Dec 23, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Town Board is in the final stages of crafting a local law to ban hydraulic fracturing within the town limits, and could be ready to take action on such a law by mid-March.
Between now and then, the proposed law will be submitted to the town’s codes office and zoning and planning boards for review, then on to the Onondaga County Planning Agency for review, before being returned to the town board for final action.
“The Onondaga County Planning Agency has said they currently see no adverse effects in our law,” said Town Attorney Patrick Sardino.
While these review processes are under way, the town board voted at its Dec. 21 meeting — for the third time within a year — to extend its moratorium on hydrofracking within the town limits for another six months, but only after getting an earful of criticism during a crowded public hearing on the issue.
“Why is this taking so long?” was the refrain heard during the public hearing, which was attended by about 40 people to a standing-room-only capacity.
“Frankly, it’s not that difficult [to write a law]. We’re making a huge project out of something that’s extremely simple,” said Bob Legal, of Mandana, a member of the town’s hydrofracking subcommittee. “I’m frustrated and flabbergasted that it is taking this long.”
Other attendees, like Marybeth Carlburg, of Skaneateles, wondered why the board kept bothering with moratoriums and does not just come right out with a ban law.
Town Supervisor Terri Roney said the moratorium is in place as a protective measure against hydrofracking while the town crafts the local law. “We have to do our jobs right and respect the procedures,” she said.
“I know it’s frustrating, but we have to do this right,” said Sardino. “This has been a priority.”
When pressed for an outright guarantee that the town’s moratorium or legal ban will protect Skaneateles from hydrofracking, Sardino said he could not give one. “There’s no guarantees for anything, a ban or a moratorium,” he said. “It depends on the court it ends up in [if it is challenged].”
No one in the audience spoke out in favor of ending the moratorium or of allowing hydrofracking generally.
Also at the meeting:
—Order forms for 911 signs for mailboxes and houses are now available at the town clerk’s office. The signs will cost $15 each.
—The board unanimously agreed to appoint Carol Bourque as deputy tax collector for a three-month appointment at a salary of $1,542.15.
—The board agreed to hold a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, on Local Law 2011-F, the appointment of a town constable.
—Roney told the board they had received a letter from the state Department of Transportation in response to the town’s October request for reduced speed limits on Stump, Foster and Hoyt Roads in Shepard Settlement. All three roads have no clearly posted speed limits, and local residents, during an Oct. 12 hamlet meeting, requested the board to seek a reduction to 45 m.p.h. on all three roads.
The DOT reviewed the roads and determined that lower speeds “would be appropriate” for each. The new speed limits are 40 m.p.h on Hoyt Road between Stump Road and Van Cam Road; 35 m.p.h. on Foster Road between Stump Road and the Elbridge Town Line; and 45 m.p.h. on Stump Road between Route 321 and NW Townline Road.
—The board agreed to allow the village to do a drainage work project on West Lake Street, which is on town property. The village has agreed to indemnify the town against liability and to be responsible for maintaining the project.
—The board approved the contractor Churchill Environmental, Inc., to conduct an asbestos inspection on the Transfer Station House at a cost not to exceed $2,860.38.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.