Nov 27, 2013 Joe Genco Uncategorized
In response to recent concerns about poor pressure to fire hydrants in the village of Skaneateles, local officials have come up with a temporary solution.
The village has developed a plan to install several “dry hydrants” to give local firefighters the ability to fight fires, if need be, while the village water has less than sufficient flow to some fire hydrants.
The village and town water departments will be installing a new hydrant on East Street near the village water tower this winter. Rather than being fed by the village water system like ordinary hydrants, it will be a dry hydrant fed only by the two former drinking water reservoirs at the tower site, Director of Municipal operations Bob Lotkowictz said at the board’s Nov. 26 meeting.
The village and town were already in the process of decommissioning the two reservoirs which are no longer necessary due to the village’s ultraviolet disinfection system installed last year.
Instead of being drained and filled in, the reservoirs will now be used as a water source for firefighters. Their combined capacity is 700,000 gallons. Though the water won’t under pressure, firefighters can still access the water with special equipment designed to pump water from non-pressurized water sources, Lotkowictz said.
The village also has tentative plans to install five more dry hydrants throughout the village that will tap into Skaneateles Lake. The dry hydrants will be painted black so that firefighters can discern them from regular hydrants.
The plan came as a result of several recent meetings between town and village officials and firefighters who have worked together to come up with solutions to the problem, fire department liaison and Village Trustee Sue Jones said. The plan is agreeable to both sides and addresses a public safety concern, Jones said.
“It’s really been a harmonious and a good group,” she said.
The poor pressure to a number of hydrants on the east side of the village is a problem that the village still plans to address with an upcoming capital project to replace water mains. The dry hydrants will be a way for firefighters to have easy access to water until the fire flow problem is corrected, though they will be permanent installations, Lotkowictz said.
The hydrant on East Street will be installed by town and village workers, though additional personnel may need to be brought in if the village installs dry hydrants near the lake.
–Chad Rogers, a member of the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Commission, presented the board with a draft of a document titled “Village of Skaneateles Historic District Design Standards and Guidelines.”
The document is intended to be an aide to residents of the village’s historic district when bringing a building proposal before the HLPC. The idea for a set of guidelines came out of the public discussion initiated earlier this year when the village passed a law to reduce the number of members of the HLPC, Trustee Mary Sennett said.
The HLPC used the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s historic guidelines as a model for the document as well as building design standards used by the village of Pittsford, N.Y., Rogers said.
–The village will move forward with a new law to amend an outdated section of the zoning law titled “Household Occupations.” Under the current law, anyone conducting business in their home is technically required to get a special use permit from the village at a cost of $350.
A new law would make the permit unnecessary for anyone whose business has no effect on neighbors, said Village Attorney Mike Byrne who worked with Village Code Enforcement Officer Adam D’Amico on the proposal.
If someone’s home business does involve noise, or people coming and going from the residence, then they may still need a permit, Byrne said.
“We’re under no illusions, this is going on all over the community already, we’re trying to make the zoning fit the makeup of the community,” D’Amico said.
Once presented with an official proposal for the law, the board will schedule a public hearing and then vote on the proposal.
–The board moved to switch all the village’s landline phones from Verizon to Earthlink. Village Clerk Patty Couch, Lotkowictz and village employee Dennis Dundon researched making the change and found that switching will save the village $600 a month and require minimal hardware changes.
–The board approved the appointment of Mike Balestra and David Badami to the zoning board of appeals to fill two vacancies. Balestra will serve through March of 2015 and Badami will serve through March 2018. The board also appointed current ZBA member Craig Phinney to be the board’s new chair.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.