Persons appearing before the Grievance Board must wear a mask and have an appointment. Please be sure to have your filled out Grievance Form with you along with supporting documentation for your complaint. Appointments can be made via phone or email: 518-398-7193 ext 7 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Grievance forms can be picked up on the porch in front of the Town Hall or can be accessed through this link: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/orpts/rp524_fill_in.pdf
There are a lot of people to thank for their hard work this month, but I don’t have enough time to list everybody, so I am choosing a few: our Assessors, and the BAR, who have been handling the grievances like the pros they are; Boy Scouts Jacob Henderson and Michael Hage, their parents and leaders, for their work building raised beds for our Community Garden; Lisa and Nelson Zayas, who have been distributing food to those in need during times when the Food Pantry is not open; and Bobby Lee Couse, who has gotten our ball fields just right for the baseball, T-ball, and soccer players swarm it nearly every night.
This week we held our first Public Meeting for the Comprehensive Plan Review, and I want to also cite the hard work of our Comp Plan Committee for writing the Survey which is available online and at the Library and various spots all over town and for hosting BFJ Planning, our consultants on the project. Their commitment has been inspiring already and we have a summer of work still ahead of us. The survey period ends July 10th and in the first 10 days we received over 150 responses. One of the fun facts that came up during the meeting was that Pine Plains has about 31 more people than it did in 2010! A growth spurt! I want to remind people that we are NOT rewriting an already beautiful timely Plan; we are tweaking it to bring it up to date and deal with the challenges that have come up since it was written. If you will remember, this comes via a grant from the Greenway Grants people.
This month the Town received a legacy from someone who loved it here, Edward Kinzer. He left us $25,710.60. We can discuss what to do with it later in the meeting, but I would also love to hear from people as to what they would like to see it applied to.
The Solar Committee is almost done with their recommendations to hand to Warren, and they too have done committed excellent work on this. It’s been a real joy to be a part of this. Once we have our Law in place, we can start working on trying to attract solar power to our own landfill. If we had community solar out there, people would not have to spend money putting panels on their roofs.
The last person I want to thank this week is Eileen Ciaburri. She has achieved 95% collected taxes for the town. That is unheard-of in most towns in Dutchess County. Thank you Eileen. Bravo!
This was the last meeting Stan Hirson filmed for us as he is retiring. We are so grateful to him for all the years he dedicated himself to the Town of Pine Plains.
Tax assessment letters went out this week. Just because the market value on your house went up does not therefore mean your taxes will go up. Please, if you feel upset or worried, go talk to our assessors. They are wonderful human beings like you, and their market values have gone up too. We have the best team in the County, and I can tell you, all the other towns are envious of our assessors. They’re open Tuesdays, Thursday, Friday morning and this Saturday morning, the 18th. Don’t sit at home fretting. Go find out the answers. And Grievance Day is Tuesday May 28th from 2pm-4 and 7pm-9 at Town Hall.
The Comprehensive Plan Review Survey is almost done. Our committee has been working diligently every Tuesday to pull together questions apropos of where we are now and what we might want to consider for the future now that so many things have been accomplished since 2004. In that time, the town has secured the preservation of most of our farmland and open space. Now is the time to work on downtown. When you receive your survey—which can be emailed to you as a Survey Monkey, or can be picked up at the Library as a paper survey, once again, do not think that taxes will go up because we are dreaming big. Dream Big and allow us to seek the help and funding from other sources for what we all want. And don’t forget June 17th at 7pm at the Community Center is our first Public Meeting on it. Come meet our new planners.
The Solar Law Committee is also very close in drawing up the regulations we want to see upheld in the Tier system these things require, addressing not only the roof-mounted in-town solar arrays we passed already, but ground-mounted, agricultural, and larger-scale arrays. Whereas we are encouraging the use of solar power here, we are protecting the landscape above all else. It may be that with the advent of more and more community solar projects, our residents can tap into that source for their electricity without having to build anything on their own.
Sarah and I traveled down to Pace Law School again for a very informative conference on affordable housing. There we met, among many other great people all working on this, a man from RUPCO, builders of the Woodstock Commons, a mixed-income development for seniors, young families and artists. Here is the thing to remember about affordable housing: it is not built to bring more people to town, it is built to keep people IN town. If people can afford to stay where they want to live, we will all feel a lot richer. He did ask me if we have a central wastewater system. Everything depends on that for new businesses and new housing to come in. No small town can afford to build these things are their own. That’s what grants are for.
Finally, I want to report on the Community Center. It is going great guns over there. People are renting it for birthday parties and baby showers, there’s Line Dancing on Thursdays and yoga and Tai Chi and the Book Sale Memorial weekend. Last night there was a lecture by a young woman who has been down on the border with Mexico, who gave a report on what’s happening there. It was extraordinary. We are so lucky to have this wonderful space.