MAY 29, 2018
The tenth regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lakewood, N.Y., was held Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 6:30 PM, with Mayor Cara Birrittieri presiding. Trustees present were Ellen E. Barnes, Randall G. Holcomb, Edward J. McCague and Douglas L. Schutte. Also present were Village Clerk Joseph M. Johnson, Deputy Village Treasurer Mary B. Currie, Village Attorney John I. LaMancuso and Department of Public Works Supervisor Thomas R. Pilling. Absent were Village Treasurer Andrea J. Windoft, Police Chief John R. Bentley, Fire Chief Steve Smouse and Building Inspector Jeffrey A. Swanson.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Trustee McCague, seconded by Trustee Barnes, to approve the minutes of the last regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, held May 14, 2018. Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Barnes, Holcomb, McCague, Schutte)
AUDIT OF CLAIMS
Motion by Trustee Barnes, seconded by Trustee Holcomb, that the claims as audited by the Auditing Committee of the abstract dated May 29, 2018 be approved and that the Clerk shall execute said abstracts (#50 & #51) and direct payment by the Treasurer. Trust & Agency Fund: $ 58,427.60, (Checks #4417 thru #4429), NOTE: Check #4416 was voided. General Fund: $ 50,030.35, (Checks #14789 thru #14827) Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Barnes, Holcomb, McCague, Schutte)
ANYONE TO BE HEARD
Ms. Marilyn Osborne, 21 Cherry Lane, indicated she is still having issues with the bright lighting that spills over into her back yard from the Fairmount Hills Apartment complex and isn’t very optimistic about how things are going to correct the problem. Ms. Osborne said she spoke with the property manager last Friday, who indicated that electricians are planning to shield the lights with covers, but the work is expected to take a couple of weeks.
Ms. Osborne said the Marathon gas station/convenient store at the corner of East Fairmount Ave. (Rt. 394) and Chautauqua Ave., installed covers on their exterior lighting fixtures, however they have very little impact on the glare and light spillover problem. Fortunately the exterior lights at the Marathon gas station are turned off at 10:00 PM. She the light spillover problems began when the Mexican restaurant west of Cherry Lane opened up.
Ms. Osborne said exterior lighting fixtures should be directed downward so light spillover doesn’t occur. She spoke with the owner of Fairmount Hills about the problem and he directed someone to tilt down one of the lights. Unfortunately, even tilted downward the bright lighting is still spilling over onto her property plus they create a tremendous amount of glare.
Mr. Richard Rose, 42 Gifford Ave., indicated that with the proper covers or hoods exterior lighting fixtures can be adjusted so as not to spillover onto adjacent properties.
Mayor Birrittieri indicated to Ms. Osborne the matter will be pursued with the assistance of Code Enforcement Officer Swanson.
Ms. Osborne said she is fearful that the fix will not work in her case.
Ms. Susan Lane, 188 East Terrace Ave., indicated to Mayor Birrittieri and members of the Board of Trustees that she too is having a light spillover issue with the YWCA Lakefront Lodge across the street.
She was told two weeks by Building Inspector Swanson, that he was going to send a letter to the YWCA asking them to adjust their exterior lighting fixtures. Ms. Lane said the problem was first reported to Mr. Swanson via a complaint form five months ago and nothing has been done about it yet. She said the lakefront lodge’s parking lot looks like an airport runway, while her kitchen across the street is as bright as a disco.
Mayor Birrittieri indicated to Ms. Lane that she will follow-up her complaint with Building Inspector Swanson.
Mr. Thomas Marlinski, 36 Ohio Ave., indicated the Board of Trustees needs to figure out what it is going to do to about loud music that originates from Craft Burgers & Brews and Group Ther-Happy. This past Saturday night, Group Ther-Happy had their overhead door open and he could hear music from his house up until 11:00 PM.
Mr. Marlinski said this past Saturday, Craft Burgers & Brews had a duo playing an amplified guitar and was able to clearly hear what they were singing from the middle of Ohio Ave., a distance of about 350 ft.
He said according to the local noise ordinance, that constituted a violation, but who is going to enforce it. If it is going to be officers from the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, they will need to be informed, so it can be enforced. Mr. Marlinski said the Board of Trustees takes the liberty to issue special use permits allowing alcohol to be served and music to be played so as to help businesses. But to hell with the nearby residents, who desire a quiet nighttime atmosphere.
