TOWN BOARD MEETING

APRIL 15, 2010

 

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, April 15, 2010 in the Town Hall on 284 Broadway, Port Ewen,  New York with the following persons in attendance:

 

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett

 

                                                                Recording Administrator:  Diane L. McCord, Town Clerk

 

A.  Hearing – Condemnation Proceedings – Town Board Decision based upon testimony.

 

                                                                Attendees included:  Vera Rose

                                                                                                          Jay Rose

                                                                                                            Carol Anderson

                                                                                                            Peter Relson

 

Letter from Building Inspector to Vera Rose 207 Union Center Road Ulster Park, N. Y. dated March 1, 2010:

 

“Re:  Unsafe structure pursuant to Chapter 59 Town of Esopus Code and Section 107 of the Property Maintenance Code”

 

The following letter was read into the minutes by Supervisor John Coutant”

 

“Pursuant to Chapter 59 Unsafe Buildings of the Town of Esopus you are hereby notified that the dwelling located at 207 Union Center Road, Ulster Park is hereby declared unsafe and dangerous for occupancy.

This department conducted a walk-through of the building on January 26, 2010 at approximately 1:45 PM accompanied by case workers from the Department of Social Services.  Upon interviewing the occupant Jay Rose and conducting an inspection, a determination was made that the occupants were to vacate the premises due to unfit and unsafe conditions.  The walk through inspection revealed the following:  (1) unsafe wiring conditions, (2) unsafe structure due to weather damage, (3) lack of means of waste disposal, (4) extensive accumulation of raw garbage, (5) lack of fire protection devices and emergency egress, (6) lack of potable water, (7) numerous property code violations both interior and exterior including unsafe entry steps.

 

Pursuant to Chapter 59 of the Town of Esopus Code and the Property  Maintenance Code Section 107 and 108 of the State of New York, you are hereby notified to make the said structure safe and secure or removed by April 2, 2010.  If the structure is to be made safe and secure for occupation the owner shall consult a design professional and a survey of work to be done shall be presented to the building department within the specified time.  If the owner or owners’ representative fails to respond by the aforesaid date, the Town will move forward pursuant to Chapter 59 and commence action for removal of the structure.

 

                                                                                               

 

Pursuant to Sec. 59-4 a hearing will be held before the Town Board on April 15, 2010 at 7:30 PM at the Town of Esopus Town Hall located at 284 Broadway, Port Ewen, New York 12466 to determine whether you have completed with the order to remedy and remediated the premises.

 

Pursuant to Sec. 59-5 if, in the determination of the Town Board, you have failed or refused to remediated the premises as required by this Notice and the order to remedy, the Town may take action to repair the premises or remove the structure on the premises immediately following the hearing without further notice.

 

Pursuant to Sec. 59-6 any costs incurred by the Town of Esopus to either repair or remove the structure, including any costs in connection with the proceedings before the Town Board, will be assessed against the premises.

 

You have the right to hire counsel and have counsel present on the date of the hearing.  You should be prepared to present whatever evidence you believe is relevant regarding the condition of the premises before the Town Board. “

 

Timothy Keefe

Building Inspector

 

Cc:  Supervisor Coutant

        Town Board

        Paul Kellar, Esq.

        Nina Postupack, County Clerk

 

Vera Rose was asked if she brought her counsel?  No, my nephew is a lawyer and practices in New Jersey.

Councilperson Barnett asked where your nephew practices law,  for he may not be able to represent you if he practices in New Jersey.

The Supervisor asked have you done anything to improve the conditions at your residence?

Vera Rose:  No.  We have no way to get over there, we have no transportation.  I am waiting for Kathy Kiernan from the Office of the Aging to work to have my stuff taken out.  She is going to see if my nieces can help me to get my stuff out.

Supervisor:  Have you done anything to address the conditions of the property itself?

Vera Rose:  No, I can’t.

Supervisor:  Has you son done anything?

Jay Rose:  This is the first I have seen what the problems are.

Supervisor:  It is my understanding that you were present when the Building Inspector inspected the premises?

Jay Rose:.  Yes, I was.

Supervisor:  When you were asked to leave the premises, I am sure you questioned someone at that point?

Jay Rose:  No

Supervisor:  The Supervisor asked the Building Inspector if there has been any communications from these parties?

                                                                                               

Building Inspector:   No communications.  I spoke with Vera’s niece maybe, Amanda, her granddaughter and she inquired about the letter. 

Supervisor:  Has there been any communications from Social Services?

Building Inspector:  No

Supervisor:  Do you have pictures?

