Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 11.18.21

How my town became a DEC toilet.

To understand this ugly history of the town of Poestenkill’s descent down into the realm of “toilet towns,” those towns willing to allow themselves to be the dumping grounds for the waste, including adult diapers, etc. that other towns don’t want dumped on them, it is first necessary to recall that in the case of Poestenkill, as was documented in a series of Letters to the Editor in the Advertiser between September 20, 2018 @ p.25, October 4, 2018 @ p.22, and October 11, 2018 @ p.24, there was money to be made by offering up Poestenkill as a “toilet town,” and other than those in the area to become the “toilet” in Poestenkill, the area around the intersection of 351 and 66, nobody objected, while the support was unanimous.

Absolutely no mystery there whatsoever, especially as it is a matter of public record going back to Matter of Paul R. Plante v. Poestenkill Town Board, Jay F. Nish, Paul Sieloff, Nelson Armlin, Mark Dunlea and Kristine Legenbauer, Index No. 179138 decided in my favor by a decision of Rensselaer County Supreme Court Justice Edward O. Spain on March 28, 1994 which Article 78, in reality a petition for redress of grievance pursuant to our Constitution, challenged the “laundering” of a fraudulent DEC Part 360 solid waste facility through the Poestenkill town board, which Article 78 was based on a statement during the public meeting by then-councilman Dunlea that in essence, he was not going to allow the law or regulations to get in the way of a business in Poestenkill from expanding, and a decision of Hon. Robert C. Williams, JSC, on 29 October 1993 in The Matter of the Application of Paul R. Plante For a Judgment Pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules against New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Thomas C. Jorling as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Benson Bros. Disposal, Inc.

So why is all that history now being covered over as if it never happened?

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Mixed housing proposal moves to North Greenbush Planning Board

At the November 2021 North Greenbush Town Meeting, a proposal for mixed housing / retail was approved to move to the planning board. The site is in the Defreestville section of North Greenbush located near Route 43 and Bloomingrove Drive. The proposal warrants a deeper review by the planning board. I support denser housing and multi-family projects. The proposal suggested possibly one non-residential use of the site could be for an additional North Greenbush Ambulance site. A secondary ambulance site is needed on that side of town. I hope greater review of this option is explored. Not discussed, but should also be considered, should be the consideration of a North Greenbush Library facility on the property. The proposal referenced the North Greenbush Comprehensive Plan, which is a good thing, however, I wish the plan was not over 15 years old. The proposal suggested roughly $1 million in school revenue could be generated from the residential units. Because many of the residential units are single and double-room units, the number of children at these units are expected to be low. Thus the units provide school revenue without significantly adding to the student load. I am glad that the proposal considered the long-term effects on the local schools. The 5, 10, and 20-year ramifications of proposals need to be considered when they are evaluated. Public benefits of open space and walking paths were briefly mentioned, but limited details provided in the interest of time. When the full proposal goes before the planning board, I hope the board pushes for more information related to water (drinking, sewer, and storm); public benefits (how to connect to the town); burden on emergency services; and traffic of the project.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Where’s The Source?

Why are folks demanding action when the news reports “only” 7 homes and Algonquin Middle School was found to have PFAS compounds in excess of the state drinking water limit? The problem is greater than you’ve been led to believe.

As of this writing a total of 13 homes and Algonquin Middle School have discovered PFAS compounds in their well water, 7 above the state limit, more results are pending. With every round of testing the number of impacted homes continues to grow and do not include at least 6 positive results from private homeowner testing that I’m aware of. PFOA/PFOS are linked to serious health problems including cancers; frighteningly, we don’t know how long we have been drinking PFAS laden water. Finding the source can help answer that question. In order to prevent further widespread contamination of PFAS compounds in our community we must find the source, contain the contamination and remediate the poisons from our drinking water. Your home may not have PFAS compounds in the water today but sooner or later it’s coming to your door unless we find the source and stop it.

Action is slow in coming and seems that requests for a thorough investigation to find the source has fallen on deaf ears. Yes, the DEC is beginning to test the land at Algonquin; however, data collected by Rensselaer County is showing a much wider swath of impacted homes than what was found adjacent to the school. If we have learned any lesson from the PFAS disaster in Hoosick Falls; a full and complete investigation is not going to happen unless the community bands together and make our voices heard. Like Hoosick Falls it seems that authorities are busy down-playing this local ecological disaster instead of being proactive. A small group of Poestenkill residents have banded together but need a united community demanding a complete investigation and remedial action. Only together are we going to be able keep PFAS contamination from coming to your drinking water. Paula Heilmann, Poestenkil

Paula Heilmann, Averill Park

Surrounded by Woods

The woods surround my home. The air is fresh and invigorating. Wild creatures visit from time to time. What if more people could have a backyard natural paradise like this?

What if conservation developments became the norm?

What if new houses were clustered together near the access road, with minimal paved surfaces, surrounded by undisturbed natural areas?

What if nature trails for biking and hiking connected these housing clusters together?

What if there was a bike trail from North Greenbush to Albany?

What if, what if, what if.

What’s your what if?

Shall we envision together what could be?

Sheree Cammer, Wynantskill

Barnes Road Event Barn Update

A resident (Mr. Ken Bailey) of Barnes Road sought and obtained permission from the closing Town of Sand Lake Planning Board to build a large commercial party barn operation. A large coalition of concerned neighbors opposed the commercial party barn in their midst, noting that the application was woefully inadequate and failed to address traffic and noise to be expected from a party venue hosting events for 175 people every fair weather weekend. Following the Planning Board’s pro forma stamped approval of the party barn, the neighborhood challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rejected the party barn approval, finding that the Planning Board action was arbitrary and capricious and illegal, and annulled the Planning Board’s determination “in its entirety”. The applicant and Town both took the preliminary steps to appeal. The party barn applicant, Mr. Bailey, submitted his papers and “perfected” his appeal the week of October 21st. The Town, however, did not submit its papers, but instead asked for an extension, even though they had 8 full months to submit their papers. The extension had the effect of postponing the Town’s need to take opposition until after Election Day.

So where does the Town of Sand Lake stand? Will the town support all the neighbors who opposed the introduction of a commercial party center in their AG district? Will the Town admit that the Judge was right, and the Planning Board in illegally approving a disruptive party venue, was wrong? Will the Town of Sand Lake Support the public, or continue to ignore its own Zoning Ordinance, Master Plan, and the law?

Deborah Dewey & Winston Hagborg, West Sand Lake

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