An Informed Citizenry….

An Informed Citizenry….

“An informed citizenry is the best guarantee of good government” is a sign that I’ve displayed in my office (both Town Clerk and Supervisor) for over 25 years.  It’s a statement that I believe strongly in.  Some Town of Olive residents recently received a letter from the High Point Neighbors Association.  The following is the Town Board’s effort to see that you are properly informed.

Sylvia

Town Board Response to High Point Neighbors Association letter dated January 7, 2017

Letter Statement:  …the total tax increase was over 15% in 2015 and 2016…

Fact #1.

2015          1.61489% increase

2016          4.4396% increase  (3.01% was for 24 hr. ambulance coverage)

2017          3.2036% increase

Letter Statement:   …Olive officials have decided to invade our Town contingency fund to pay an outside lawyer to defend an administrative decision…

Fact #2.

A1420.4 Attorney Budget         2014       2015      2016      2017

Budgeted amount                  $18,000 $15,000 $15,000 $18,000

Total Expenditures               $  4,848  $  1,646  $  6,922

Expenditures never exceeded the budgeted amount; therefore, no Contingency transfers were required.  The Town hired no outside attorneys to assist the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and/or the Planning Board in the Ashokan Dreams application.  In 2016 the amount expended on legal fees to assist the Zoning Officer and ZBA in handling the Ashokan Dreams application process was $2,250.

Fact #3.   Ashokan Dreams received Planning Board Site Plan approval for a Bed and Breakfast on or about May 12, 1998.  In April 2016 Ashokan Dreams applied to the Planning Board to amend their Site Plan to include use of their premises as a wedding facility.  On May 20, 2016 Olive Zoning Enforcement Officer John Ingram notified Ashokan Dreams and the Planning Board that the Zoning Board of Appeals should make a determination as to whether or not using the Ashokan Dreams Bed and Breakfast premises as a wedding facility should be permitted as an accessory use under Town of Olive Zoning Code.  On October 6, 2016, the Zoning Board of Appeals determined that wedding events are a permitted Special Use to a Bed and Breakfast, requiring a Site Plan, under the Town of Olive Zoning Code—outlining public safety issues and specifics that should be addressed in the Site Plan to the Planning Board.

Fact #4.  Anyone aggrieved by a decision of the ZBA can appeal the decision by applying to the NYS Supreme Court for review under article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. An appeal must be made within 30 days of the filing of the ZBA decision with the municipal clerk. [Town Law §267-c.]

Fact #5.   On November 10, 2016 an Article 78 petition was filed with the Town Clerk’s office as follows:

Melissa Brophy, Matthew Cooper, Robert Grass, Margaret Lutz, Florence Schetzel and High Point Neighbor Association

Against

Town of Olive Zoning Board of Appeals, Chester Karwatowski & Anne-Marie Johansson d/b/a  Ashokan Dreams

Fact #6.   “Local governments must bear the expense of defending board decisions, while applicants or others aggrieved must bear both the expense of the challenge and the cost of lost economic benefit through completion of the project.”      Dept. of State Office of General Counsel Legal Memorandum LG02     Graham vs. Town of Tully Planning Board 237 A.D.2d 923 (4th Dept. 1997)

Fact #7.  The Town of Olive Town Board unanimously believes it is only proper to support the volunteers on the various appointed boards who spend countless hours reviewing applications and making determinations for the benefit and welfare of the Town.

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