Building Inspector:  I have pictures and the affidavit of service and the order to remedy and these are on file.   The main concern at this point is the house is completely unlivable.  The Building Inspector had pictures of the premises.

Councilperson Barnett:  So the record is clear, take us through each photo and explain what they show and let us know when the photograph was taken and if it is a fair and accurate description of what was taken at that time.  After you show us the photos could you share the photos with Vera Rose?

 

Exhibit A and Exhibit B:   A is the front entry door, the door is hanging by one hinge and it was a serious situation getting in and out since you had to jump up to get in and out of the house.  B –The stone foundation on the south is separated  and is falling apart.  It is a stone foundation.  That would be the southern exposure.

Exhibit C & D:   This is moving toward the west this is corner of the house which is totally rotted away because of the weather.  The sills are rotted away.  The door to the right of the door, the only wall is the interior wall and you can put your hand right through it.  The water damage has totally ruined the west side of the house.  Wiring in the wall is also exposed to the weather.

Exhibit E:  This was the west side, the other entry door that they were not using but it depicts the wall and the studding along the side of the house.  The roof is missing here and all rotted out because of the weather. 

Exhibit F:  On the north side of the house and it shows the crawl space underneath the house and shows the weathered timbers and the mildew on the floor joist underneath the house.  There was a sewer line but it has not been operable in  years. 

The Supervisor asked if the sewer line was not operable what were they doing with the raw sewage?  Jay Rose was asked this question and he answered putting it in the septic tank.  There is a portable toilet with a bucket on it.  The Building Inspector said there was no water in the house?  No.  The Building Inspector asked if he was getting water from the stream?  Yes and from the neighbors. 

Exhibit G:  The northern exposure of the house shows the first floor and soffit and the roof rafters all rotted out because of the weather.  The third floor is no longer attached to the house.  The siding is off and the water running down the interior of the walls. 

Exhibit H:  Shows the picture of the third floor.  It shows the siding is off and the weather has gotten in beside the siding. 

Exhibit I:  A picture of the east side of the house and the panes are out of the window, no glass. 

Exhibit J:  The fire escape, which at one time was usable, now it is not attached to the house and that was the only means egress off of the third floor if there was a fire in the house.

Exhibit K:  The west side of the house just to the left of the entry door shows the sills and the studs all rotted out.  A tire is stuck in there for some reason.

Exhibit L:  The siding is gone and the board under the siding is gone and you can put your fingers through it into the interior of the house.

Exhibit M and Exhibit N:  The interior as you go in…..M is the entry way filled with garbage.  The kitchen area there was only a two foot walkway around all the refuse and garbage.  You could not live in this house if you wanted to because of all the garbage.

Exhibit:  0.   This is a closer shot of the interior.  We want there on January 26th.  This is not recycling…this is raw garbage.

                                                                                               

 

Exhibit P:  There is a window to the basement.  Is there a way to get into the basement?  Jay Rose answered there was a ladder.  There is no way to get down there.  There is a crawl space.  The water system has not worked in several years and the sewer hasn’t worked.

Exhibit Q:  Vera’s bedroom was as far as I could get in because I could not get through the mess.  You can see the cobwebs.

Exhibit R:  The actual bathroom piled high with garbage.

Councilperson Kyle Barnett:  When were these photos taken?  The Building Inspector stated they were taken on January 26th and again on April 1st  they were repeated for better photos.  Nothing had changed from January 26th to April 1st.  The Building Inspector was making sure a Do Not Occupy sign was in place.

Supervisor Coutant asked Vera Rose, does that accurately reflect the condition of your house and your premises?  Is there anything my Building Inspector has said that is not a good representation of what conditions prevailed at that house?  There is no sewer, no water is that correct?  There is garbage and recyclables that are actual household garbage.  Can this Town Board assume that you have nothing with it to correct these conditions at this point? 

Vera Rose:  I am up in Woodstock and he is in the motel in Port Ewen and he has problems.  He has PAD in his leg.  He can’t walk a mile and one half with PAD.  Travel is a problem. 

Supervisor Coutant:  Does the Town Board have any questions for Mrs. Rose?  No.  Does the Town Board have any questions for Tim Keefe?

Councilperson Gloria VanVliet:  According to the Building inspectors’ letter the structure was to be safe and secured by April 2st?  The Building Inspector said he took more photos and nothing had been corrected.  He wanted to make sure the sign was still on the house and no one had entered. 

Neighbor Peter Relson said there had been some break-ins into the house.  When asked if they contributed to the conditions that existed and he replied no.

