Amenia

November 2, 2015 

Three locations are being considered for new cell towers in Amenia.  The first monopole proposed is located at 67 Kent Road in South Amenia, by SBA Communications, and would provide reception for Verizon.  The company provided a visual “balloon test” for the approx. 167’ pole earlier this year, and is still apparently a work in progress despite opposition by neighboring residents, and their need for a variance from the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals.  It was rejected by the MTA and the ZBA as it would need to be extraordinarily tall to get a signal over the high ridge to the west (RM) and fill the service gap in the hamlet of Wassaic."

 A second monopole is being proposed at the Wassaic Train Station (owned by MetroNorth) near the back of their parking lot and the old race track which was used for trotters in the ‘forties.  MTA needs to enhance MTA police communications and response to emergencies such as hurricane Sandy, which has been deemed inadequate by Homeland Security.  The proposed monopole will be appx. 170’ high and is slated to be constructed before year-end. 

Three candidates are running for two town board seats in Amenia. 

The seats that are open are Steve Perotti’s, for a two-year term, since he is stepping down, and Vicki Doyle’s four-year term.   

We queried the candidates about their priorities. 

1239 Damian Gutierrez, a new Democratic face on the scene, ran for a Town Board position two years ago and is running again.  He and his wife live in Wassaic and are an active part of the Wassaic Project community.  He has a background in information technology and is an associate partner at a technology consulting firm called Control Group.  Damian grew up in Long Island as the son of two teachers.  He says he believes he has good listening skills since he has to listen to his clients’ challenges and come up with solutions.

On September 10th a small turn-out of Republican voters selected with only 220 voters coming out for the office of Supervisor. Victoria Perotti and Mike Delango were vying for the position.  It was a close race, with Delango garnering 96 votes and Perotti winning with 123 votes. 

Victoria Perotti told TMI: “I would like to thank the voters for their support and look forward to working together on important projects for the Town of Amenia.”

The race for County Legislator was between incumbent Michael Kelsey and Sandra Washburn.  37 year-old Pleasant Valley resident Washburn, won with 260 votes to Kelsey’s 132.  The Dutchess County GOP Committee had endorsed Sandra Washburn, “a Republican of impeccable character,” back in August, an unusual action, since they had previously stated that they would not endorse candidates before a primary.   They had cited the criminal sexual abuse charges against Kelsey as the reason for their endorsement of Washburn.

Celebrities rubbed elbows with crunchies at the opening of a new health food store on Mechanic Street in Amenia.

At the ‘soft’ opening friends and fans were served wheat grass juice, spanokopita, local cheeses and watermelon and fruit concoctions.

Ann Marie Pallan gave us a tour of the store showing us “Wholey Oats” granola bars , a business out of Wingdale, locally-produced honey by Alekie Apiaries in Sherman, coconut milk ice cream by a Hudson Valley confectioner, organic meats from Dashing Star farms and Meili’s.  

The list of businesses from the region went on with sheep milk yogurt from Chatham, local kimchee, salsas from Hyde Park, Mama’s Cheese breads and Hudson Valley skin care.  And the contractors,  a who renovated the store were from Amenia and Connecticut.

Marvin Scott, the award-winning reporter from WPIX Channel 11 was on hand as a friend, not as a reporter, and had the following to say:

The Town of Amenia is considering permitting a commercial composting operation on the border of Amenia and Dover Plains off Route 22 on two parcels, one of which is the former Lopane Nursery.

Leslie Carille, Deputy Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Solid Waste Management was invited to the Amenia Town Board meeting on September 3 to make a presentation about composting.  She encouraged the town to consider the application for a large commercial composting operation by a landscaping concern from Westchester County.  The group, Bulfamante Landscaping of New Rochelle, would like to bring grass clippings and leaves from the properties for which they do maintenance.

