Adirondack Town Of Franklin
Adirondack Town Of Franklin

Town of Franklin Board Meetings

Minutes Of The Public Hearing On Proposed Local Law #1 Of 2010 - Repeal Of Local Law #2 Of 2009 Creation Of Planning Board
Monday, February 8, 2010 - 6:00 Pm

Board members present:

Supervisor Arthur P. Willman, Jr.
Councilman Allen Berg
Councilman Clifford Smalley
Councilman Donald Hamm
Councilman Bradley Merrill

Others Present:

Frances Oliver, Frank & Babara Karl, Jim Hauber, Lee Ann VanCour Vince Catlin, Alleen Willman, Ed Martin, Dick Jarvis Floyd John, Don Goff, Doris Hamm, Vince Pagano, Les Parker, Kevin Ransom, Ed Baltzly, Don Symonds, Sandy Hayes, Alex & Charlotte Mitchell, Joe Rupp, Barbara Rottier Mary Reardon, David Vana, Julie Foley, Tom Foley Sean Reynolds, Nancy Bernstein, Nathan Brown - Adirondack Daily Enterprise, John Alexander - WNBZ


Supervisor Arthur P. Willman, Jr. called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, the Town Clerk called the roll and introduced guests and declared the full board was present.

2. Supv. Willman stated the purpose of the public hearing was to hear public comments on proposed Local Law #1 of 2010, repeal of Local Law #2 of 2009, creation of planning board.


FRANK KARL - spoke in favor of repealing law for planning board. In the 1990's the Land Use Task Force presented its recommendations for a comprehensive land use plan at a public hearing, and those present strongly opposed those recommendations. The public has spoken.

ED MARTIN - spoke in favor of repealing law for planning board as well as the major subdivision control law and submitted nine signed form letters from residents sharing the same opinion, as follows:

February 8, 2010
To: Town of Franklin Town Board, I'm writing this letter to let you all know I'm against the Subdivision Law that is on the Town books from last year. I'm asking that this law be rescinded as soon as possible. I'm also asking that the new appointed Planning Board be removed from their posts and the posts be removed as appointed. Thank you.
Edward T. Martin, Alleen Willman, Donald Goff, Doris Hamm, Edward Baltzly, Donald Symonds, Floyd John, Jewel Foley"

RICHARD JARVIS - Opposed to proposed Local Law #1 of 2010 and submitted his statement for inclusion in minutes, as follows:

I am against proposed local law #1 of 2010. The Top Ten Reasons Are:
10. This hearing is being held at a time when not all property owners are aware of the proposed legislation and property owners are the ones most affected by the two laws regarding major subdivisions and planning board. The results of the March 2009 survey sent to all town property owners regarding the major subdivision control law indicated a 2 to 1 ratio of support for the concepts of the major subdivision control law. The fall 2009 election was about more than these two laws.
9. The three hearing notices in the newspaper did not indicate whether and how people, who could not attend the hearing, could submit written comments for the record.
8. Proposed law should not take effect immediately until section 100 of Local Law #1 of 2009 (Major Subdivision Control Law) is amended simultaneously to state what town officials are empowered to approve or disapprove applications for major subdivisions as authorized by Town Law. The town board could be advised by the planning board.
7. The roles of the town board, the code enforcement officer and other town officers should be simultaneously defined in the major subdivision control law before repeal of the planning board to provide fair and efficient administration of the subdivision law.
6. The subdivision review process is subject to a scheduled decision process, which would likely conflict with other important town business.
5. Better decisions are derived from full participation by 5 decision makers. Conflicts of interest will likely occur, resulting in less than 5 members contributing to the discussions and decisions, less likely to achieve fair and consistent application of the law, hence likely lawsuits.
4. The town board has significant important duties and issues to address as town business. Town board members will not have or devote sufficient time for annual training; attend meetings, hearings, field trips; research technical issues; and comply with SEQRA. Is there any common ground? Under the current planning board law, the town board still has significant roles and decisions to make as described in early meetings.
3. There is n o provision for dealing with conflicts of interest with elected town board members. The current planning board law addresses conflicts of interest by providing for 2 alternates to serve.
2. The public interests of taxpayers are not protected as well with the town board approving subdivisions AND deciding whether to accept proposed public facilities like public roads.
1. Repeal of the planning board law would establish all the power to administer the subdivision law with the town board. This would lead to too much political considerations in administration, rather than the staggered terms of interested and dedicated volunteers appointed by the town board as currently established.
Richard Jarvis, Chairman, Planning Board."