Councilperson Kyle Barnett addressed the Building Inspector:  When you drafted the letter on March 1, 2010 you formed an opinion on the following conditions and numbered them one through seven and it is your opinion that those conditions exist at the present time? 

Tim Keefe answered yes they do. 

Do you have an opinion of the safety of the structure in terms structure itself and the condition of the it pertaining to the garbage and other debris that you saw on the property? 

The Building Inspector said his opinion at this point, barring cleaning out the house and stripping the walls and siding, to get a survey of the actual framing of the house…where you might want to save the house.  At this point it is a total loss…the garbage has been there so long it has soaked into the walls.  The walls have rotted away and the water damage has occurred from the third floor down. 

Councilperson Barnett asked if the house was a total loss and the Building Inspector agreed in his opinion it is a total loss.

Supervisor Coutant:  Would it be your recommendation to remove this building?  Yes.

Mrs. Rose it has been communicated to the board that your house be taken down. 

Mrs. Rose:  Could I have a little time because Kathy Kiernan is working with me and she is trying to get us a place and she has contacted my niece in Wappinger Falls to see if we could get some boxes to put some of my things in storage.  My niece will help.  I have so much in there. 

How much time would you need Mrs. Rose asked the Supervisor.  You have had since March 1st and you have done nothing since March 1st

 

 

                                                                               

 

Councilperson Wayne Freer:  After looking at the pictures I feel it needs to come down but now they want ample time to get their belongings out.  She feels also the house should come down.  We need to come to an agreement  on some time of a time frame.

Councilperson Kyle Barnett:  The Building inspector is concerned about the weather getting warm and you have a hazard with vermin and other problems and it will only compound itself so Tim Keefe is of the opinion that we have pushed this thing back as much as possible …..we are talking two weeks should be enough time to get whatever materials she has left in there. 

Councilperson VanVliet:  Would it be possible for the town to contact Kathy Kiernan from the Office of the Aging to see if there is any plan to help her?

Supervisor Coutant:  Any communication between Kathy Kiernan and Mrs. Rose would be declared confidential.

Councilperson Barnett:  It is not the town’s responsibility to take on that type of a task and would not be appropriate he would agree.  We have to recognize even though this situation if as difficult as it can be, the responsibility that Mrs. Rose has….her personal effects are hers alone.

Councilperson Freer:  Knowing the speed of government….two weeks may not be enough time to enable her to get her stuff out?

Councilperson VanVliet:  Is there someone who could help and represent her.  Do you have someone who could be your advocate and contact the Office of the Aging?

Jay Rose repeated the question to his mother. 

Mrs. Rose:  Amanda, my granddaughter has been making a lot of calls.  Kathy Kiernan has been trying to get us a place.  Maybe we can get a house.

Councilperson VanVliet:  You must do something quickly.

Jay Rose:  There is one problem she has right now where she is in Woodstock.  One of the kids two years old likes to throw things at her and the kids scream.  It is not a good place for her nerves.  It is not easy to get something done quick.

Supervisor Coutant stepped out of being Supervisor for a moment.  These are your neighbors….it is possible for your neighbors to help you get your personals out of the house?  They do enough for me just being with me.

Peter Relson:  We have not been in the house in years.

Jay Rose said he had things on the third floor.

The Building Inspector said do not go on the third floor.

Supervisor:  Would it be reasonable to think that possibly within two weeks you could make some effort to get your belongings out of there so that when the Town Board decides to demolish this building and this will be quickly it can happen because the neighbors will be very upset.

Jay Rose told his mother they must get the belongings out of the house.  There is really not a lot of anything that is of value.

Mrs. Rose:  To me it is.  I have 250 salt and pepper shakers that I promised to my niece.  Jay Rose said they could throw them out the window.

Supervisor Coutant:  Two weeks is reasonable Kyle?

Councilperson Barnett:  I defer to the Building Inspector on this.

Building Inspector – Two weeks is reasonable, yes.

 Supervisor:  Mrs. Rose do you understand if we give you two weeks to get your personal stuff out of the house and you do not do it, your house will be taken down with your stuff in there.  We are being fair about this but we need a response that you  will be willing to do something to make this happen.

Jay Rose:  I can make that promise.

Vera Rose:  I want to come back….I can’t stand the kids screaming and throwing things at me. 

                                                                                               

Jay Rose:  I can make the promise we will get the things out.

Supervisor:  I will instruct my Building Inspector to  look at the premise, go back there two weeks from today and if he doesn’t see a significant effort to get the stuff out of there, the next move is your house is gone with your personals in it.  This is not a funny matter Jay.  Does the Town Board want to take a vote on this?