Mayor Birrittieri said she and the Board of Trustees will see what they can do and will talk with Police Chief Bentley about this issue.
Mayor Birrittieri wished to report that the Village-wide yard & garage sales will be held Friday, June 1st and Saturday, June 2nd, between the hours of 9:00 AM &
5:00 PM and that the Village of Lakewood’s annual metal & junk pick-up will begin Monday, June 4th.
She then noted that the Thursday evening Live on the Lake concert & entertainment schedule is set for this summer and that the weekly Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market will kick-off its season Thursday, June 14th and run thru Thursday, August 30th.
Mayor Birrittieri also reported that this year the Lakewood Community Development Corporation (LCDC) is spearheading the fundraising efforts for Lakewood’s annual 4th of July Summerfest, in particular to assist in paying for the giant fireworks display.
Mayor Birrittieri then indicated that she is hopeful, with input from members of the Board of Trustees and the respective department heads, to put together a Village of Lakewood newsletter announcing upcoming activities and events such as the Live on the Lake series, the Farmers’ & Artisans’ and 4th of July Summerfest, etc. She then stressed the need for more volunteers during the 4th of July Summerfest.
Department of Public Works Supervisor Thomas R. Pilling asked Mayor Birrittieri and members of the Board of Trustees if they recall who is going to take responsibility for replacing the shrubs and plantings in Recognition Park that were removed last year at the request of those redeveloping the property and building at 103 Chautauqua Ave.
Trustee Barnes indicated that she didn’t think anything was decided at the time, however she would suggest replacing the shrubs that were removed with something that is easily maintained.
Mr. Pilling indicated that he had planned to mill and pave Chautauqua Ave., from the railroad tracks north to Terrace Ave. this summer, however one of the projects identified in the Lakewood-Busti Stormwater Engineering Study included some extensive improvements to Chautauqua Ave., between Third Street and Summit Street, utilizing permeable pavement/blocks. Any work associated with that possible project wouldn’t commence for at least two to three years. Mr. Pilling questioned whether those planned improvements to Chautauqua Ave., noted in the engineering study, would be cost effective in doing. Mr. Pilling said he is scheduled to meet with Ms. Erin Brickley, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance later this week, and will discuss the proposed project with her in more detail.
Trustee Barnes indicated that she has heard from some Chautauqua Ave. merchants, who would like to return to diagonal parking along the avenue.
Mayor Birrittieri, agreed there is a definite need for additional parking on or near Chautauqua Ave. She suggested that the Village of Lakewood needs to look at improving the parking lot behind the Village Hall, which could answer the need for additional parking. Improvements would include resurfacing, striping and some signage. She said if the area is eventually improved as a parking lot, some new rules would need to be established about its use.
Mr. Pilling said another area that could be considered for parking is the undeveloped area on Chautauqua Ave., between W. Second Street and W. First St. The property was sold to Mr. Thomas Turner and was subsequently sold to Betsy Shults.
Trustee McCague asked Mr. Pilling if he knew the tentative timetable for milling and paving Chautauqua Ave.
Mr. Pilling said he planned on milling Chautauqua Ave. in conjunction with plans by the Chautauqua County D.P.F. to mill and pave East Summit Street, (CH-110) from Chautauqua Ave. to Shadyside Ave.
That project is expected to start sometime in June.
DISCUSSION ON POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PICKLEBALL COURTS
Mayor Birrittieri said the Village of Lakewood recently received a memo/petition from the Chautauqua Pickleball members indicating one of the six pickleball courts on Linwood Ave. is unplayable and that the other five are in the need of some attention. She then asked Mr. Pilling if he would like to comment on this inquiry.
Mr. Pilling indicated that it is an expensive proposition to resurface and re-stripe the six (6) pickleball courts, however he would be happy to pressure wash the courts and try to repair a few of the substandard areas on the surface of the pickleball courts, adding we’ll do what we can.
Trustee Schutte asked Mr. Pilling if a plan could be put together to upgrade the various courts within the park system over time.
Mr. Pilling said as long as there is money appropriated each year to do the necessary court upgrades, he wouldn’t have a problem putting a plan together.
RESOLUTION #84-2018 – CONFIRM PLANNING BOARD APPOINTMENT
Motion by Trustee McCague, seconded by Trustee Schutte, to confirm Mayor Birrittieri’s appointment of Mr. Jeffrey Slater, 25 Waldemere Way, as a new member of the Lakewood Planning Board. Mr. Slater will fill the unexpired term of Ms. Kaie Smith, who stepped down from her position on the Planning Board earlier this year. Mr. Slater’s term will expire January 1, 2019.
Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Barnes, Holcomb, McCague, Schutte)
DISCUSSION: PLANNED HERBICIDE APPLICATION TO TARGETED AREAS OF CHAUT. LAKE
Discuss the planned herbicide application to targeted area of Chautauqua Lake, review the findings that were presented at the Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees held Thursday, May 24, 2018 and discuss the “reworked” permits issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Friday, May 25, 2018.
Village Attorney John I. LaMancuso indicated that it is fine if the Mayor and members of the Board of Trustees would like to express their views on the matter. However, per the SEQRA regulations, the Board of Trustees cannot make a final decision to approve or disapprove the intended action, until someone has prepared a written findings statement. Mr. LaMancuso indicated he would be happy to assist with that endeavor. To prepare the written findings statement it will be necessary for the Board of Trustees to come to a consensus to either approve or disapprove the planned herbicide application in the targeted areas of Chautauqua Lake that lie adjacent to the Village of Lakewood.
Village Attorney LaMancuso indicated the Village of Celoron has a say in what is done out from its shoreline, why wouldn’t the Village of Lakewood have a say in what happens out from its shoreline. However, it has been the Town of Busti’s posture on this question, that the Village of Lakewood shouldn’t have a say in the matter.
Trustee Barnes asked if the Board of Trustees were to approve the planned herbicide application to targeted areas adjacent to Lakewood’s shoreline, would there be an obligation for the Village of Lakewood to provide additional funding.
Village Attorney LaMancuso indicated that because the Village of Lakewood hasn’t entered into any type of agreement with the Chautauqua Lake Partnership, it wouldn’t be under any obligation to provide additional funding in connection with the planned herbicide application. Mr. LaMancuso wanted to make it clear whether the Board of Trustees chooses to approve or disapprove the planned herbicide application a written findings statement is necessary. Ideally, the Board of Trustees should approve a draft of the written findings statement and vote whether to approve or disapprove the proposed action at the same meeting, which
might have to be scheduled prior to the planned herbicide application dates of June 4th & June 5th.
Trustee McCague asked Mr. LaMancuso what are the Board of Trustees’ options this evening.
Mr. LaMancuso indicated that each member of the Board of Trustees needs to indicate their general posture on the proposed herbicide application plan and once a consensus is reached, then work can begin on drafting a written findings statement based on the input, pro or con. He then made it clear the Board of Trustees could express their views with conditions.
Trustee Barnes indicated that each member of the Board of Trustees should be heard this evening regarding the planned herbicide application plan.
Mayor Birrittieri then asked if anyone other than members of the Board of Trustees would like to express their feelings with respect to the planned herbicide application.
Mr. David Card, 38 Chautauqua Ave., said the Board of Trustees should stick with their original vote, saying no to the planned herbicide application.
Trustee Barnes indicated it is important for each member of this board to go on record saying they either approve or disapprove the planned herbicide application. She for one is in favor of limited herbicide application, because she believes people want something done to address the weed problems in Chautauqua Lake. For many, the lake is not usable and therefore she is in favor of improving the lake’s water quality.
Trustee Barnes said she has talked to boat owners and real estate agents who are anxious for something finally to be done to address the weed problem.
In talking with a NYS DEC official, Trustee Barnes was told that many lakes across New York State are treated with aquatic herbicides annually. She is therefore in favor of improving the quality of Chautauqua Lake, which has deteriorated over the past thirty years.
Changing subjects somewhat, as far as the harmful alga blooms (HAB) there isn’t a clear science as to what has caused them to proliferate the past few years. The more unusable Chautauqua Lake becomes, the more likely lakefront property owners could challenge their assessments, which would have a major financial impact for those municipalities bordering the lake.
Trustee Holcomb indicated that he agrees with everything Trustee Barnes has stated and therefore he would also be in favor of limited aquatic herbicide treatments. He said in conversations with area residents, ninety percent of them have said what is being done now to combat the weed problems isn’t working, let’s try something different, meaning let’s try herbicide application.
