Jerusalem board talks about Branchport business

Loujane Johns

The Jerusalem Town Board discussed in some detail an amendment for Low Impact Wholesale Zoning at the August meeting. 

The item was opened for comment at a public hearing, but no action was taken on Wednesday evening.

Supervisor Daryl Jones explained the board has seen a need to permit the development of small business. The amendment would pertain to small scale non-retail business. Following questioning on the wording of “non-retail business,” by two audience members, the board changed the wording to “limited retail.”  This would include Internet sales also. 

Planning Board chairman Bob Evans said if the primary function is manufacturing, it is not unusual to sell out of an office. Evans also said the planning board had some problems with the wording, but they would approve it for now.

One audience member who seemed to have a real interest in the amendment was Lincoln Charles of New Hampshire. He expressed interest in locating a light manufacturing facility in the Branchport area.  Charles said he is interested in using an existing structure, possibly the old Branchport School.

Charles is a former area resident, who is the sole proprietor of Phoenix Non- Ferrous Technologies in Andover, N. H. 

He described his business, founded in 2004, as niche market metal casting, saying he sells technology to other people and trains others. “All the work is is sustainable with zero toxicity,” he said.

The amendment was to limit small business to not over 3,000 square feet, but Charles said he wants to put 12,000 sq. ft. in town. 

“Production other than agriculture is something you haven’t dealt with here,” he told the board. He said he wants to help them cover all areas of concern such as size and the number of employees.

All members approved a related  State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR).  Councilwoman Loretta Hopkins was absent.

In other business:

HIGHWAY: Highway Superintendent Bob Payne reported the crew has been ditching, cutting trees and working with the Flint Creek District. He asked the board to advertise for bids on gravel. In the past they have bid with Pulteney, but they want to do their own. All approved.

Four quotes were received for an outdoor woodburning stove for the highway barns. The low bid was $7250 from an Arkport dealer.

Councilman Neil Simmons said he and Jones had met with Yates County Legislative Chairman Robert Multer to discuss shared services. He asked Payne if they would want to plow some county roads this winter. Payne said it was a thought, but since they have over 100 miles of roads to plow, the most in the county, he didn’t think it would be possible.

ENGINEER:  Town Engineer Wayne Ackart reported the new South Pulteney water system has 160 hook-ups with the possibility of 200 by the end of the year.

He said the Village of Penn Yan finally has its 2006 audit done. “There will be quite a reconciliation, Jerusalem was overcharged.”  He told the board to expect raises in water and sewer.

CONCERT:  Councilman Ray Stewart said he attended a concert held in Branchport last week and was pleased to see the turnout.  He would like to see more events for the town people to get together.

PROPERTY:  Stewart said he had received several complaints about property maintenance. The assessor told him he had received complaints from four people who asked to have their assessments lowered because of their neighbors poor upkeep. Stewart said two owners have been taken to court.

WINDFARMS:  Simmons said he has received lots of e-mails on windfarms. On Sept. 3 the subcommittee will hold a meeting to look at rules and regulations. They are still gathering resources, he said.

MEETINGS:  Councilman Mike Folts asked fellow members if budget workshops could be held in the evening because it’s difficult for him to attend meetings during the day. By holding night budget meetings, members of the public could also attend, he added. Stewart said daytime meetings allow the board to discuss budget items with town employees. 

Simmons suggested the meetings could be in the early evening and said they need all the good input they can get.  After much discussion, Jones concluded by saying, “It is for the convenience of the majority.”

FARMLAND: Resident Sue Gillette asked the board for a letter of support and a resolution for an application for Agricultural Farmland Protection. She explained it is an easement of property which keeps the property on the tax roll while maintaining its farmland use. The land in trust can never be sold for development. New York State pays 75 percent and the owner pays 25 percent of the project. 

Folts said he was in the process of doing the same.  Members approved the process for both farms with Folts abstaining.

SLOPES: Fees were set for steep slopes applications. A $100 per parcel filing fee will be charged and a $500 professional service fee, which must be paid in full when the permit is issued.

JUSTICE:  The board approved the application for a grant for the Justice Court Assistance Program to be used for office equipment.

OPEN: Max Parsons asked questions about budget cuts and shared services.  Simmons said meetings are being held with several towns about electric group buys. They are waiting to hear from Reliant Energy of Texas.