Torrey lake residents want a board representative

Loujane Johns

During the open discussion portion of the May Torrey Town Board meeting, members were asked when a new board member would be chosen to fill the vacant position.  Councilman Gerald Schichtel resigned as of March 31 because he moved from the area.

Resident Eileen Moreland said, “It has been a month without a town board member.”  She went on to say, “Fifty percent of the Town of Torrey’s income comes from ‘lake people’ and I think it is important to have a lake representative.”  Her husband Dr. John Moreland added, “We deserve representation.  Right now we have none.”

Supervisor Pat Flynn replied, “It makes sense but we need more names.”  Without mentioning a name, Moreland asked if they had not received an application from a lake property owner.  Flynn replied  that they had, but that the person was not approved by the board.  Further prodded for an answer Flynn said, “I can’t change someone’s mind.” 

Moreland then asked the board member who would not agree to the appointment to stand up and say why they would not approve of the person.  Councilman John Martini replied, “When you vote in an election, do you have to make your reasons public?” Flynn asked again for more names to be submitted.

Following Schichtel’s resignation at the March meeting, resident John Ghidiu asked the board questions about how they would make an appointment and about submitting an application.  He said at that time he would be interested. Ghidiu has been a vocal opponent of the proposed Maxim Development.  He has established a website and attends most Torrey meetings.

Other business conducted included:

• PLANNING BOARD:  Elaine Thiesmeyer, representing the planning board, asked the board to discuss three topics.  The planning board recommended the town board send  a letter of support for an Environmental Impact Study regarding a proposed ethanol plant in Seneca County. 

She explained the call for support was asking for further study to be done before the project moves ahead. She said other Seneca Lake neighbors had supported the call for further study. The Village of Dresden gave its support last week.

Martini proposed a letter of support be written. When board members did not respond, audience members gave their input.  Several said the study was needed to protect Seneca Lake. 

Yates County District II Legislator Tim Dennis was in the audience and spoke up against the letter.  He said it was a Seneca County issue and asked, “Do you want the people in Varrick and Seneca complaining about your run-off?” 

Plans for an ethanol plant to be built on the former Seneca Army Depot property have sparked concerns about the impact of run-off into Seneca Lake.

New planning board member Dave Granson quickly replied, “Yes I do!”

Flynn was also against supporting the request.  With no comment or second from the other two board members, Linda Francisco and Burge Morris; Martini’s motion died.

Theismeyer asked the board to postpone enacting a PUD (planned unit development) law until the comprehensive plan is approved.  Flynn said an ad hoc committee has been formed to deal with PUD.

On behalf of the planning board Thiesmeyer also asked about item “F” in the Code of Ethics. She asked for clarification on “having financial investment with a business coming before the board.”  “What does that mean?” she asked.  Flynn responded that someone should step down if there are financial considerations.

He said the problem has been clarified by the action taken. 

Flynn has asked Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Steve Eskildsen to step down from his seat on the board since he is part owner of land where Maxim Development is proposing a major housing development.

• HIGHWAY:  Superintendent Dick Mashewski asked for approval of road work this summer on Serenity Road to Seneca Lake and on Long Point Beach Road.  The amount of funding from the CHIPS program was raised from $41,000 to $51,000 for Torrey this year.  The cost to the town for these two roads will then be $12,000.

• WATER:  Mashewski reported he has been receiving anonymous calls saying people have been seen taking large amounts of water from the spigot behind the town barn.  Residents are allowed to fill jugs with drinking water.  The caller said one person filled two 55 gallon drums. Village Clerk Betty Daggett said there has not been any significant increase in the town’s water bill, but if that changes the board may have to investigate.

•TRUCK: Members approved the authorization for a bond not to exceed $160,000 for a 2008 International 10 wheel dump truck.

• CABLE:  Flynn said he met with Time Warner representatives about service from Anthony Road to the northern part of Torrey and for some service on State Route 54 west.  The board approved the franchise and a public hearing will be set.

• GUEST:  Flynn introduced Dennis to the audience.  Dennis said all three legislators planned to rotate attendance at Torrey, Benton and Potter meetings.