Andes residents sound off on noise ordinance

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By Cheryl Petersen
Reaching the room occupancy limit, Andes residents filled town hall to discuss a proposed Noise Ordinance and a local law concerning permitted use of the transfer station last Tuesday.
The noise ordination is meant to regulate unreasonable noise within the town.
“The ordinance is not designed to affect farming as defined by the dictionary and by New York Agriculture and Markets,” said Supervisor Donnelly. “It is to restrict high-level, incessant noise.”
Speaking in favor of the ordinance, Elaine Geller said, “We built a house here in 2010 to live in peace, but the noise from a local camp destroys the peace.”
Representing a Buddhist Center, Sherab Posel remarked on the importance of meditative quiet for the center.

Affects neighbors
Steve McQuide, speaking for the Perch Lake Home Association, said, “The camp noise is a flagrant disregard of the neighbors.”
The noise comes from loud speakers and involves revelry, instructions, and music. It is played throughout the summer, all day long, into the evening, according to camp schedule. Letters were also submitted, for and against the ordinance, by people who could not attend the meeting.

Here a long time
Those opposing the ordinance also spoke. From the New York City main office, Jerry Misk, representing Camp Nubar, said, “The noise ordinance will affect the whole town however we all know the complaints are in regard to Camp Nubar and Camp L’Man Achai. I’ve been part of Camp Nubar’s operations for 45 years. We have a track record of making efforts to keep the noise down and working with neighbors. The ordinance contains unconstitutional language and so many subjective elements that it can’t be enforced. Moreover, I think the Town of Andes could have had the courtesy to send us a letter informing us about this public hearing.”

Defends camps
Suzanne Gladstone added, “The camps have brought viable income to the town, they are important. A few people, upset with the noise, shouldn’t affect the whole town. The ordinance would take away rights and be an added cost to the town because the law would need to be enforced.”
Ed Callahan, a neighbor near the camp, said, “I hear the noise over the loud speakers, but I am afraid of an ordinance that could in turn restrict me from target shooting, four-wheeling, snowmobiling, and so on. Can’t we get along without the imposition of a law?”
A decision on the noise ordinance was slotted to be voted on by the board at the regular meeting that day. A request from the audience asked that the board to delay its decision. Supervisor Donnelly promised to delay the decision.
After the public hearing, the regular meeting covered basic STAR registration, began a review of the telephone/cable franchise agreement, and voted on the tax assessor’s salary.
The public hearing then voiced thoughts and asked question in regard to the local law that would require all Andes residents to have permits to use the transfer station for waste. Residents are allowed free use.
“Non-residents have been using the transfer station without paying, and it is costing the town too much,” said Supervisor Donnelly. “The town has paid approximately $15,000 extra in charges this year. That is 50 to 60 percent over budget.”
Residents will pay $1 per decal to be placed on vehicles that bring waste to the transfer station. The town is budgeting for someone to monitor the vehicles.
Concerns pointed out that the restriction will increase littering. Most people were on board with a permit system, as the town had one years ago. One person suggested charging local contractors, who bring in larger quantities of construction and demolition materials, a fee.
Arnold Jones, NYS tax associate, then presented Tina Moshier, tax assessor, an Excellence in Equitability award. Jones then told the board how to register for basic STAR. “The new registration process needs to be completed by the end of the year,” said Jones. “It allows for a school property tax relief, but for those who have more than one home, only the primary home is eligible for the tax reduction.” The new registration process is designed to eliminate fraud and can be done online www.tax.ny.gov or by phone 518 457-2036.
From Margaretville Telephone and Cable (MTC), Glen Faulkner and Karen Munro clarified a few changes in the franchise agreement, renewed every 10 years. Copies of the agreement were left with the board for review before making a decision to renew. “The modifications cover public service additions,” said Faulkner.
Councilman Bud Gladstone asked, “Can MTC help us get cell service?” Faulkner emphasized the company is willing to work with servers, however it is the servers who have to be willing to invest first.”
Members of the board voted to approve the local law requiring permits to use the transfer station. The board took a vote to table the decision concerning the noise ordinance law. Councilmen, Tom Hall and Bud Gladstone voted not to delay, as the agenda had scheduled a vote on the noise ordinance, but the other three overruled.
After an executive session, the board took a vote as to whether or not the salary of the tax assessor should be lowered. Supervisor Donnelly, Council Dan Grommeck, and Martin Liddle voted to keep the salary the same. Tom Hall and Bud Gladstone were in favor of reducing the salary to match salaries paid around the county and reduce the Town of Andes 2014 budget.