July 30, 2010
Recently, the Town of Washington Board submitted a letter to the editors of both the Millbrook Independent and the Millerton News critical of citizens who attended the Comprehensive Plan Meeting, which was held with little advance public notice on Monday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m. In this letter, they called these residents disrespectful, self-motivated and rude. This must reflect the beliefs of the Comprehensive Plan Committee since not a single member of the Town Board was present at the meeting. Therefore, we have this ironic situation: two town boards chastising and scolding members of the public for exercising their rights and acting as responsible citizens, despite every effort on the part of these very same boards to prevent them from doing so.
Letter to Town of Washington Comprehensive Plan Committee
May 19, 2010
Millbrook Matters has received a well thought out and studied open letter from local resident Anthony Sloan addressed to the Town of Washington Comprehensive Plan Committee. Mr. Sloan is a long-time local resident and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. His comments and observations of the Comprehensive Plan process over the last several months are both insightful and pertinent.
Letter to Town Board: Vernal Pools
March 30, 2009
Dear Supervisor Prisco:
I was pleased to participate in the March 12 debate at the Town Board meeting regarding vernal pools. However, I believe what lies at the heart of the matter is the continual divisiveness in our community regarding environmental policy that is often professed but rarely followed.
The Planning Board, the CAC and the Town Board are entrusted with caring for the concerns of all residents and our natural resources. As the livable space of our world gets smaller, is it not true that all residents bear a portion of the burden to protect our environment for the common good?
Village Planning Board: Be Like the Buddha
March 06, 2009
Dave Clouser is not an elected or appointed official. He is a consultant to the Village Planning Board and is paid through taxpayer dollars. It's a good thing he works for Village residents because he was the only person sitting at the Village Planning Board table during the February 26 meeting who was capable of remaining neutral in interpreting Village Code and State law as it pertains to the Village of Millbrook.
After 30 minutes of whispering about a lot line change on Nine Partners Lane (the Board routinely whispers at public meetings), the Board entertained Thompson Shaw's request for a 'change of use' on his commercial property north of Merritt Books that has not been renting well.
Millbrook Matters Meets with Village Mayor Andy Ciferri
Howard Schuman and Julia Widdowson
March 03, 2009
An open, friendly and relaxed conversation with Mayor Andy Ciferri in his office on February 13th allowed us to find out the status of several issues.
Article 78’sThe Planning Board’s controversial decision to grant the Blumenthal-Brickman development at Bennett a Negative Declaration--meaning that in their opinion the largest development ever proposed in Millbrook would have no negative environmental impacts — has resulted in four Article 78 lawsuits from local residents.
We asked Mayor Ciferri about these lawsuits. He said they had created a dilemma for the Village: on one hand the Village is now faced with costly legal proceedings and, if the judge decides on the side of the residents, the possibility of starting over on the process of reviewing the proposed development.
Yes, We Have An Agenda
Kate Farrell, Howard Schuman, Julia Widdowson
September 25, 2008
Felice Manzi, in his letter to the editor of the Round Table last week, again targeted Millbrook Matters.
His outrage was directed at what he called the Millbrook Matters agenda, and specifically the Article 78 that was filed against the Briggs/Manzi-Doro board for their relaxation of wastewater pollution discharge elimination standards. This resolution, now rescinded, made it possible to mask discharge events into our streams that exceeded DEC limits by measuring these events according to a “rolling annual average.” It was passed in a meeting that lasted under 10 minutes, with no public hearing or SEQRA review.
Those of us who were petitioners lived in both the village and the town, and some of us right on the Wappingers Creek.
Let's Not Be Hasty
September 02, 2008
At the August Town Board meeting, when Town Councilman Mike Murphy, chairman of the Wetlands Committee, was asked when the draft Wetlands Ordinance would be scheduled for another public hearing, Councilman Allan Rappleyea answered the question for him, saying “Let’s not be hasty. We like to take our time and get things right.”
They certainly like to take their time. The Town has been working on the wetlands ordinance for four years.
Rappleyea followed up by saying, “No wetland has been harmed because this law has not been passed.” This is certainly arguable.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
June 10, 2008
At the May 22 meeting of the Village Planning Board, Town of Washington Planning Board Chairman Tom Beaumont, speaking as concerned public citizen, urged his Village counterparts to approve Cardinal Hayes School for Special Children's special permit application for expansion of its facilities on Franklin Avenue.
Among other things, Beaumont felt that some of the nearby residents (Beaumont lives several miles away in a rural section of the Town) were misguided and told the Village Planning Board that he was embarrassed and confused by their statements. He went on to express why he felt that way.
Needless to say, those above-referenced nearby residents may have had the same thoughts about Tom Beaumont's opinion that he had about theirs.
Democracy and a Competent Press
May 27, 2008
One of the tools of a properly functioning democracy is a competent press. Accurate reporting of the news and a well-informed public is one of the cornerstones of a free society.
Informed citizens who read the Round Table’s coverage of the May 13 Village Board meeting might have concluded that the national newspaper group which publishes in our community has abdicated its duty with regard to accurate reporting.
“Village Denied Speed Change” was the Round Table’s headline for its coverage of this meeting, a headline that fell far short of conveying to the public the many important issues raised at the meeting, not to mention the animated discussion which followed.
Letter to Village Board: Bennett Development
Edward J. Shaughnessy & Mary Keelan Shaughnessy
April 25, 2008
Dear Mayor and Trustees:
The 2007 and 2008 Village elections have come and gone with no substantive public informational statements from the Village governing body, i.e. the Mayor, the Trustees and the Planning Board, on the progress of resolving development and other issues at the Bennett College site.
The Millbrook Round Table front page article on April 10, 2008, “ Bennett developer ‘still invested, ’ ” adds nothing of significance with the statement of Planning Board Chair Linda Roberts: “ . .
Do We All Have a Seat at the Round Table?
February 28, 2008
Newspaper publishers and editors wield a long-recognized power in the communities where they supply and control the flow of information. Ideally this power is tempered by a personal and professional obligation to responsibly represent all constituents within their readership.
Does the only paper in Millbrook fairly represent the voices of this community? Is it fair and balanced in its coverage?
Catch 22 and the Romeo Property Subdivision
February 08, 2008
You can’t make an informed comment until you know all the facts. Once you know all the facts it's too late to comment.
In order for the public to make meaningful comments about a subdivision application at the public hearing phase --- a required step a planning board has to take before granting approval for certain types of applications --- the public needs to have all the facts about the project to know what the completed project is going to look like.
But according to Town of Washington Planning Board Consultant, Neil Wilson, when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is involved, the DEC cannot complete its part of the review until after the public hearing is closed and after the Board grants some form of approval for the project -- conditional, preliminary, or final.
Hudsonia Maps Biodiversity Mapping Project
January 30, 2004
In 2001 Hudsonia began its biodiversity mapping project — the mapping of significant habitats in five Dutchess County towns. The purpose of the project, according to Hudsonia’s Gretchen Stevens, was “to put good information in the hands of local decision-makers.”
The Town of Washington was mapped in 2003 and 2004. Yet not once in the past three years that members of Millbrook Matters have been attending meetings has any member of the Town of Washington Planning Board referred to these maps, or the manuals which accompany them, for guidance in judging the merits or demerits of an application.
The Tribute Garden put up $50,000 per town for Hudsonia’s five-town mapping project and the Dyson Foundation another $30,000 per town.