JIM HAUBER - spoke in favor of proposed local law #1 of 2010 repealing law for planning board.

DON GOFF - In favor of repealing law establishing planning board. Referenced Frank Karl's comments. Planning Board law and subdivision law encourages further regulations. Both laws adopted in September 2009 when many landowners, as now, were not present. Although specifically requested, people not allowed to vote on either law. Tim Smith said recourse for public was to elect a new town board, which happened. Also expressed opposition to the major subdivision control law.

VINCE PAGANO - spoke for himself as a resident, not as a representative of the Loon Lake Homeowners Association expressed he is in favor of repealing law establishing planning board. Attended two subdivision committee meetings and thought at first law was a good idea since APA does not have jurisdiction in hamlets, and Loon Lake is a hamlet. Spoke with several attorneys who thought it better to have something in place rather than nothing. However, when Loon Lake residents asked the previous Town Board to adopt an ordinance banning jet skis on Loon Lake, but they did nothing. Does not think survey was valid. Concerned about future development in Loon Lake.

LES PARKER - Opposed to proposed Local Law #1 of 2010. There are pros and cons with subdivision law which is the source of the planning board law. Referenced his comments at previous meetings. There are things in subdivision law which are not essential. Regarding duplication of APA regulations, there are parts of town not subject to APA jurisdiction. The planning regulation recommended by the Land Use Task Force of the 1990's was basically zoning, and the subdivision control law is not zoning. However, the subdivision law goes too far. Aesthetic considerations are not necessary. Not essential to have planning board if the subdivision control law is reduced in scope. Good potential role for planning board is to create an inventory of developable land and develop a master plan for land use and density designations. Please do not rush to get rid of the Planning Board.

BARBARA ROTTIER - Spoke in opposition to proposed Local Law #1 of 2010 and submitted the following:

February 8, 2010 Art Willman, Supervisor and Town of Franklin Town Board, Vermontville, NY
Re: Proposed Local Law #1 of 2010 - Planning Board and Subdivision Law Dear Sirs:
I am a resident of the Town of Franklin and I support both the subdivision regulations and also the delegation of authority to implement the law to a Planning Board. I am against proposed local law #1 of 2010.
As you know, I work for the Adirondack Park Agency and I have expertise on the subject of APA jurisdiction. It is incorrect to state that the APA is all a town needs to review subdivision projects. The APA does not have authority to review all subdivisions. The APA only reviews larger projects (determined by the number of lots) and ones involving sub-standard sized lots.
For example, I could subdivide my property on Norman Ridge and create 9 lots, each at least 2.75 acres in size, without an Agency permit. In addition, eight new houses could be built. The lots could be located in the fields along the road, so all new driveways, houses, outbuildings and utilities would be visible from the road. If I do not have any engineering for on-site waste disposal or storm water management, my subdivision could result in significant runoff onto Norman Ridge Road, and additional erosion problems along the road. The road already gets undercut from runoff running down the road, and the Town has repaired the eroded shoulders more than once. If I don't design my subdivision well, the new on-site septic systems could be located too close to the neighbors' wells. There could be 8 new driveways coming onto Norman Ridge Road, potentially creating a significant traffic hazard. In other words, I could, without some government review in place, execute a subdivision that does not further the interests of the Town, and in fact, could cause the Town a lot of trouble and costs.
If the Town kept the subdivision law, there would be a process which the Town provides, requiring me to submit a plan for review. It gives the public a chance to comment, and the Town authority to make sure that the proposed subdivision does not leave the Town with problems which it has to correct. It gives the Town a chance to make sure the development is designed well and would enhance the character of the Town, not degrade it.
A subdivision law does not mean land cannot be subdivided. It merely allows the Town and the people in it to comment on the proposal, identify any problems with the design, and to correct them.
Once a parcel of land is divided, it almost never gets re-combined back into larger lots again. The subdivision of land is a permanent action, and the many individual actions by landowners will greatly affect the character of the Town of Franklin. Roads up steep slopes, poorly placed houses, houses placed in the views of others when they could have been placed to have a view but not block the view of others: these are things that could be avoided.
Who remembers Stickney Point? The people of the Town of Franklin objected to that subdivision because they believed it would change the character of Union Falls Reservoir, which is now just developed with modest camps. The APA decided that the subdivision met the criteria for approval under its law, and did not even grant the residents of the Town the opportunity for a hearing. The Agency does not necessarily protect what Town of Franklin residents think is important for our Town. If the Town had a subdivision law, it could have done its own review to ensure the concerns of its residents were addressed. In fact, it was the Stickney Pont project which generated the call for a subdivision law for this Town. Apparently, we have all forgotten our unhappiness with that project.
The second issue, the one on the agenda for today, relates to the Planning Board. It is customary under New York State law for a Town subdivision law to be administered by a Planning Board, appointed by the Town Board. It would be unusual for a subdivision law to be administered by the Town Board itself. I support the continuation of the Planning Board, already appointed. The people appointed do not have anything to gain. They have offered to serve the Town and have been appointed to do so. They each have some expertise to offer the Town that is relevant to the administration of the subdivision law. The Town Board will have many other responsibilities and problems to address and should, as is customary in this state, empower a Planning Board to do the job of reviewing subdivisions.
Thank you for your attention
Sincerely, Barbara Rottier"

