Town Board Holds Comcast Public Hearing, Considers Rezoning Near Route 22
The Pawling Town Board convened on Wednesday, April 4, for a workshop meeting that also served as the first public hearing for a renewal of the Town’s Comcast Cable Franchise Agreement. Also on the agenda was a discussion of potential rezoning of property near Route 22 from residential to commercial use.
Town officials opened the public hearing, allowing residents to voice their questions and concerns regarding the renewal of the contract with Comcast of New York, LLC. The proposed non-exclusive contract will be signed for a 15-year period. In addition to providing cable and Internet services, the agreement also covers future maintenance and necessary installation procedures to ensure adequate service for residents. The new agreement also includes provisions to extend wires above and below ground to expand service in the area between Strawberry Hill Road and North Quaker Hill Road. Comcast will also provide cable service to each public building, public school, police and fire stations, and public library at no additional charge, including expanded basic cable service at Town Hall.
Residents in attendance questioned the necessity of such a lengthy contract with Comcast. Citing the rapid development of technology, several residents urged the Board to consider a shorter length of service. Officials noted that a 15 year contract is standard among most surrounding municipalities. Also discussed was the idea of broadcasting Town Board meetings on a public access channel. This idea was considered, but ultimately deemed too costly. Officials opted to leave the public hearing open for future meetings to further address any concerns. A full copy of the Comcast Cable Franchise Agreement is available online at PawlingNY.VirtualTownHall.net/Pages/Index by selecting “More” under “Announcements.”
Next, the Board addressed the possible rezoning of parcels of land north of Route 22. Recently, the Town Implementation Committee has been tasked with locating suitable areas to be changed from residential to commercial zoning in accordance with the Town Master Plan. Currently, only 3% of the total acreage in Pawling is zoned for commercial use. The Town Board expressed interest in rezoning certain properties to “highway business” status to promote economic development.
In conjunction with the Town Planning Board and Implementation Committee, officials will take a closer look at several properties, including the area surrounding Hurds Corners Road with regard to possible rezoning. These considerations will take into account that certain areas are classified as Critical Environmental Areas (CEA) and will require that all environmental regulations be closely followed. The process of locating new areas for rezoning is ongoing.
Next, the Board would hear an update from Owner's Representative Vinny DiMarco on the progress of the Whaley Lake Dam reconstruction project. DiMarco announced that the second cofferdam was successfully installed, and the project is making good forward progress. In addition, a sump pump was installed, currently running 24 hours a day to facilitate the reconstruction effort. The pump is powered by a generator placed in an area where the noise is less likely to disturb nearby residents.
Finally, officials were pleased to announce that Dutcher Golf Course is in final preparations to open for the season. Weather permitting, the nine-hole golf course will be open for business on Wednesday, May 11.
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall, 160 Charles Colman Blvd.