Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 10, 2009 Issue
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Bethel eyes new subdivision law

By Dan Hust
KAUNEONGA LAKE — Town of Bethel residents are welcome to view the township’s proposed subdivision law.
The long-awaited revisions to the circa-1966 subdivision rules have been posted on the town’s website,, and a public hearing will be held on them during the next town board meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 11.
Town officials praised the results and are forwarding the law to the planning board for its review.
“We worked really hard on this,” said Councilwoman Vicky Vassmer-Simpson at this past Thursday’s town board meeting. “I think it’s a good product.”
Supervisor Dan Sturm reminded the audience that this is part of a sweeping change to town zoning and planning, as urged by the comprehensive plan.
“Thirty to forty percent of the entire process is the subdivision law,” he explained, noting that changes to the zoning law itself are next.
To help those in need
White Lake resident Allan Abramson pledged $250 to start a fund for town residents who will struggle this winter to heat their homes.
He’d like to funnel the money through the non-profit Bethel Local Development Corporation (BLDC), but officials weren’t sure if that would be legal or in keeping with the BLDC’s mission.
However, the basic concept received widespread support on Thursday, and Sturm asked Town Attorney Rob McEwan to investigate the legal ramifications.
Town won’t join lawsuit
Though town officials agreed that the developer of a planned housing complex at the old Smallwood golf course had acted insensitively, they declined to participate in neighbor Margaret Kennedy’s suit to put a temporary injunction on Robert van Zandt.
Indeed, the town can’t, said McEwan, because Kennedy has sued the town as well (though the judge has ruled against her in the first round).
Suits and countersuits are expected by the town to continue regarding van Zandt’s construction of an access road next to Kennedy’s land in Smallwood – an action which caused Bethel to revoke van Zandt’s woodlot access permit and forbid him from creating any other accesses beyond the existing three.
Grabbing the leachate
Sullivan County Paving was awarded the contract to collect and remove leachate from the town landfill.
Half of its $166,062 bid should be covered by the state, said Sturm, and will enable Bethel to ensure no leachate gets into the Mongaup River.
Sewer station site
A natural low elevation point along Route 17B in Bethel will be the site of a pumphouse for the town’s sewer extension from White Lake to Bethel Woods.
Board members unanimously agreed to the $60,000 purchase price for a 100x130-foot parcel just west of Happy Avenue.
They’re on their own
The township is declining to share costs or otherwise participate in an emergency action plan being developed by the owner of the Swan Lake Dam and the Town of Liberty.
Sturm felt it was not the town’s responsibility to do anything other than stay aware of the plan’s progress.
The dam is not located within Bethel’s boundaries, though the lake feeds into the west branch of the Mongaup River, which eventually forms the township’s eastern border.
Planning Board changes
Planning Board alternate Steve Simpson was unanimously appointed by the town board to replace Jennifer Teitelbaum, who resigned earlier this year.
David Slater will replace Simpson as the alternate. Both will serve until December 31, 2012.
Party time
The BLDC is getting a $3,000 advance from town coffers to stage a festival celebrating the town’s bicentennial next year.
The money, approved unanimously by the town board, will be repaid by December 1 of this year, said Sturm.

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