Councilperson Barnett:  Mrs. Rose do you understand everything that has gone on this evening?  Do you agree the house itself is an unsafe structure and should be removed?

Mrs. Rose:  Yes, but I have to get my stuff out.

Councilperson Barnett:  You consent to the town’s action of removing the structure?

Mrs. Rose:  I have a lot of stuff.  Fifty two years.

Councilperson Barnett:  Mrs. Rose do you consent to the towns action and giving you a couple of weeks to get your stuff out?

Mrs. Rose:  Yes

Councilperson Barnett:  Thank you.

Neighbor Peter Relson:  I think you are coming to the right conclusion.  I think she understands now and that you have given her every consideration.

Supervisor Coutant:  It is a tough situation.  In light of what the Town Board has heard tonight,

 

Supervisor Coutant:   The following Motion was made:  I would like to make a recommendation that Mrs. Rose be given two weeks from today to remove her personal belongings and whatever else…the personal matter of her son Jay from the residence at 207 Union Center Road and that the Building Inspector check to see that progress has been made.  I would like to recommend the house be taken down.  The 29th of April is the date two weeks from today.  Councilperson Donna McAuley seconded the Motion.

 

                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Motion Carried.

 

A Motion to close the Condemnation Proceeding was made by Councilperson Kyle Barnett and seconded by Councilperson Wayne Freer at 8:12 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.

 

Jay Rose thanked the Town Board for their kindness to us for the additional two weeks.

Supervisor:  I wish we could have made a different decision.  This decision was a long time in coming.  Please make every effort to get out the memories that are valuable to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                               

 

Town Board Meeting continues:

 

Public Comment:

 

Fred Zimmer:  When is the water chestnut harvester coming?  Supervisor Coutant answered the delivery date is May 15th.

 

Roseane Balistreri:  The Town of Esopus is now represented on Ulster County Alive website and it has nice things to say about the Town of Esopus.

 

Councilperson Wayne Freer:  For 2010 the Awards Council for both the Hudson Valley and the Ulster County Region nominate Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Services throughout the county for different types of awards:  EMT, AMT, drivers, fire fighters, police officers.   Our local ambulance has responded to 864 calls for 2009 and we only missed two calls which had to be assisted by another outside agency coming in.  They did 123 transport calls where anyone in the town can go to local hospitals, the VA or Albany.  They are a good bunch of people, well skilled.  I would like this board to consider putting TEVAS in for Agency of the Year Award and the Local Committee Award.  The Regional Award has a place for a signature and the other one is just a few forms to fill out.  Supervisor Coutant believes this would be a honor to nominate the local ambulance service for these awards.  Councilperson Freer stated this year they have done an outstanding job.

 

A Motion was made by Councilperson Wayne Freer and seconded by Supervisor John Coutant to nominate the Town of Esopus Ambulance Service for the Ulster County EMS Award and for the Hudson Valley Regional Award.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

 

Wayne Hoyt:  Has any decision been made on the shared highway services? 

 

Supervisor Coutant responded stating that the CPA for the town would be coming in on April 20th to review the figures with the Highway Superintendent and himself to see if it is at all feasible.  At this time, the figures we have looked at don’t work.  Councilperson Freer said we cannot come out and say no without an investigation.  We are taking our time and thoroughly looking through it.  Due diligence is being used.

 

1.  Resolution for Highway Superintendent to Attend School

 

Whereas, the Town of Esopus, Highway Superintendent Alan Larkin has requested to be allowed to attend the 2010 Highway School in Ithaca, New York from June 7th – June 9, 2010.  Registration fee will be $90.00 per person and the cost of lodging will be $139.99 per night at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca.

 

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, County of Ulster, State of New York, gives their permission to Alan Larkin to attend the 2010 Highway School in Ithaca, New York from June 7-June 9, 2010.

 

 

                                                               

 

Resolution offered by Councilperson Wayne Freer

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Donna McAuley

 

 

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Resolution duly adopted.

 

2.  Acceptance of Assessment Reduction Town of Esopus adv. McCormack

 

A Motion was made by Supervisor John Coutant and seconded by Councilperson Wayne Freer to reduce the value of the McCormick property by $50,000 down to $850,000.

 

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Motion Carried.

 

3.  Time Warner Franchise Fee, Extended Service

 

The Town Board has never authorized a franchise fee for Time Warner Cable, however, this month a franchise fee is being charged.  The Supervisor has tried to contact Brenda Parks from Time Warner Cable to have the franchise fee credited on the next bill, however, she has not returned his calls.   A letter was received from Brenda Parks concerning Time Warner Cable extending their services to (5) additional houses on Martin Swedish Road.