DAVID NESTER - spoke in opposition to proposed local law #1 of 2010 and related his experience living in different municipalities, both the in Finger Lakes area and Long Island. Thought the Town needs community involvement for responsible development. He would like to see development and subdivisions but was concerned about the future. He would like Planning Board to be kept in place to help make judgments so that development can work for everyone. There is only so much land in the town, and should be developed in a responsible manner.

SEAN REYNOLDS - resident of Onchiota - spoke in opposition to proposed local law #1 of 2010 and requested reconsideration of action to dissolve Planning Board. Stated he was not talking about Wal-Mart but residential development in our neighborhoods. The Planning Board would ensure that residents have the right to participate in development decisions and would protect property values, especially with respect to views, access, etc. People reside in Town of Franklin because of the character of the community. Good planning would ensure retention of positive community identity. The reasons for dissolving the Planning Board were not supported by the facts, and may in fact expose Town to legal problems. Requested Town Board to reconsider, to evaluate law as drafted and work with the community.

NANCY BERNSTEIN - spoke in opposition to local law #1 and submitted the following written statement:

8 February 2010
To: Franklin Town Board From: Nancy Bernstein
Re: Comments for Public Hearing on Abolishing the Town of Franklin Planning Board Supervisor Willman and Town Board members,
I served on the committee to draft the Major Subdivision law passed last year and volunteered to serve on the new Planning Board. I have a fairly good understanding of the two laws and their intent. I am deeply concerned that the Town Board's current action to abolish the newly established planning board is a knee jerk reaction to change and a perceived fear that a planning board will work to prevent all development keep our town poor.
The definition of "planning" is simply to arrange beforehand. We all plan, or attempt to plan, many things in our lives. We might plan for a wedding, a family vacation, or our retirement. It is a way to take our destiny into our own hands instead of allowing fate to run rampant in our lives, or even pass us by. Planning in a community is no different. The residents in a town can have the opportunity to shape the town that they live in, and also to protect the Town from unscrupulous developers. Of course, each resident may have a different vision of how they would like to see the town change or grow, have different opinions of what is unscrupulous. This is why planning boards are made up of a diverse group of residents, with varying interests (builders, realtors, lawyers…) and change more slowly than current administrations (their terms are longer than Board members). Planning Boards are the epitome of home rule—the ability of the residents of a town to decide its own future.
Planning in a community is not a new idea. In fact, the Town of Franklin is one of the last remaining towns in New York State, let alone the Adirondack region, without either a planning board or subdivision regulations. I don't think this is something to be proud of, but foolish. I hear people saying "there's not enough development in the town of Franklin". But it only takes one badly planned subdivision to damage a community. Is that the time to start a planning board, after damage is done? Not everyone finds the development at Stickney Point bad planning, or even undesirable. But what came out of that experience was that the Town Board, nor its residents, had any voice in influencing how that development went forward. If we want to have a voice in future projects, than we have to be prepared beforehand - that is the essence of planning.
I question the reasoning and motivation of the new Town Board to rush into abolishing the new planning board, before the Town has had an opportunity to see how it would function. I urge you to reconsider your action.
Thank you for hearing me.
Nancy A. Bernstein"

