CALLICOON, NY — The Town of Callicoon has seen its share of well-attended public hearings this year. Its recently passed law regulating renewable energy went through two rounds of public …
CALLICOON, NY — The Town of Callicoon has seen its share of well-attended public hearings this year. Its recently passed law regulating renewable energy went through two rounds of public hearings, and underwent substantial changes as a result of the numerous comments it received.
The issues discussed at the August 9 meeting of the town board seemed unlikely to result in public hearings with the same level of turnout.
The first discussed a public hearing concerning the cleanup of an abandoned property at 66 J Menges Road.
The property’s owner had passed away, said members of the board, and his daughter was no longer living there. The board had hoped the property’s neighbor would buy the property and handle the cleanup, but that neighbor had said he wasn’t interested.
The property itself was described as a disaster. There was garbage everywhere; it hadn’t had running water in five years; it smelled, and it wasn’t safe. After some discussion, the board decided to make an emergency declaration calling it an unsafe building.
Code enforcement officer Kevin Zieres asked the board when it wanted to hold a public hearing on the property.
“No one would show up to it,” said supervisor Tom Bose.
Even so, said Zieres, it was a necessary part of the procedure.
The board gave Zieres the go-ahead to take whatever actions were necessary to begin cleaning up the property. No specific date was set for a public hearing.
A similar mood prevailed when the board went to set public hearings on several local laws.
“In my mind, there’s really only one choice here,” said Bose, referencing the first of the laws: a local law to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and smoking houses.
The proposed law would not ban the personal use or growth of marijuana; the state’s marijuana regulation and taxation act, passed earlier this year, makes those activities legal state-wide. But the state’s act allows individual towns to opt out of the section that allows for the operation of dispensaries and smoking houses.
The Callicoon Town Board decided to take that option with its local law, banning dispensaries and smoking houses from operation. They set the required public hearing for discussion of the law for 7 p.m. on September 13, before the next town board meeting.
As with the first public hearing, however, the board seemed confident that there would be little discussion.
“That’s probably too much time,” said councilman Charles Schadt, of the 15 minutes allocated for public comment at the hearing. “But we’ll allot it anyway.”
The board set another public hearing for the same date, for a law regulating and limiting false alarms within the town. This hearing was set to take place at 7:15 p.m., between the hearing on the marijuana law and the town board meeting.
While the details of the law were not read at the meeting, a similar law in the Town of Bethel, cited by Bose as an inspiration, instituted significant fines for repeated occurrences of false alarm systems within the town; it was defined as the activation of an emergency alarm system not occasioned by an emergency.