North East commits to water approval for supermarket
NORTH EAST — Southern Realty Development LLC (SRD), the applicant behind the unnamed (but frequently referred to as Hannaford) supermarket planned for the Route 44, 10-plus acre site behind Thompson Plaza, was once again on the North East Town Board agenda for its meeting on Thursday, March 8.SRD principle John Joseph was present. He told the board he was there to “bring everybody up to speed” on the application process.“We came previously to talk about the extension of the water line,” he said. “Since then we went back to the village and got a resolution to supply the water.”He then handed the presentation over to Town Engineer Ray Jurkowski to take care of the details. Technical talk Jurkowski summarized the application’s history. He said that SRD approached the town late last spring, to perhaps provide them with water service for their project, with roughly 2,000 gallons per day. It also needed water for its sprinkler system.“Its one request is to have the town potentially provide 2,000 gallons per minute to provide that fireflow to properly operate that sprinkler system — that was the original request,” he said.In August, Jurkowski provided a memorandum to the Town Board as well as to the Millerton mayor indicating that it was feasible to provide the supermarket with the average daily flow of 2,000 gallons per day, “however, based on the existing limitation of the existing distribution system, it would be limited to providing only 800 gallons/minute [for fireflow], not the requested amount.”The reason, the engineer said, was that “the existing system really was never designed to provide that kind of fireflow.” In fact, much of the existing piping is 4 inches to 6 inches wide. Additionally, there are areas of the village that have higher elevations that also had to be considered. Jurkowski further explained the situation.“We had to take a look at the capacity during a fireflow event, when the pressure is not allowed to drop below 20 pounds per square inch,” he said. “When a vacuum occurs in the water system, it can drop contaminants into the system. That’s the limiting factor of why we can only provide 800 gallons per minute versus what was requested.”To make up for that difference, SRD is planning to build an on-site storage tank for the fireflow. The engineers have created new reports that are the basis of what’s been submitted to the Department of Health. They have also identified that any improvements to be done will be done at Joseph’s expense, through the escrow account, which he is responsible for. The town and village also have the right to inspect any and all work. Working together There will need to be an intermunicipal agreement between the town and the village. All of the water is in the village, which has to approve any extension; the village has confirmed it is willing to let the extension take place. SRD has requested to be an out of district user, and all costs will be the applicant’s, for which there will be an agreement between the applicant and the town.“At this point [the town] is being asked to reaffirm that you’re still interested in allowing to provide water to the applicant,” Jurkowski said, adding that way the Planning Board can take that into consideration as it’s doing the environmental review. “It’s also asked of the town that at some point in the future [the applicant] have the ability to extend the water district.”At this point in the meeting a member of the public attempted to speak, but it was not that point of the public hearing yet, and he was told he could speak later. The board continued its discussion. Town’s intent “What we’re being asked is to reaffirm something we’ve already agreed to do,” said town Supervisor John Merwin. “It’s a nonbinding confirmation,” said Attorney to the Town Warren Replansky. “You’re still on the same line as last time.”Councilman George Kaye made a motion to reconfirm the town’s interest to consider the applicant as an out of district user, the motion passed unanimously. Public comment After the rest of the meeting had been completed, the board opened the floor up to public comments. Millerton resident Peter Greenough spoke, noting he was doing so as a private citizen, not as a village Planning Board member. He first addressed the fact that he was not allowed to speak during the public hearing.“I would like to comment that under item four, public comments, which refer to item three on the agenda, it was appropriate to have recognized me at that point in time,” he said. “You are entirely correct, you have my apology,” said the supervisor. “It is my nervousness of getting through a system that made me forget it. That is our policy to have comments.”“What I wanted to say at that point ... you’re going to confirm the support of Southern Realty and the term out of district user concept for the Southern Realty Development project based upon the approval by the Village Board of a resolution to supply 2,000 gallons of water a day,” Greenough said. “That topic was not on the village agenda [at the Feb. 27 Village Board meeting]. “So was it appropriate for the village to take a vote when you have one knowledgeable trustee absent and you have another one strenuously objecting?” he asked. “And you have three other people and those three people voted three to one to approve a resolution to supply the water, but the mayor can only vote to break a tie, so that resolution may be invalid. I don’t know if it is or isn’t.”“That’s an interesting comment,” said Merwin. “In this case we’re not supposed to be debating the issue, because we’re acting on the advice of counsel to be doing what we’re doing.”“I just wanted to provide that piece of information,” Greenough said. “No, process is important,” Merwin said, ending out the discussion.Further research found that according to the village charter, the mayor may vote on any matter and must vote in cases of a tie, which would make the three to one vote of the Village Board on Monday, Feb. 27, valid.