On their website, http://www.bulfamantelandscaping.com/, they say they are “one of New York’s best landscaping, design, install and maintenance companies. For the past twenty years we have been working on Public Parks, Residential and commercial properties located in Westchester County, Fairfield County, Connecticut and New York City. “

August 22 - Attorney, David Everett gave the Amenia Town Board a list of to do items relating to the final aproval of the Silo Ridge project at it meeting Thursday, Aug. 20.  They included details on the bonding,  aprovals under SEQR, stormwater measures,  inspection procedures and the resolutions adopted by the Planning Board.   

“The Town has to issue an approval under SEQR for the Silo Ridge project and that has to be done by the town board, even though the Planning Board has passed resolutions to that effect.  You can make changes at this point as well, if they are deemed necessary,” said Mr. Everett.

Members of the town board asked where they could read these resolutions, not seeming to know that they have been posted on the town website for three weeks.  “Do you need us to make hard copies for you of the 45 pages of approvals?” asked Everett. 

July 29, 2015 -  The Amenia Planning Board passed five resolutions, all drafted by the lawyers, approving the construction of the Silo Ridge Field Club very much in the form set forth in the developer’s application with, however, many conditions. 

Whether the holder of the conservation easement, required under the town’s zoning law, will be the Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC) remains an open question.  The DLC, the town and the developer are in negotiations on several points, one of which is the removal of the restaurant from the hairpin turn which the DLC is considers important in order to protect the viewshed.  The town’s attorneys proposed a generic easement; the possibility of the town holding the easement was mentioned.  The deadline for approving the development was July 30th.

July 24, 2015 - The draft Findings Statement is now posted on the Amenia website:  http://ameniany.gov/government/pboard/planning-board-minutes/2015/1272-amended-findings-final-draft-072115/file.html

On July 22, one of the last meetings before the expected approval of the Silo Ridge project by the Amenia Planning Board, David Everett, the attorney for the board, said “We need to adopt this Findings Statement and have a conversation about it before the final SEQR decision.”

The Amenia Planning Board will hold special meetings on July 29 and 30 at  7 p.m.  to consider the findings statement and other open questions relating to the Silo Ridge applicatiion. 

Resolutions for the special permit for the wastewater, the subdivision plat, the Master Development Plan for the whole project will be voted on.   Everett siad “There will be ongoing conditions, but what we are approving is one overall project.”

Planner Marianne Johnson, Dr. Michael Klemens and engineer Julie Mangarillo were on hand to discuss their ‘red line’ comments on the Findings Statement.

July 9- The eagerly awaited final decision for the Silo Ridge Field Club was not forthcoming at the July 8 Amenia Planning Board meeting.  The Planning Board Chair, Norm Fontaine, said that the board is having their attorney, Dave Everett, develop a resolution for the decision which is expected at a future meeting.  

“Everyone has done their piece of the Findings Statement and we are working on putting it all together,” stated Amenia Town Engineer, Julie Mangarillo.  The Findings Statement is what is required to be submitted for the state environmental review (SEQR) by the town.  At the meeting on July 8, the Planning Board was poised to vote to accept the Change Request Protocol, that outlines the process by which  the developer can make field changes to the site plan without any review or approval by the Planning Board.

The Old Drovers Inn, once a landmark watering hole for travelers and gourmets, is making a comeback.

A construction firm called Structure Works, started by Jim Muncey, purchased the inn at auction after years of neglect.  A renovation which honors its history and architectural detail took almost two years to complete.  Every detail has been given loving attention. 

It is now open to the public as a bed and breakfast, and for private functions,  weddings and dinner parties.  It is not open as a restaurant.

The inn was once a stop for drovers herding cattle to market as early as 1750.  Later, it became a favorite stop for the Berkshire bound.  The tap room was noted for its generous martini.  It was admitted to the prestigious Relais & Chateaux in 1988.  The Federal Room, the current dining room, has murals (recently restored), executed by Edward Paine in 1941, with scenes of the schoolhouse in Millerton, Hyde Park’s Roosevelt mansion, the turrets of West Point and scenes of Old Drovers Inn itself.  

1003 The Federal Room

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