DAVID VANA - spoke against abolishing the planning board. Has read both laws thoroughly. He owns ample acreage and plans to subdivide. He was raised outside Chicago, Illinois, in a town that had lots of farms and room but without a planning board. When young, he played in and bicycled for miles in farm fields, which were eventually subdivided and sold. When he returned years later, he could not recognize his boyhood home. Because that town had no land use planning or regulations, development was not well thought out. He did not want that to occur here.

THOMAS FOLEY - spoke in favor of proposed local law #1. The Subdivision Control Law and planning board law were both the subject of the November 2009 election. The town has a new administration which ran on a platform to review, revise or repeal the subdivision law. New town board is voice of the people. Planning Board was put in place by the prior administration; what the prior board did does not affect this Town Board. This Board could replace planning board with its own appointees. The voters were responsible to elect a new board. This Town Board should be allowed to do what it was elected to do. He submitted the following written statement: "February 8, 2010
To: Town of Franklin Town Board,
I'm writing this letter to let you all know I'm against the Subdivision Law that is on the Town books from last year. I'm asking that this law be rescinded as soon as possible. I'm also asking that the new appointed Planning Board be removed from their posts and the posts be removed as appointed. Thank you.
Thomas G. Foley"



Subject: subdivision law
From: Al & Eleanor Engel
Sent: January 29, 2010
Dear Art,
We would like to register our disapproval of the subdivision law currently on the Town of Franklin books. My husband and I have been involved with several small subdivisions in the Town of Franklin and in each case, we were put through the wringer by the APA. In our opinion, their tactics exceeded what was allowed in their regulations. This type of treatment is currently receiving a lot of press via the LeRoy Douglas case at Silver Lake and others who have sufficient funds to challenge the APA decisions legally.
We feel that the APA is more than enough of a monitoring agency to prevent rampant development in the Town of Franklin. The subdivision law just adds another level of bureaucracy to the mix and in our opinion could be enough to forestall development in the Town altogether which is not helpful in terms of growth.
Al and Eleanor Engel"


February 2, 2010
Supervisor Arthur Willman
Town of Franklin, P O Box 209, Vermontville, NY 12989
Dear Art:
I realize that you and the rest of the town board are considering rescinding Local Law #1, 2009, titled "Major Subdivision Control Law" and I am enclosing a copy of an article which appeared in yesterday's issue of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise by Ernest Hohmeyer. You will see by Mr. Hohmeyer's credentials that he is no ranting local who has an agenda, but a professional economist with more than 25 years of education and experience. He does not refer to any particular town or village or any specific law or regulation, but gives an honest, experienced opinion as to the future of the Adirondacks in general.
I have hi-lited four portions of this article which I feel, once again reinforce my strong opposition to the recently passed subdivision law. Just to briefly touch on what confirms my argument to rescind the law, I will mention a portion of each hi-lited area:
(1) In no way is the subdivision a ‘streamlined regulatory process."
(2) This definitely is one of the ‘numerous overlapping government and regulatory bodies'
(3) The law would certainly not encourage ‘a stable and healthy community environment that is hopefully growing'. The intent is to discourage growth and development.
(4) The law does in fact, add to the ‘myriad of local, county and regional economic entities'
Mr. Hohmeyer seems to be 100% accurate with his projection and, while the Town of Franklin alone can not solve the problem by rescinding the subdivision law, it certainly does not need to contribute to the problem by allowing it to remain on your books.
I encourage every member of your town board to read Mr. Hohmeyer's article and the five that will follow and consider the four points I have made in this letter.
Yours truly,
Sanford C. Hayes III"


From: Joel Stretch
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Mr. Willman,
My name is Joel Stretch from 224 Fletcher Farm Road. I wanted to drop a line to you with regard to the removal of the planning board. I feel there was a clear mandate expressed by the voters of Vermontville last fall to undo what the previous board put together. Don't be swayed by the vocal minority. I hope you don't mind my using your email. Thank you.


