Nov 26, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
After four months of discussions, public hearings, investigations, surveys and unresolved votes, the Nelson Town Board last week approved a new local law to prohibit parking along the north side of a portion of North Lake Road in Erieville by the Blue Canoe Grill. The law also included a sunset clause stating that after work improving the north side culvert on that same stretch of road is completed next summer, the board will review the parking situation and could possibly reopen parking along the north side if it feels public safety would not be endangered by doing so.
“We have a dangerous situation here that we need to remedy; we can’t just let it go,” Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet said during the board’s Nov. 20 regular meeting.
The North Lake Road parking issue has been before the town board since July, when the Erieville Fire Department advised the board that the area near the Blue Canoe was congested at times and needed to be passable by emergency equipment. Visitors to the Blue Canoe (formerly Rosie’s), located at 3568 North Lake Road in Erieville, often park along both sides of North Lake Road, which leaves only a narrow alley passable by cars. Also, due to the configuration of the parking lot, the rear ends of cars parked adjacent to the road often stick out. This is not only prohibitive to emergency vehicles, but also upsetting to neighbors who must navigate the road daily and may at times find their driveways blocked.
At the July town board meeting, attending residents unanimously felt a prohibition of parking on the north side of the road, opposite the Blue Canoe, would best satisfy emergency needs and the neighbors in that area. During a Sept. 12 public hearing, however, multiple area residents said that parking should be allowed on the north side and prohibited on the south side because the north side has fewer driveways and mailboxes and would allow a greater number of cars to park on the road. Also at the September meeting, Erieville Fire Commissioner Dale Marland told the board that there is no issue with fire trucks and equipment navigating North Lake Road as it currently exists with parking on both sides.
Deputy Supervisor Mike Costello, who ran the September meeting in the absence of Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, who was out of town, made a motion to vote on the original plan to prohibit parking on the north side of the road. No member of the board offered to second the motion, so the motion died.
At the October town board meeting, the parking issue was discussed again and a vote called on the original parking plan. That vote deadlocked with two in favor, two opposed and one abstention.
At the board’s Nov. 20 regular meeting, Bradstreet said the board had received a second letter from the Erieville Fire Department stating that they need a clear traffic path on North Lake Road for emergency services. The board then took up the issue again — this discussion was different than previous discussions, however, as the board tied to the parking discussion the intended project to repair the north side drainage ditch culvert on North Lake Road.
It had been stated by town attorney Jim Stokes in September that because members and residents both brought up the concern that the north side of North Lake Road had a large drop-off into a culvert right off the road shoulder, which could cause people injury if they fell into it after parking on the north side of the road, if anyone were to become injured because of that it could result in a lawsuit against the town.
The board discussed in detail its plans to improve that north side culvert, and ultimately approved a resolution to direct the town highway department to complete the work before the end of next year. Town Highway Superintendent Jack Sevier said the work should cost about $5,000 and he should have it completed by about Aug. 1.
The board then voted, after a motion by Councilor John LaGorga, to approve the original proposed parking law (with the prohibition on parking on the north side of the road) with an added sunset clause stating that the culvert work must be completed by Dec. 31, 2014, and, once the work is done, the board will review the parking situation on that stretch of North Lake Road again and leaves itself the option to amend the law to change the parking regulations.
Bradstreet said he wanted to make clear that while the board will reconsider parking on the north side of North Lake Road next year, there is no guarantee that parking regulations will be changed — the culvert work is being done to improve the road and not to create more parking.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the new parking law. Costello voted no because he objected to the plan for the town to pay for the pipes to be added to the culvert when town policy has been to have landowners pay for pipe installations. “It’s slapping everybody in the face who [previously] bought their own pipe,” Costello said. “I don’t like it.”
The rest of the board felt the payment method was acceptable because the culvert work was a public safety and town infrastructure issue.
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Heard from Highway Superintendent Jack Sevier that he is still working through the FEMA process to receive federal disaster recovery funds related to the July flooding, and his crews have been out five times on plow runs, mostly to sand the roads, so far this winter.
—Heard from Bradstreet that Nelson’s municipal insurance rate will decrease starting Jan. 1, 2014, although he did not yet have the specific amount of the decrease.
—Unanimously approved a motion to contract with the Georgetown Ambulance Services to cover parts of the town of Nelson not covered by CAVAC, as well as to file a “certificate of need” with the state, which will allow residents who utilize the Georgetown Ambulance Services to bill Medicare for the service.
—Heard from Town Clerk Debbie Costello that the six new surveillance cameras installed both inside and outside the town office are working well. The total cost for the cameras came to about $900. Bradstreet said officials from the town of Madison plan to visit the Nelson town office to look at the new cameras as they consider taking the same action.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.