:18 PM. The board then met in Executive Session regarding a  personnel/employment issue. The next regular meeting of the board will be held on Wednesday, April 9th, at 7:00 PM in the Macedon Village Hall.   By Becky Block

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