SPECIAL BOARD MEETING - JULY 24, 2008
The Special Board meeting of the Town Board of St. Armand was held on the above
date at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY.
PRESENT: Supervisor Joyce W. Morency, Deputy Supervisor Charles Whitson, Jr., Councilmen Earl J. Dakin, Jr., Samuel Grimone, Thomas Jones, and
Town Clerk Cynthia A. Woodson.
GUESTS: Bill Kissel, Wanda Flint, Alan Sutphen, Donald Perryman, Gail Perryman, Jeanne and Dick Stone, Ronald Burke, Kristina, Judi Latt, John Jones, Brad Pollock, Judy Odell, Bonnie Grant, Claudia Wamsganz, John Wamsganz, Robert LaPierre, Greg and Lynne Connolly, Shelley Kilner, Susan Rdzanck, Alice Wareham, Neil Harvey, Howard Frizzell, and David Salamy.
Supervisor Morency called the Special Board meeting to order at 5:00 P.M.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Dakin.
Attorney Bill Kissel is representing several of the residents at Rockledge. He stated that some questions were answered and some were not and wanted to know what has been presented to the Board from Sunmount since their last meeting.
Supervisor Morency stated that she has received a hand delivered letter from Sunmount granting St. Armand an extension to August 11th and received color maps listing where the state and voluntary houses are located in the area. When she talked with Mr. Colarusso, she told him that some of the information she requested has not been given to her. He didn’t realize that she hasn’t received the information. He told her that the average length of stay in the home is 10.2 years. The number of incidents between neighborhoods reported 38 incidents in 2007 and most was minor such as falling on ice, etc. Of those 38 homes there is an average of four incidents per home. There were no reports of clients entering someone else’s yard, property, or house in the neighborhood. She was told that there would a guarantee there would never be any sexual predators in the homes.
Attorney Bill Kissel stated that his meeting with the Rockledge residents wanted to address their concerns to the board. He stated the residents have a list of concerns, they want to make recommendations for alternative sites, and what can they do to help. Brad Pollock stated that the resident’s concerns is that the site is not a appropriate location, there is a blind corner, the lack of parking, their concerns of traffic with trucks, rescue, fire trucks, snow plows, etc., and will the double lot be used as an expansion to the house? Brad stated that he has a drilled well and his house doesn’t have much water pressure so how will a place with larger number of people do with the water pressure? They have concerns with the facility, as the deed lists the covenants and says no employees, yet the staff will be paid employees, and the property values will dramatically decrease. He would like to see the environmental impact it would have.
Mr. Water stated that this is a unique neighborhood with unique character, and knowing that any entity can come in and do what they want; like the sellers negotiating selling to Sunmount pretty much in the middle of the night. He stated that the questions to Sunmount were evasive and he used to work for the ambulance services at these types of residents where employees were attacked by the clients. Mr. Sutphen asked if there was a checklist for selection of property areas. Councilman Grimone stated that the town board did ask and the people who were here at the last meeting were not the ones who chose the site. They just let the people know that the property met all the criteria.
Mr. Kissel stated that Sunmount can override the covenants in the deed. It is skeptical that we (Rockledge residents) can defeat this process. The residents want to preserve the space, but can’t use this for a legal defense. Is it a moral, ethical, and rational argument? Yes, but there has to be a political, legal, and community process.
Supervisor Morency stated that Sunmount says it’s a family home, yet the clients received money fro the State and each goes into a separate account then Sunmount draws money out of the accounts to pay for rent, etc., and seems like a business. Attorney Bill Kissel stated that this could be used, however, the laws are written rather broadly. Susan Rdzanek believes the area would be used as a saturation defense as there are several around the area. Supervisor Morency stated that Sunmount wouldn’t buy the saturation defense. Attorney Bill Kissel stated that he’s not sure the answer is correct as the community hoes have large concentrations of group homes in area. The rejection appeals is the long way, the alternative site route is easier. If the offer of the alternative site is approved or disapproved by Sunmount still has the same process of a hearing. This is not a lawyer’s fight; more of a back and forth discussions. Supervisor Morency asked is a site has been found. Attorney Bill Kissel stated that they are looking at them, and time is short. They would provide alternative sites a few days before the deadline.
Mr. Connolly stated that the home will decrease the value of the area. They will need to renovate the house. Someone stated that the house will off the tax rolls. Mrs. Wareham stated that the fire chief was at their meeting and stated that the fire hydrants are not sufficient. Mr. Pollock stated that there is not enough water pressure now and to fight a fire at the home will be low pressure; plus the septic system will have to be larger.
Mr. Pollock asked the Town Board to please consider zoning for the Town of St. Armand and he stated he’s not sure that zoning would have prevented this but at least set guidelines. Supervisor Morency stated that we do have someone to start a committee for planning, and it will be addressed again.
RESOLUTION # 45 - ALTERNATIVE SITE FOR SUNMOUNT HOUSING
Councilman Jones, who moved its adoption, offered the following resolution.
WHEREAS A Resolution of the Town Board of St. Armand agreed to look for an alternative site for the Sunmount housing for the Mentally Disabled in lieu of using 88 Rockledge Lane, the original choice of Sunmount housing for the five mentally disabled adults.
This Resolution was duly seconded unanimously by the Town Board and adopted as follows:
Supervisor Joyce W. Morency AYE
Deputy Supervisor Charles Whitson, Jr. AYE
Councilman Earl J. Dakin, Jr. AYE
Councilman Samuel Grimone AYE
Councilman Thomas Jones AYE
________________________________ Dated: July 24, 2008
Cynthia A. Woodson
St. Armand Town Clerk
Attorney Bill Kissel asked for another meeting so that they can provide the alternative sites and presented it to the board. Supervisor Morency called for the next meeting to be held on August 4th at 5:30 P.M.
END OF MEETING
A motion was made by Councilman Grimone, and seconded by Councilman Whitson, to adjourn the meeting at 7:45 P.M.
I, Cynthia A. Woodson, Town Clerk for the Town of St. Armand, do hereby certify that the above is a true and correct transcript of the Special Board meeting minutes held on the above referenced date.
Cynthia A. Woodson
St. Armand Town Clerk