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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hello, neighbor! Been in town long?

I have actually been here since 1968; originally I was from a small farming community in Herkimer County close to the Utica City line.

When I moved here in 1968, I actually thought I had moved from one small community into another small farming community. At least that is what it looked like when we built our house.

The town highway garage was at the corner of Tibbitts and Kellogg; there were no banks, office complexes or shopping center on Kellogg Road; it was all small 1,000 sq. ft. homes. Agway was where Walgreen & Dunkin Donuts is and there were farms along Oxford Road.

If you talk to some of us "old-timers", you will often hear us say, "We never had this flooding like it is now!"

Don't believe it?  According to another Observer Dispatch Opinion column dated February 16, 1979, Cooperative Response to Sauquoit Flooding, we would be right!
"Most of the flooding has occurred near the mouth of the Sauquoit Creek in the Whitestown area. Paris and New Hartford have experienced very few problems, if any."
But times change and apparently I now live in a community on the way to trying to become a city...the largest and best in Oneida County! Sorry, if that sounds like sarcasm; that's what it is meant to be!

When and how did all the flooding issues start to happen?

A Daily Press article dated February 21, 1986, Area Attracts Developers; Expansion Continues on Commercial Drive, lists all the development on Commercial Drive up to the time of the article:
"Industries struggling for survival in the Utica-Rome area and an unemployment figure that ranks among the highest in the state haven't slowed developers along New Hartford's Commercial Drive (Route 5A)."
Toward the end of the article, then Supervisor John Kazanjian is quoted as saying:
"New businesses are always welcome, but success does have it's problems"..."Our planning board is more active than our town board." "This is no longer a small bedroom community."
Then there is the Observer Dispatch article dated August 17, 1988, From Pasture to Commerce; Washington Mills has grown a lot in past 25 years.
"Officials don't expect the current development to mark the end of Washington Mills growth." "There's going to be more and more development along Oneida Street or more new apartments or housing developments," Back said. (Gerald Back, then codes enforcement officer for New Hartford)
About the same time, housing developments were starting to spring up in the southern end of town...not small homes, but 3,000 - 4,000 square foot homes. Swimming pools, tennis courts, trees being cut done...all added to the flooding issues.

Yes, we truly are no longer a bedroom community...we are a community with major flooding problems.

Even though in 1977 the town board adopted a local law to fix most if not all flooding problems by requiring developers to create or extend drainage districts to provide for maintenance of stormwater facilities in their development, the law was randomly enforced. Some developers did form drainage districts and some didn't.

Actually, didn't matter because the town board(s) and planning board(s) never used the law except I can recall one time that a district was used to pay for a stormwater study in 2005. Other than that, districts were never used to pay for flooding issues. Everyone else in town (and in the villages) "paid the piper" for uncontrolled development.

Most people don't even realize the amount of property taxes that have been collected to pay for the fixes because it is included in the town budget or bonded each year; the cost is included in your town taxes.

But soon you may very well start to see the impact of development on your tax bill. The plan is to place a separate fee or tax on each parcel for maintenance issues relating to flooding by forming drainage districts and dissolving the districts that were created by developers.

I guess the question much are you willing to pay in addition to your other property taxes to alleviate flooding issues caused by uncontrolled growth in the Town of New Hartford?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Did you happen to see this OD Opinion article about flooding in New Hartford & Whitestown???

Photo taken on Commercial Drive...June 28, 2013

"Community" Approach To Flooding Problems...
A proposed planning venture involving county government and the towns of Whitestown and New Hartford has buoyed hopes for a solution to perennial flooding problems along lower sections of Sauquoit Creek.

Under the proposal, Oneida County would help update master plans for both towns at the same time and in the process, a comprehensive land use plan for the Sauquoit Creek basin would be developed.

This is the only sensible approach to problems that plague the watershed. The entire basin must be considered as a whole because developments upstream can have a significant impact on what happens to the water downstream...

You didn't see the article?

Perhaps that's because you weren't living in the area in 1978 or you just don't remember that far back. The above was a part of an Observer Dispatch Opinion on February 6, 1978...40 years ago! My, how far we have come...NOT!

On July 6, 1977 Local Law No. 8-1977 was adopted as part of the Town of New Hartford Code. Part of that local law includes § 102-6. Formation of districts.
The owner/developer shall petition the Town Board for the creation of the following districts or extensions thereto if none are in existence for the development:
  • Sanitary Sewer District.
  • Stormwater Drainage District.
  • Water Supply District.
  • Lighting District, if necessary.
Problem is, the town board has never held developers feet to the fire. Some districts were created and never charged for flooding clean-up; maintenance; and/or purchase of property and some districts were never created because the town board never followed through on the requirements of Town Code 102 for district formation/extension.

That left town residents as well as residents of both villages paying for two bond issues and several thousand of dollars of budgeted expenses to correct flooding issues each year. Actually, town law excludes villages from paying town drainage costs, but up to this year, New Hartford included them anyway.

For instance, as part of the D.E.C. wetlands agreement with Sangertown, they were required to petition the town to create a drainage district "to assure the maintenance of drainage facilities at the site"...they never did.

The developers of Sylvan Way were required to extend their drainage district in 2005 before the town would accept their road...again, they never did. I suspect the road is maintained as a town road anyway.

And the band played on... So anxious to get more development as a means of getting more taxes, property and sales, so that the town could evolve into a major player in the county, that each town board never bothered enforcing New Hartford's own local laws which were supposedly created to "regulate persons and property for the purpose of securing the public health, safety, welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the municipality and its inhabitants".

The thinking now is if we divide the whole town outside the villages into three (3) drainage districts whereby everyone has to pay to do what developers were supposed to do all along, that will fix all or most of the flooding problems in the Town of New Hartford.

Sure it will! Just ask the town board...they are in the process of creating a new plan "for the good of the community". First though, they have to dissolve the dozen or so drainage districts that were created and never used.

Here is a pdf copy of the February 6, 1978 Observer Dispatch Opinion article.


Here is a pdf copy of Town Code 102

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cell Tower Lease in Sherrillbrook Park

To read a pdf of the entire legal notice...Click here!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Planning Board Meeting March 12, 2018

  • Approval of the draft minutes of the February 12, 2018 Planning Board meeting.
  • Public Hearing: Mr. Moshin Syed, 8960 Tibbitts Road, New Hartford, New York. Special Use Permit for a 24.852KW Solar System array installation on this property. Tax Map #339.000-2-21.11; Lot Size: approximately 11+ acres; Zoning: Low Density Residential.
  • Two-lot Minor Subdivision for Mr. Joseph Scarafile, for Sylvan Way, New Hartford, New York. Tax Map #330.018-3-9; Zoning: Low Density Residential.
  • Coughlin/Giambrone, LLC, ½ Jordan Road, New Hartford, New York. Preliminary Site Plan Review for interior renovations, building addition, new driveway, parking lot and site work. Tax Map #329.013-3-13; Zoning: C3 Commercial Professional Office.

Friday, March 9, 2018

New York State Comptroller's Audit...

of the Town of New Hartford for the period January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016; in other words during the previous administration.

Click here to read a copy of the report along with a copy of the town's response.

If only this was the only thing wrong...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March 7, 2018 New Hartford town board meeting... available below and on YouTube.

The video is of the meeting in its entirety including a couple of resolutions that were adopted after the executive session when the public portion of the meeting resumed.  The executive session was called to discuss “...the medical, financial, credit or employment history of any person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of any person or corporation...”