Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 10.06.22

Rezone of parcel for auto repair shop bad idea for North Greenbush

On October 13, the North Greenbush town board will hold a public hearing at town hall to hear comments concerning the potential rezoning of a parcel at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Bloomingrove Drive, the southern gateway to our town. The applicant, an existing auto repair facility currently located off of Route 4, is seeking to have this parcel rezoned from “Neighborhood Business” to General Business so it can relocate and operate an auto repair facility there. The town board should deny this application. Six years ago, North Greenbush painstakingly reworked its zoning code with the aid of numerous community volunteers and staff. At that time, it was determined that the southernmost gateway to the town, featuring several historic structures including the Bloomingrove Reformed Church and the Van Alen homestead, should be zoned neighborhood business. This designation would permit businesses such as medical offices, hair salons and certain restaurants and promote a “hamlet like” feel. Yet only six years after the town rezoning, this auto repair facility is seeking town board approval to “spot zone” this one parcel in the town’s last remaining historic district. North Greenbush residents-think about how you want visitors to view your town! With Chick fil A and Aldis soon to be constructed on Route 4, there will be many folks from outside the area exiting Interstate 90 from Exit 8. Don’t we want them to react positively to the image of our town? Don’t we want them to say, “North Greenbush is a really lovely place! “Do we really want an auto repair facility to greet people as they arrive into town? There are other concerns as well, such as potential groundwater contamination from chemicals used at the facility. That neighborhood still relies on septic and well. If you agree that this rezone is a bad idea, then come to North Greenbush Town Hall on Thursday, October 13 at 6:30 pm and let the town board know. 

Mary Frances Sabo, North Greenbush

Rensselaer County has treatment court

I read the letter to the editor written by Michael Myer of North Greenbush suggesting that Rensselaer County should consider a DUI court like they have adopted in Sullivan County.

Rensselaer County has such a program.

When I took the bench in 2013, I coordinated with the Rensselaer County Probation Department, District Attorney and Public Defender to begin such a program. 

Additionally, I oversee another diversionary program (“drug court”) which provides nonviolent offenders who commit crimes because of their addiction a chance at treatment rather than incarceration.

Both programs require defendants to plead guilty to a felony, sign a contract with the court requiring them to remain drug and alcohol free, remain arrest free, participate in treatment and take observed unannounced drug tests. Defendants are subject to intense supervision by probation and must appear in court at least every two weeks for a status hearing. The program lasts between 18-24 months. If defendants violate the rules, they are sanctioned and termination from the program usually results in a period of incarceration.

I have written two separate grants and obtained $800,000 in federal grant money to improve treatment court (Rensselaer County Drug Court uses grant to give opioid addicts new start, Ken Crowe 5/29/18) specifically directed at the opiate epidemic which has plagued our county for many years. I also have piloted a new program (Dogs ease stress, bring laughs in Rensselaer County drug court, Robert Gavin, 9/5/22) using therapy dogs in court sessions. Additionally, I am currently the President the New York Association of Treatment Court Professionals which is the statewide organization devoted to the advancement of treatment courts.

I would invite anyone who is interested in treatment courts to come to the County Courthouse, 80 2nd Street, every Thursday at 1 p.m. to observe my programs in action. 

Judge Debra Young, Rensselaer County Court Judge

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