 

4.  New Program for Transfer Station

 

The Supervisor explained Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency and other municipalities charge for keypads, monitors, televisions, etc.  There is a company that will take all of these products and charge us by their weight.  We believe that is fair.  We will have one of the most reasonable methods of dealing with computer recycling.  The company is PC Disposables and once we have 1,500 lbs. they will come package the material and place it in a cargo container and dispose of it.

 

5.  Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund

 

A letter has been received from G. Modele Clarke, on behalf of the Ministers Committee:

 

Dear Supervisor Coutant:

                                                                                               

 

In conjunction with the plans to erect a statue in Port Ewen, honoring the life of Sojourner Truth, we are writing to let you know of our support of the suggested form and subject of the statue.  The planning work to date has our unqualified approval.  In addition, we are willing to continue to oversee the project through to completion.

 

Sincerely,

G. Modele Clarke, on behalf of the Ministers Committee

 

A letter from Evelyn Clarke from the Working Committee finds they do not want any change and they will take responsible for collection of funds.

 

6.  Veteran’s Memorial Update

 

The Supervisor said you may have noted a small excavation on the right side of the Town Hall driveway.

Contractor Joe Grimaldi has done the excavation and poured the concrete.  It will be ready in time for the Memorial Day Dedication.  We will honor any and all veterans who served in any of the wars.  This monument will have room for the dedicated people who have served and who will serve.  We went on WKNY to talk about the Memorial with Margaret Yost and Tom Triscari from American Legion Post 1298.

 On Saturday April 24th we will be on the Jody McTague Show on WKNY.  The American Legion has put a great deal of money into this venture.  We are hoping to raise further funds.  The average age of the American Legion Post 1298 is eighty years of age and their enthusiasm is still pouring over.  They want to see this happen.  On Memorial Day the parade will march one way.  Senator Larkin will help with the dedication.      

 

7.  Sidewalk Sweep

 

The Pride of Port Ewen group  will sweep the sidewalks on April 24th.  The Methodist Church will be helping a needy family with yard work on April 25th.

 

8.  NYS Audit Cancellation

 

NYS Audit and Control informed the Town of Esopus they would conduct an audit and gave a list of what they needed to review.  We welcomed them to come down to do the audit, however, they then informed us they have “bigger fish to fry” and have changed their minds.  There was a preliminary audit in October but the town has not heard anything since that audit was done. 

 

9.  Motion to sign Fire Extinguisher service Agreement

 

Upon review of the contract we found an error and have sent this contract back for correction.  The Supervisor asked the Town Board for authorization to sign the corrected contract?

 

Councilperson Wayne Freer made a Motion to have the Supervisor sign the corrected copy of the Gordon Fire Extinguisher Service Agreement so work can be done in a timely manner.  Councilperson Gloria VanVliet seconded the Motion.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

10.  Budget Adjustments – None

                                                                               

 

11.  Payment of Vouchers

 

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF BILLS SINCE

APRIL 2010 VOUCHERS

 

 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, County of Ulster as follows:

 

WHEREAS, the Town of Esopus has been presented with vouchers for payment and these vouchers

have been examined and approved by the Town Board,

 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the following vouchers be approved for payment:

 

General Fund                    101169-101222                                  $  36.397.75 

Highway Fund                   102064-102080                                  $  11,060.76 

Capital Fund                      105011-105013                                  $  10,000.00

Street Lighting                  106004-106005                                  $    7,342.21 

Port Ewen Sewer             103041-103058                                  $111,917.85

Port Ewen Water             104076-104100                                  $  22,934.68

 

Total……………………………………………………………………………..$199,653.25

 

Resolution offered by

Resolution seconded by

 

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett

 

Resolution duly adopted.                                                                           

 

12.  Approval of Minutes

 

A Motion to approve the minutes since the last Town Board Meeting was made by Councilperson Kyle Barnett and seconded by Supervisor John Coutant.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

13.  Communications and Reports of Boards

 

Communications for the month and the following reports of boards are available for inspection in the Town Clerks’ Office:

 

Supervisor’s Report dated April 2010

Town Clerk Report for March 2010

                                                                               

 

Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board Agenda dated Feb. 8, 2010

Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board Minutes April 13, 2010

Building Dept. Report for March 2010

Planning Board Minutes dated March 25, 2010

Assessor’s Report dated April 12, 2010

 

 

A Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Councilperson Gloria VanVliet and seconded by Councilperson Donna McAuley at 8:50 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                                                Diane L. McCord

                                                                                                Town Clerk