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Bethel extends moratorium for two more months

By Dan Hust
KAUNEONGA LAKE — March 4, 2008 — As expected, the Bethel Town Board voted unanimously Thursday to extend its moratorium for two months.
Applicable only to major subdivisions (five or more lots), the moratorium will now remain in force until May 7, unless the board decides to terminate it earlier.
“We feel it’s necessary to take this action,” said Councilwoman Vicky Vassmer-Simpson, due to the recent outpouring of public comment on proposed changes to the township’s zoning and subdivision laws.
So many issues were brought forth that the board decided to revisit and rework the proposed laws and resubmit them for another public hearing and eventual passage.
“Until we get it right,” added Vassmer-Simpson, “we need to extend the moratorium.”
Without the moratorium, property owners and developers could begin work on major subdivisions that would quite possibly be in conflict with the proposed laws – and those laws could not be applied retroactively.
The moratorium, said Supervisor Dan Sturm, does not affect commercial properties or minor subdivisions and “will allow for the planned, orderly growth of our town.”
Sturm also pointed out that building permit fees were up 13 percent this past January over January 2007, while $547,000 worth of construction occurred in Bethel in January, compared to $218,000 the prior January.
Sturm said such activity “indicates to me growth is still happening despite our moratorium.”
Road salt, sand in short supply
Highway Supt. Lynden Lilley distributed two letters and an article indicative of possible trouble with the supply of road salt and sand.
“I’m under the belief right now that we’re not going to have enough sand to last the rest of the winter,” he told the crowd.
Adding to the woes is the fact that Bethel’s salt supplier, J. Hughson Excavating of Jeffersonville, has been put on rationed salt delivery by Tuzze Trucking due to the limited availability of salt at the Cargill company mine.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience this might cause your town,” wrote President Jim Hughson. “It’s out of our control.”
To tide the town over temporarily, Lilley borrowed 18 truckloads of salt from the county and state, intending to return the same amount to them when the stockpile is large enough.
As for the sand, Lilley is considering cinders, which would cost $1.07/ton less than sand – though he acknowledged cinders are a target for complaints due to their messiness on streets and automobiles.
“We’ll see what we have to do,” he said.
Bethel getting energy audits
NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will be visiting Bethel soon to do an energy audit of each of the township’s five municipal buildings.
Though each building’s audit will cost $100, Sturm said that money can be recouped by purchasing equipment to operate the facilities more efficiently.
Applauding those who step up
Bethel First awarded a slew of plaques to residents, businesses and other organizations which assisted the non-profit in beautifying the township.
Honored were Daytop, WVOS/WSUL, Robert Green Chevrolet, the River Reporter, Empire Resorts, Concord Associates, Ramsay’s Funeral Homes, Bethel Senior Center, Julia Richmond, the North White Lake Fire District (recently renamed the Kauneonga Lake Fire District) and the Kauneonga Lake Engine and Hose Company.

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