Trustee/Deputy Mayor McCague indicated that as a resident and Board of Trustees member he has tried to approach this issue with an open mind. He said any use of aquatic herbicides must be limited and controlled. It is his opinion that only the Village of Lakewood should be able to decide what happens off its shoreline. Trustee McCague indicated that at last Thursday’s special meeting of the Board of Trustees we heard a number of comments about the proposed herbicide applications and how they might impact Lakewood shorelines. We also heard comments about the long and arduous application process, the money spent and the rigors of chemical testing and that we as a board we should consider the NYS DEC decision on the matter. Some believed the process has been rushed and there has been a lack of transparency and that there are some inconsistencies on the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
It was also stated that the mixture of the various chemicals which make-up the different herbicides to be used is an unknown, plus the application would have no impact on the harmful alga blooms (HAB) problem. It also seems apparent there is a conflict of interest for the same consultant to advise, purchase the product and then conduct the follow-up evaluation.
We also heard from experienced fishermen state that fishing is a critical industry in Chautauqua County and that it significantly contributes to the local economy. If the fishing industry is negatively impacted by herbicides, fishermen will go elsewhere. Residents and experts in the field expressed concerns over the potential adverse effects herbicides could have an overall environment and lake ecosystems. Can we afford to take this chance? In conclusion, Trustee McCague said he is deeply concerned about the potential adverse impacts herbicide treatments could have on human health, his children and grandchildren, who swim in Chautauqua Lake. Out of town residents and tourists take for granted that Chautauqua Lake is safe to recreate in. The Board of Trustees has listened carefully to input on the subject and supported the idea of the special meeting held recently and has endeavored to be open to all comment. After listening to all the comments, it became obvious that the majority of folks are opposed to the planned herbicide application. Because the process seemed to have been rushed and because the science is inconclusive and the risk is so great, he would not be in favor of approving plans to apply herbicides to the targeted areas of Chautauqua Lake out from Village of Lakewood shorelines.
Trustee Schutte indicated that he has similar concerns as those expressed by Trustee McCague and isn’t categorically against the use of herbicides, but believes, at the very best, it is a limited solution to the problem. The chemicals in the herbicides are toxins and meant to kill living things and their impact will not be limited to the invasive Eurasian Milfoil. Trustee Schutte said it is his opinion that killing the targeted weeds with herbicides is only one aspect of dealing with improving the water quality of Chautauqua Lake. He said improvements and extension of existing sanitary sewer systems surrounding the lake need to take place so as to eliminate inadequate septic systems.
Tributaries and stormwater drainage systems that discharge into the lake need to be improved so as to reduce the flow of silt and unwanted nutrients. Trustee Schutte said another measure that should be explored is dredging targeted areas of the lake.
To him the most troubling aspect of the planned herbicide application by the Chautauqua Lake Partnership is that one chemical company has designed the whole application process and have been designated with the responsibility to do all the post herbicide application testing. Trustee Schutte said a spokesperson from the Chautauqua Lake Association, Inc., indicated at last week’s special meeting, the methodology used by this same chemical company while conducting post application water tests last summer in Bemus Bay was suspect.
In conclusion, Trustee Schutte reiterated that he isn’t categorically against the application of herbicides in Chautauqua Lake, but in the context of how is being proposed right now, he is not in favor of it.
Mayor Birrittieri indicated that it is important that all Lakewood residents know that I have gathered information on this issue from many different sources. My decision with regard to allowing the permit to go forward along the shore of Lakewood is therefore based on these findings and my own background in science in order to understand these findings.
I realize this is a divisive issue with many different people having vastly conflicting opinions. However, in my research I have tried to rely on facts and whether the scientific research upon which the permit requests were made is sufficient for Lakewood.
The permit, which has been granted to the Town of Busti, which includes the Village of Lakewood, will allow about twenty-three acres of shorefront to be treated with an aquatic pesticide called Renovate 3.
This weed killer is perhaps the safest of the three, which the CLP would like to use in various areas around the lake. It targets the leafy types of weeds and specifically will target the Eurasian Watermilfoil which is one of the worst nuisance weeds in Chautauqua Lake.
Renovate 3 is effective at killing Eurasian Watermilfoil and using this herbicide in a very targeted way is likely a great tool to use to rid some areas of this invasive weed. However, on the NYS DEC website a SEQR document reviews this specific herbicide and it also says it will kill other species as well.
ON table 4-1 entitled Woody Plants and Broadleaf Weeds Controlled by Renovate 3, the table lists a broad range of trees that this substance will impact. For example, oaks, maples, alder, willow, birch, the list goes on. Basically, anything with wide flat leaves. It also has a high impact on many common aquatic plants as well.
