Robert Weber, left, accepts a proclamation from Councilman Jeff Genzel, honoring him for his 70 years of service with the Boston Fire Company. Weber was honored at the town board meeting.
BOSTON—Several citizens of the town of Boston took advantage of a public hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 6 when the town board met to consider a request for a permit to dump materials on Hillcrest Avenue.
The matter has been brought up multiple times in past meetings, and the usual speakers were on hand to express their opinions. Russell Goldberg, who made the request, was the first to speak.
“At the time I had first arrived here...no municipal water was available in the town of Boston, at least on the part of Boston where I resided,” said Goldberg. “Fortunately, there was a town right of way that would permit me access both to the town roads and to utilities. With the recent lowering of the cost of gas, some two years ago I came to the town board and said I wanted to install gas and water to my residence. In order to install gas and water to my residence, I needed to have a walkable path from the end of Chestnut Lane to the edge of my property. In order to establish that walkable path, I will need to install fill.”
Daniel Kurek, a neighbor of Goldberg, spoke up concerning the time frame of the project. “In the last year, some potential development’s been going on up there,” Kurek said. “Mr. Goldberg came up with a contractor a little over eight weeks ago, and we all know what happened then: it was illegal, according to the town attorney [Michael Kobiolka], that he cut down the trees...he cut down bollards, took out the stop sign and started bringing in fill...My understanding was the [Department of Environmental Conservation] and the board and the code enforcement and everybody else came up there and put a stop to it. It’s a mess right now. It’s been over eight weeks.”
Kurek continued, stating that the fill is still sitting at the end of the road and overflows onto his and a neighbor’s property.
“I don’t have a problem with Mr. Goldberg getting his fill or his water or his gas. What my problem is that I’m not a very patient person. It’s been, again, over eight and a half weeks since this fill was brought in,” Kurek said. “ I want it removed immediately if not sooner. I know how politics and government work; it’s going to take a while. But I think eight and a half weeks has been enough time of messing around with this fill.
“Before water and gas are to be dug and put in, because the gas is coming from...my property, and the water ends...[at] my other property, I want to know from a contractor, I want it spraypainted and flagged exactly where this water and this gas is going to be dug so we can do minimal damage to the trees and what’s left of the end of the road.”
Kurek later added, if the town did not move on the issue, that he would remove the fill himself.
“[Goldberg] did it with a contractor, nothing happened to him, that I know of, so I can do it.”
Resident Bryant Burns asked the board why Goldberg can’t dig for his water from the road, instead of disrupting neighboring properties.
“[Goldberg] would not be distracting anybody’s environment if he went in from his own road, not ours. If he needs access to Chestnut Lane for some reason that’s undisclosed, Mr. Kurek and I both expected that that dirt between our properties will be moved and that grade that originally was before he illegally brought that dirt in is put back to normal, as that is a violation of town code 101.4, which the town seems to enforce on some people and not on others, so there’s already a code violation that’s in place that nobody is doing anything about,” he said. “Whether you’re taking to court or whatever, that dirt is on town property, and so the town is now violating their own town code by stockpiling dirt within 50 feet of another person’s property. That’s a violation as it sits right now.”
Burns continued, asking the board if there needs to be a storm water prevention permit granted by New York state, siting that it will be more than an acre of property which may cause storm water issues to neighbors.
“We also want a clear indication from the contractor exactly where they’re going to place the water and gas, if, in fact, the board does agree to allow him to do it,” Burns concluded.
Russ Metcalf spoke up, saying that if the matter of debate is in reference to town codes 101.1 and 101.2, the argument is moot, as those codes were “rendered unconstitutional...in Boston Fire Company v. Town of Boston.”
The board affirmed that neither of those codes had been amended. However, Goldberg disagreed with that premise, stating that code 101 is in reference to “removing fill” and not dumping it. Kobiolka said he would “have to look into it.”
The board agreed to “reserve decision on this permit application,” after the public hearing. Town supervisor Martin Ballowe was absent from the meeting and the board preferred to have everyone active in the decision-making process, especially considering the number of comments at the hearing.
The earliest a decision can be made is at the board’s next meeting, on Sept. 3. Until then, Goldberg, of his own will, is allowed to “do remedial work,” such as uncover the bases of the trees.
The board honored Robert Weber with a proclamation during a brief ceremony at the meeting for 70 years of service with the Boston Fire Company, dating back to April 3, 1944. As recorded in the proclamation, Weber “held the positions of chief, assistant chief, captain, lieutenant, executive board member and mechanic and was on seven replacement committees.”
Weber also served as a Navy Seebee in the South Pacific for three years in World War II.
“Robert has been an exceptional asset to the Boston Fire Company and helped steer the fire company where it is today,” the proclamation states. “Now therefore be it resolved that the Boston town board, on behalf of the residents of the town, wish to express our warmest wishes to Robert Weber for his exemplary standards and dedicated service to the town of Boston community.
In other board matters:
Councilman Jeff Genzel announced that the Boston Community Foundation, after two years, is back to non-for-profit status. “Now we can apply for grants for our sports, get lights up . . . [it’s] very exciting,” said Genzel.
In light of the town’s purchase and installation of an eight-camera security system in its offices, the board resolved that “review of the town of Boston’s security tapes should only be done at the direction of the town of Boston supervisor or, in his or her absence, the deputy town supervisor,” as carried in resolution 2014-12.
Budget meetings are scheduled to begin on Oct. 1.
A public hearing was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 3 to hear comments on a special use permit for Albert Altherr at Hillcrest Avenue.
The Sept. 3 meeting of the town of Boston will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.