A sitting-room-only-on-the-floor crowd Monday, June 24, at the Cooperstown Village Board’s monthly meeting had a point: Why put an apartment house in the middle of one of the village’s finest single-family-home neighborhoods?
There it is. That said, who doesn’t have some mixed feelings, given that the developer, Josh Edmonds, intends to build a complex that is supremely energy efficient, as is his new home at 45 Delaware St., and to price it so young families with incomes in the $54,000 range can afford it?
Nonetheless, don’t village trustees have a stewardship responsibility: to preserve Cooperstown as it is known and loved? Do they have to destroy the village to save it?
With some emotion, Sherrie Kingsley, co-proprietor of the Inn at Cooperstown with her husband Marc, read a letter he co-signed that contained a chilling conclusion: Concerned about “our quality of life as well as the value of our properties,” the couple had met that morning with Altonview Architects to discuss how they might convert two houses they own, 12 Chestnut and 180 Main, into apartments if necessary.
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In a couple of weeks, we won’t remember that Cooperstown’s Main Street is a ghost town from Columbus Day to Memorial Day. The 500,000 visitors will begin arriving in earnest with Dreams Parks’ June 1 opening.
By the time we again become Coopers(ghost)town, the opportunity will have been lost.
The opportunity, of course, is 100 Main St., a gap in the village’s set of most perfect teeth since CVS moved to the southern edge of the village in November 2017 –yes, it’s almost been two years.
‘It’s been my longest job – at the lowest pay,” former Mobil Oil executive vice president Lou Allstadt told his colleagues Monday, Jan. 28, in resigning from the Village Board.
Resigning, but it doesn’t mean he’s exactly retiring.
COOPERSTOWN – A sewage trunk line running near Council Rock leaked its contents into the Susquehanna River in recent days, Public Works Superintendent Mitch Hotaling told the Village Board last evening.
While the leak could be smelled by neighbors, village crews were able to fix it in three hours, Hotaling said.
COOPERSTOWN – Fueled by what they declared was a misunderstanding of their intentions, the village trustees acted promptly and unanimously this evening to bring back a bigger, better flagpole to downtown Cooperstown’s main intersection as quickly as possible.
The Village Board OK’d three decisions proposed by Streets Committee chair Cindy Falk at its September meeting.
• One, to spend up to $2,900 for a 50-foot flagpole to replace the 35-foot one taken down last week to make way for the $1.2 million Pioneer Street reconstruction, causing some public consternation. The pole will be aluminum; iron ones are subject to rust.
At Issue: Year ‘Round Housing Vs. Dreams Park Rentals
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Faced with a “rash of applications” from homeowners seeking to rent to Dreams Park families, the Village Board will consider a nine-month moratorium on such approvals when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Village Hall.
“We’ll have to discuss it. We want to discuss it,” said Mayor Jeff Katz, interviewed yesterday. The trustees have long tried to maintain a balance between permanent housing and tourist accommodations, he said, adding, “the residential quality of the village should be preeminent.”
Katz was commenting on a controversy that broke into the open April 7 when three applications for tourist accommodations were debated by the village Zoning Board of Appeals, then approved: For 20 Glen Ave. (Janice Eichler), 3 Westridge Road (Richard Abbate) and 130 Chestnut St. (William Dystra).
COOPERSTOWN – Parking regulations adopted by the Village Board last month put private docks at a competitive disadvantage to the public docks.
Alex Zoeller, a member of the family that owns docks at the foot of Fair Street, raised that contention at this evening’s Village Board meeting, objecting to a trustees’ decision last month allowing all-day parking on Fish Road, but reserving it for the cars of people who have their boats inspected before they launch.
COOPERSTOWN – At the request of the village trustees, Cooperstown Chamber Executive Director Matt Hazzard is alerting his membership to attend upcoming meetings to express their views on four issues: paid parking changes, snow emergencies, trolley stops and flood-damage prevention.
Two public hearings on related laws are planned, at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, and 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, and “the public is strongly encouraged to attend and share their points of view,” said Hazzard.
Hazzard provided these details on the proposed laws:
What began as a petition drive to divert tour buses from River and Lake streets has grown into an effort to ban not only heavy buses but heavy trucks from the “village core.”
The scope widened over the course of collecting 57 signatures, Chip Northrup, River Street, told the Village Board at its July meeting on Monday the 28th. “The village has the opportunity, for the first time, to address this issue more comprehensively,” he said.
He suggested that the village ban the big buses and big trucks, with the exception of school buses, ambulances and trucks making local deliveries, and that tourists be dropped off at the new Blue Lot south of town and take the trolleys or shuttle buses into the village center. Speaking in support of Northrup, neighbor Roger MacMillan, Main Street, pointed out that similar systems are in place on Martha’s Vineyard and Williamsburg.
After some discussion, the Village Board asked Trustee Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, who chairs the Police Committee, to form a task force to study the matter. It will include Police Chief Michael Covert, but also representatives of the Baseball Hall of Fame and perhaps Cooperstown Dreams Park and the tourist industry, said Mayor Jeff Katz.
“From where I sit right now,” Katz said in a follow-up interview, “we recognize the neighbors’ concerns, but to do a spur-of-the-moment rerouting without understanding the ramifications does not seem like a prudent way to go.”
At the meeting, neighbor Jim Howarth, Lake Street, listed three concerns: Damage to infrastructure, congestion and safety. “People are being endangered getting in and out of their cars,” he said. Neighbor and mother of five Jocelyn Wittstein, Fair Street, added, “There are a lot of children in this neighborhood. It’s disheartening to see buses in this community.”
For a few years now, tour buses, including those from Dreams Park, are dropping off riders on Main Street in front of the Hall of Fame, continuing to the stop sign at River, turning left onto that narrow street, turning left again onto narrow Lake Street, then turning left onto Chestnut and heading out of town on Route 28.
When the issue was first raised a couple of years ago, it was suggested that buses continue east on Main Street, cross the Susquehanna, take a right on Estli Avenue, merge onto Route 33 south and turn right on Route 11C to return to Route 28. The streets are wider and that route passes fewer houses, most of which are set back from the road.
At the time, Katz said, the 11C bridge was determined to be too old to accommodate all that heavy traffic. However, it was struck by a truck a year ago April and has been rebuilt, so things have changed. “Ellen’s committee will look at solutions and report to the board,” the mayor said. “The board will then likely make a proposal and schedule a public hearing.”
Meanwhile, in a follow-up e-mail, Northrup said the petition drive will continue to seek more signators “to reduce/ remove highway buses from Village residential streets. If the Dreams Park think they can continue to run highway buses with impunity over the village’s residential streets, they will do so. We cannot let that continue.”