There is also the issue of over-all safety. The permit requires no contact, therefore no swimming for 24 hours following treatment. The NYS DEC document referred to above states in table 5-1 the toxicity of Renovate 3 when it comes to mammals (that would be us as humans and our dogs) birds and aquatic organisms. Depending on the exposure, Renovate 3 is ranked from highly toxic to practically non-toxic depending on the concentration we, wildlife or fish is exposed to.
There are six areas the NYS DEC is allowing this herbicide to be treated. There is one area to the west of the Lakewood Beach and five areas to the east. There is one that is very concerning to me since it is there in a small protected area where a summer camp attracts dozens of young children starting in just a couple of weeks. There doesn’t seem to be any language in the permit that would prohibit treatment all along this area known as S026. This treatment area also crosses the lake. This is part of the lake where we experience a tremendous amount of Blue-Green Algae, also known as Cyanobacteria.
Mayor Birrittieri continued saying, in my discussions with many people, and in a good amount of testimony presented to the NYS DEC, residents seem to believe that the lake has deteriorated. However, in many photos and in speaking to people, they seem to be confusing the weed issue with the cyanobacteria problem.
Here in Lakewood we are lucky to have a rocky bottom. We don’t have a huge weed problem like other areas of the lake. However we do have a very bad cyanobacteria problem.
The harmful algae blooms as they are called, pose a substantial health hazard to humans, dogs, and anything else that swims in or drinks the lake water. So far, I have not had any kind of definitive answer as to whether treating the weeds in Lakewood would have a neutral impact on the cyanobacteria. In fact, a good amount of the scientific explanation points to possibly increasing the cyanobacteria problem.
So, the question is, do we take the risk here in Lakewood? I just don’t think Lakewood ought to be a scientific experiment at this point.
She said she is also concerned about the announcement that the CLA will not harvest any weeds where treatment is applied. I think this is a wise decision so that those areas that are treated will have better data going forward.
For Lakewood this summer, I would like to see better weed control, so perhaps Lakewood can be a control in this experiment going forward.
Finally, perhaps some very application of Renovate 3, would be appropriate for Lakewood next season when more data is available.
As she has stated in the past, Mayor Birrittieri said she would prefer to take a cautionary stance on this matter.
Trustee Barnes wanted to make it clear that properties along the shoreline only extend to the “high water mark” and that most bodies of water are owned by the State of New York. She agrees that it is important for the Village of Lakewood to have some say as to what goes on out from its shorelines, but New York State could do what they wish, within reason without the Village of Lakewood permission. She then wanted to assure folks that any herbicide treatment applied to the lake has impact on any shoreline vegetation.
Village Attorney LaMancuso said having listened to the views of Mayor Birrittieri and each member of the Board of Trustees, the question becomes, if the Village of Lakewood disapproves the planned herbicide application, would the Town of Busti honor the village’s wishes and refrain from treating the targeted areas out from its shoreline. Mr. LaMancuso maintained that the Village of Lakewood should have a say in this matter.
Village Attorney said he will gladly prepare a draft findings statement for the Board of Trustees’ approval based on their input this evening. A final vote on the issue, to approve or disapprove the planned herbicide application out from the Village of Lakewood’s shoreline, would have to be made, preferably, before any herbicide application is carried out.
RESOLUTION #85-2018 – AUTHORIZE USE OF RICHARD O. HARTLEY PARK
Motion by Trustee Schutte, seconded by Trustee McCague, to authorize a group from the Lakewood Baptist Church to make use of Richard O. Hartley Park, Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM.
Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Barnes, Holcomb, McCague, Schutte)
RESOLUTION #86-2018 – AUTHORIZE INTERVIEWS & BATHING BEACH OPENING
Motion by Trustee Barnes, seconded by Trustee McCague, authorizing Village Clerk Joseph M. Johnson to conduct interviews for Lifeguard Positions for the upcoming summer and to plan on operating the public bathing beach at Richard O. Hartley Park, as the Village of Lakewood has the past two years.
Adopted: 4 ayes, no nays (Barnes, Holcomb, McCague, Schutte)
Motion by Trustee Barnes, seconded by Trustee Holcomb, and unanimously carried, the Board adjourned at 7:51 PM.
Joseph M. Johnson