Town Board Hears Rezoning Proposal, Approves New Comcast Agreement

by Tom Walogorsky | Staff Writer

The Pawling Town Board convened for its regular meeting at Town Hall on Wednesday, June 14. The Board will only hold a meeting once a month during the summer, on the second Wednesday of July and August.

First on the Board’s agenda was a presentation from Liz Axelson, a planning consultant from Morris Associates Engineering. Ms. Axelson was present to give an update on possible rezoning of a portion of Route 22 for commercial use. The land being considered for this rezoning lies just south of the intersection of Routes 22 and 55, and amounts to roughly 14 acres. This change from residential to commercial zoning will not only afford new businesses frontage on a major thoroughfare, Route 22, but will also help to expand the town’s tax base. Currently, only 3% of Town land is commercially zoned. Ms. Axelson explained that an Environmental Assessment has been conducted, indicating that the land contains no floodplains, wetlands, or streams, and would thus be suitable for rezoning. This process is ongoing, and appropriate notice will be given to nearby property owners. The Town Board aims to formally vote on this measure as early as August.

In budgetary matters, the Town Board approved several fund balance transfers. The town will use $105,000 to purchase three new pickup trucks, one each for the Building and Recreation departments, and a plow and sander for Buildings and Grounds. The Board also voted in favor of spending $225,000 to cover the cost of roof repair of the Lathrop Building at Lakeside Park, as well as renovations for the Town Hall main and annex entrances.

The Board formally approved the hiring of part-time Uniformed Constable Michael Barone. The Uniformed Constable Department enforces codes within town borders and provides a security presence at Pawling Town Justice Court.

The Board agreed to approve Resolution 73, which allows the Town of Pawling to enter into a new franchise agreement with Comcast. This new agreement will improve on the Town’s previous arrangement in a number of ways. The new 15-year deal will allow the Town to increase quarterly revenue without Comcast increasing fees to the customer base. This will be accomplished by the Town collecting 3% of fees from late payments, the Home Shopping Network, and other recurring charges. In addition, the new agreement has provisions for faster response time during weather related outages. Any emergency situation brought about by weather conditions will now be handled within hours, not days. The Board approved this motion unanimously.

Finally, the Board approved measures to increase the rate of pay for lifeguards at Lakeside Park. The starting pay for first year guards will be $10 per hour, with all previously employed guards being awarded a 25-cent an hour increase. At the urging of the Recreation Department, as well as several concerned citizens, the Board was asked to research the rate of pay for lifeguards in other municipalities to keep wages competitive. The review of this pay scale will be ongoing.