By Dan Hust
WHITE LAKE A multi-township public hearing on a proposed law to address heavy truck use of town roads is coming to the Sullivan West High School on June 30.
Bethel officials approved the idea at the town board’s meeting Wednesday.
The town is one of eight involved in the Multi-Municipal Task Force, which has labored for two years to create an equitable and legal way of regulating truck traffic that can easily damage town roads.
The task force came about because of the potential advance of the gas drilling industry, though the proposed road use law is designed to encompass any heavy trucking.
Bethel Councilwoman Denise Frangipane said a mathematical formula “based on the type of traffic, type of vehicles, weight of vehicles and number of trips” will be utilized.
“It’s an insurance policy, no matter what happens,” Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm explained.
Each of the involved townships has paid between $8,000 and $12,000 to Delta Engineers & Architects and the law firm of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna to draft the law and its required generic environmental impact statement (GEIS), and each town board must approve the documents in order to hold the public hearing.
Bethel’s town board unanimously gave its assent on Wednesday and invited everyone to attend the June 30 public hearing, set for 7 p.m. at the SW High School in Lake Huntington, where the law will be explained in detail.
“It’s a great effort on a multimunicipal level,” observed Sturm, “... unique in the whole state.”
The proposed law would only apply to the involved townships and the roads they maintain not county or state routes.
In addition to Bethel, the towns of Lumberland, Highland, Tusten, Cochecton, Delaware, Callicoon and Rockland comprise the task force.
Each town hall has a copy of the documentation, and Bethel Clerk Rita Sheehan has made it available online at www.town.bethel.ny.us (click on “Website Directory,” then “Reports, Maps, Plans, Laws & General Info,” then on “Draft Generic Impact Statement Road Preservation Law”).
“I’m really glad our weekend with Phish turned out as good as it did,” Councilwoman Vicky Vassmer-Simpson related later in Wednesday’s town board meeting.
“I think the people of Bethel stepped up,” added Frangipane. “... So many people complimented the community.”
The town and Bethel Woods’ preplanning efforts worked, remarked Councilman Bob Blais.
“Tuesday morning, we were still here, and everything was fine,” he noted.
Councilman Dick Crumley credited the police and town employees with ensuring the Memorial Day weekend went smoothly.
“I think they did an excellent job,” he observed, noting that Phishgoers “were the nicest, politest young people I’ve encountered in many, many years.”
That was quite the compliment, considering Crumley had recently unhappily recalled spending many of the days after 1969’s Woodstock concert cleaning up all the trash.
But fields of garbage even indiscriminate littering were nonexistent for the Phish concerts, said several residents.
So Crumley went one unexpected step further.
“As far as I’m concerned,” he told his board colleagues, “they’re welcome back anytime.”