Sent Tuesday, February 02, 2010
This is an email for Supervisor Art Willman. My husband and I would like to endorse the quote below. The less regulations the better. We do have the Adirondack Park Agency, after all. The zoning law should be repealed.
‘This election was a clear statement by the people that they aren't comfortable with something of this magnitude, Willman said, but personally, I am a firm believer that we should keep government out of the people's business. I could certainly live with nothing."
By the way, we live in Vermontville on Route 3 (8234 Rt 3) but are away at present and will return in the Spring.
Sincerely, Rev. and Mrs. Durrance"


Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Subject: Subdivision Planning Board
I am in favor of discontinuing or abolishing the Subdivision Planning Board in the Town of Franklin.
Ken Simpson, 844 Cold Brook Road, Bloomingdale, NY 12913"


Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010
Subject: Repeal of Land Use and Subdivision Laws
Dear Mr. Willman,
Please accept this letter as our support for the Board's decision to repeal the Major Subdivision Control Law and to abolish the Zoning Board initiative, both of which were enacted in 2009 by the previous Town of Franklin Town Board.
Bryon and Amy Tuthill"


86 Norman Ridge Road, Vermontville, NY 12989 February 7, 2010 Town of Franklin Town Board, P O Box 209, Vermontville, NY 12989 Dear Town of Franklin Board Members:
We are against repealing Local Law 2 of 2009. We support the existence of the Town of Franklin Planning Board and the Major Subdivision Law, which the planning board will administer when appropriate. We believe good planning, including land use and development planning, is and must be an essential part of any community's responsibilities and duties to its citizens. We support the local subdivision law as a supplement to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) laws and regulations which provides for a stronger Town voice with regard to certain types of projects reviewed by the APA and provides for Town review of some projects which would otherwise receive no review at all.
The existence of the Planning Board is essential as the Town of Franklin looks to the future and must evaluate


Sent Sunday, February 07, 2010 Subject: Opposed to Planning Board February 7, 2010 Dear Mr. Willman:
I want to be one of the many Franklin residents making you aware of my opinion of being totally opposed to any planning board in the Town of Franklin. I have lived here and been a tax payer for most of my life and I see no reason to have a planning board or subdivision laws for any future land restrictions. Over the course of my 84 years of life here in Vermontville, I have seen very few developments that have been shocking or a terrible th[r]eat to mankind. If you or anyone else needs to contact me to personally discuss this matter, I live at 7967 State Route 3 Vermontville and my phone number is 891-[ ].
Thank you, Marion Hamm"


85 Alder Brook Park Rd., Loon Lake, NY 12989 February 8, 2010 Town of Franklin Town Board, Vermontville, NY 12989 To the Board:
I am writing in favor of the Franklin Planning Board and the Major Subdivision Control Law. This effort to help relay positive growth in the Town is a good thing for the future of the town.
This law and the Planning Board do not stop subdivisions; it only concerns subdivisions of five or more lots. I've heard no good reasons for stopping the Planning Board from doing its job
At the very least, aren't there issues that do harm the town which need attention now? I'm in favor of dealing with the issues that need dealing with.
Ralph Etienne"


February 8, 2010 Town Supervisor Art Willman, Town of Franklin
The undersigned would like to express their opinion against the Town of Franklin Subdivision Law and the Town of Franklin Planning Board.
We feel that the Subdivision Law and the Planning Board should be abolished.
Norman VanCour
Lee Ann Van Cour
Shirley Chesebrough
89 Norman Ridge Road, Vermontville, NY 12989 518-891-[ ]"


Mark Kurtz, 394 Fletcher Farm Road, Bloomingdale, NY 12913 February 8, 2010
To: The Franklin Town Board
Re: Eliminating the Franklin Planning Board
I am asking once again that the Town Board take the time, before making any final decisions regarding the Franklin Planning Board and new Subdivision Regulation Law, to meet with members of the Franklin Citizens Advisory Committee to review the law, thereby bring a better understanding of what the regulations entail and the Planning Board's role.
I do not have a good sense, based on listening to this board's comments, that there is a thorough understanding of this law and the Planning Board's role. I would encourage you to take the time to truly understand this law and Planning Board's role before making a hasty decision.
Thank you for your consideration
Mark Kurtz, resident, Town of Franklin"

