Tusten thinks big and tiny

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 11/26/19

NARROWSBURG, NY — The Tusten Town Board was not phased by code enforcement officer Jim Crowley’s bad news that the new restrooms planned for the community hall would not be large enough …

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Tusten thinks big and tiny

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NARROWSBURG, NY — The Tusten Town Board was not phased by code enforcement officer Jim Crowley’s bad news that the new restrooms planned for the community hall would not be large enough to accommodate the intended shower stall, and that the installation of a gas-fired on-demand hot water heater should probably be postponed until the current heater expires.

Councilperson Jill Padua, a professional cook, said the community hall kitchen houses far more equipment and supplies than could ever be used by the several organizations that borrow it. With that in mind, Crowley, the board and gallery trooped to the kitchen to see what might be eliminated to make way for larger restrooms and possibly even a shower stall. Answer: the wall and cabinetry there on adjacent to the restroom space.

“Is it a load-bearing wall?”asked councilperson Brandi Merolla. “No,” said Crowley. “Then let’s get rid of it,” said supervisor Carol Ropke Wingert.
Crowley estimated that the floor space gained by demolishing the wall and cabinetry would be sufficient for two restrooms and a shower stall, one of them and the shower stall ADA compliant.

The board came back to the table, voting to request a cost estimate from the renovation contractor, MJL Mechanical of Honesdale.
Crowley told the board that consulting firm Delaware Engineering has endorsed Westchester-based Alliance Electric LLC, low bidder at $110,000, for installation of emergency generators in the town hall and highway department buildings. Reporting that Delaware has worked successfully with Alliance on several projects in the recent past, Crowley said a reasonable timeline for completion of the installation is 90 to 120 days from delivery of the generators. With preliminary work set to begin almost immediately, the generators could be operational by sometime in March. A unanimous board vote (minus injured Jane Luchsinger, who was unable to participate from her hospital bed via Skype) awarded the contract to Alliance.

Crowley discussed particulars of the proposed noise/mass gatherings ordinance pertaining to temporary construction for mass gathering events. The public hearing for consideration of that ordinance is December 10 at 6:15 p.m.
And then Crowley introduced a new business topic: tiny houses, granny pods and other housing that fails to meet New York State’s current 500-square-foot minimum living space requirement for habitable residential construction.“I’ve been getting a lot of questions about small dwelling construction; I don’t know what to tell people, because Tusten currently has no ordinances governing tiny-home construction.”

“I personally don’t see why the state gets to determine what size a home should be,” said Wingert. Crowley replied that the 500-square-foot figure was developed decades ago, long before today’s compact HVAC systems, small appliances and space-saving furniture had become commonplace. Today’s tiny houses generally range in size from 150 square feet to 450 square feet. Buildings of less than 144 square feet do not require a building permit.

“New York State is a ‘home rule’ state,” said Crowley. Theoretically, counties and towns can write original legislation, as long as it doesn’t contradict existing state and federal laws. The board referred the tiny-house issue to the planning board for consideration.

The holiday tree lighting on the deck in Narrowsburg will take place on December 7 at 5 p.m. Closure of Main Street in the vicinity of the deck in the hours before and after the lighting will protect pedestrians, particularly the little ones, and allow for safer operation of the horse-drawn carriage ride.

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