Sent: Feb. 8, 2010

Greetings to the Town Board Members and residents of the Town of Franklin:
Here in the Town of Franklin three newly-elected officials are about to fulfill their promises to those who elected them: Rescind the 2009 Subdivision Law. Oh, sure, they had two other "R" words, but it was the one that means "kill the law" that they were interested in.
More fascinating is that key players in this law-killing are also some of the bigger landowners in the town. I wonder why they would want to do such a thing. These same people made a lot of seemingly psychic predictions about how terrible the future would look with this Law in place. Please allow me to make my own dire prediction: The joke will be on them when they eventually slice up their properties and can't sell them because no one in their right minds, oh, ten years down the road, will buy in a town that doesn't have a Subdivision Law in place -- thus is a town that they cannot trust, and therefore they will have no desire to live in.
But that's me making a prediction.
In the meantime, the Town of Franklin once again becomes the laughingstock of the region. Let me tell my fellow townsfolk that there are people in places like Placid, Saranac and Tupper Lake who are shaking their heads in disbelief. They are looking at us like we are children in a puddle of gasoline, playing with matches
And we are.
So, go ahead, gentlemen of the Franklin Town Board, go right ahead and have it your way. We all learn in our own ways -- unfortunately we will ALL get to learn the hard way from what you're about to do -- playing with matches -- while the rest of the area looks on in horror.
Bruce Young
751 Cold Brook Road, Vermontville, 12989"


53 Norman Ridge Road, Vermontville, NY 12989
February 8, 2010
Town of Franklin Town Board...
Re: Comments opposing Local Law #1 of 2010
Dear Supervisor Art Willman and Councilmen Cliff Smalley, Allen Berg, Brad Merrill and Don Hamm:
Thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns about repealing Local Law #2 of 2009, the law that created the Town of Franklin Planning Board, the independent administrating body of the Major Subdivision Control Law.
Last fall, I enthusiastically applied for a position on the newly approved Planning Board. I did this because of my relevant background and interest in land-use methods that allow for development while protecting natural resources. The new subdivision control law, designed by Town residents, impressed me and gave me a good feeling that this Town cared about its future development and character, and I wanted to be part of that process. I had and have no hidden agenda. I am new to this Town and I wanted to become involved using the skills and education that I have. Last Dec., I was proud to accept the 2-yr. appointment to the Planning Board with the other caring and knowledgeable residents who joined me there. Now, with the actions your Board has taken, I am deeply concerned about the leadership in Franklin.
Also last fall, I learned of the distain and baseless criticism among some of the more vocal residents in this Town toward the subdivision law and the creation of a planning board. I wondered what are they afraid of? Not having the reckless freedom to develop their properties? Now, three of you are sitting in positions of power on the Town Board and salivating over the chance to dissolve the Planning Board and possibly repeal or significantly gut the subdivision law, without even understanding the true benefits they could have for Franklin and its residents; a great disservice to everyone.
I strongly oppose Local Law #1 of 2010 that repeals Local Law #2 of 2009. No one knows when the next subdivision project will be proposed within this beautiful town, but there will be more coming down the pike. I encourage all of Franklin's residents to take an interest in how this Town plans for its future, and hold this Board accountable for its actions.
Ignorant men don't know what good they hold in their hands until they've flung it away. (Sophocles, Greek poet).
Sincerely, Jill Reymore, Franklin Planning Board Member"


Sent: Mon., February 8, 2010
"Please convey to the Board that I am against proposed Local Law #1 of 2010.
The survey conducted last year clearly indicated the desire to support subdivision control by a margin of 2 to 1. Your desire to repeal the Law and the planning Board as quickly as possible without discussions with the 2009 appointed Planning Board members to clearly indicate your specific concerns is troubling at best. It seems that time should be made to have this meeting in order to clear the air as to why the new Board members are so vehemently opposed to this law. Exactly how is this Law going to impact the majority of the residents in the Town of Franklin?
Walt Kretser"


Supervisor Willman thanked everyone for their interest and comments; and there being no further business to conduct, he requested a motion to adjourn at 7:43 PM.

(D.Hamm-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

Respectfully submitted, Sandra J. Oliver, Town Clerk

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