On Tuesday, Apil 21, the Town of Washington Zoning board of Appeals voted unanimously to resume their consideration Robert Waters’ application for permission to renovate a house on 1.3 acres on Bontecou Road. The property lies in a 10 acre zoning district. 

The resolution would allow the current owner of the property, Jesse M. Bontecou who is currently out of town, to present his views. It would also allow Waters to further revise his plans to make them more compatible with the wishes of neighbors and members of the community. 

In March the ZBA resolved to keep the meeting open until April to give anyone in favor of Waters’s proposed plan a chance to speak. Nonetheless at the April meeting all the letters and opinions opposed Mr. Waters’s applications: the proposed house was not in keeping with the rural character of the neighborhood but more appropriate for suburbia; at 2032 square feet the proposed house was far larger than the existing 1435 footprint. 

In early 2014 the NYS Public Service Commission invited developers to submit proposal that would solve congestion in the grid serving the area in and north of New York City and bring more power from points north into our area that was thought to be in a power deficit zone.  Public meetings in Milan, Clinton and Livingston attracted crowds of concerned citizens and anxious politicians who were appalled that high voltage power lines, new pylons and wider right of ways might threaten the Hudson Valley. 

Citizens who were happily retired or in home occupations all of a sudden became experts in the arcane world of power distribution and the procedures of the PSC.

The town of Clinton held regular meetings attended by experts, public relations personnel from the power companies, engineers and lawyers from the developers and frightened citizens.  

For almost a year the controversy disappeared from the media as the PSC reconsidered and asked for new proposals.  Time for comment on those proposals ended April 22. 


On May 2 Maplebrook will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the school as well as over 30 years of their Kentucky Derby Art Show and Sale.

The opening reception will feature Tarryl Gabel, a Hudson Valley artist whose paintings “capture the way the light moves across the changing landscape.”  Other artists in the show work in a variety of mediums including pastels, watercolors, oils, photography and sculpture. Proceeds from the sale of the art will go towards the “Forging the Future” Capital Campaign that benefits Maplebrook’s fine arts program as well as campus development projects. 

The opening reception is free and open to the public and coincides with the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. Samples of traditional Kentucky Derby foods prepared by regional chefs, wine from the Millbrook Winery and, of course, mint juleps will be served. The race will be shown on several large screen televisions. The Salisbury Band will play “My Old Kentucky Home” and many other old time songs.

Residents of the East Clinton Fire District who attended Wednesday (April 15) night’s meeting of the commissioners were disappointed by the board’s slow progress in appointing a new commissioner to take the place of Donna Ruffell who had resigned, effective March 31.  Besides a display of anger from one outspoken individual, the husband of the Secretary-Treasurer, little was accomplished.  The commissioners refused to document the rate of pay of the Secretary-Treasurer whose salary had been decreased from $60,000 a year to $50,000 in January.  Residents asked that the decrease be confirmed, but the request was denied.  There are now four commissioners, two of whom are husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Bonk.  Stephanie Bonk was the chairman until January of this year. The Bonks are usually in opposition to the new chairman , Steve Forschler. As the notice of vacancy was not proper in form due to missing dates, the commissioners set a new deadline of April 30 for nominations to fill the vacancy.

Millbrook’s Ellie Savoy has received international best seller status on Amazon for her first book, Stop Dieting Start Living: 5 Foundations for Your Health to Permanently Lose Weight Without Dieting, Starvation or Suffering in Silence.

The anti-dieting book has received 36 five star reviews on Amazon and is a top selling book on Amazon. The book was recently featured in Bloomberg Business for reaching a number one International Best Seller on Amazon in the United States, Australia and Germany. 

Savoy’s book was the result of her lifestyle change to live a healthy life without the constrictions of diets. 

Amenia’s building inspector, John Fenton told TMI has submitted a letter of resignation to the Town Board as a result of a wrangle between him and Supervisor Victoria Perotti.  (See, Code Enforcement Officer Retorts under Editorial.) 

Fenton said that he is being asked to pay back $18,000 in health insurance premiums. As reported in our last issue, the dispute was over the town‘s taking on the job of clearing snow from the sidewalks in the village.  The town’s own laws say that responsibility belongs to the adjoining landowners.  Fenton had sent a letter to those landowners reminding them of their responsibility to sand and salt so the sidewalks were safe, given the amount of ice that was prevalent last winter. Perotti said that letter was unauthorized. Fenton said it was part of his job.  The town had failed to arrange for the sanding and salting, so sidewalks were covered with ice.  Villagers thought, as the town had done it in prior years, it would be done this year.  The contract for snow removal, approved by a majority of the Town Board, omitted salt and sand. 

April 15.  The most recently completed section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in the town of Copake was dedicated last Saturday, April 10.  This new 1.2 mile section will be owned by the state and is part of NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The new portion of the trail goes down from Taconic State Park to Orphan Farm Rd. around 12 miles north of Millerton.  The addition makes a total of 5 miles of trail open to the public in Columbia County off Rte. 22.   Dutchess County is working on extending the trail from Millerton to Undermountain Rd., 8 miles which will connect the two pieces. 

It only took a few months to construct and year and a half to design and permit.  A private public partnership supported the project.  The design was funded by an environmental protection fund grant from New York State. A citizens group called the Copake Hillsdale Rail Trail Alliance raised $40,000.  The construction was funded with Governor Cuomo’s New York Parks 2020 Plan.  The design cost $161,000. 

The construction of a 17-story monopole cell tower on Kent Road in South Amenia is in process.   A test that will evaluate the potential visibility, called a “balloon test,” will take place on April 24 at 9 a.m (raindate April 27).  SBA Tower LLC has posted legal notice regarding the test.  A copy of the application is available at the Amenia town clerk’s office.  The Zoning Board of Appeals is reviewing the application.


At the beginning of the Amenia Planning Board meeting on April 8, David Everett, attorney, said: 

“Tonight you will need to decide, is the application complete and are you ready for a public hearing? You should get feedback from consultants tonight and decide if you are ready to send this to a public hearing.”

After listening to comments from the consultants, the five members of the Planning Board who were present (the Chair and Bill Kroeger were absent) read and voted to approve a resolution deeming the revised application as being complete. 

The Amenia Planning Board will hold the public hearing on May 5, at 7 p.m.  The application can be viewed at the town website.  Written comments can be submitted to the planning board until May 5. 

Pine Plains Memorial Hall, owned by Jack Banning and a group of local investors, is moving ahead with a renovation plan that should please the citizens of Pine Plains and the entire northeast corner of Dutchess and nearby Columbia counties.

Banning, owner of the Pines Plains Platter and an adjacent restored house now an architect’s office, told TMI that the development plan is in response to listening to comments from citizens of what they would like to see in this old, long abandoned and neglected brick building at the center of the town. 

Recreating a laundromat that was the most recent use in the building was high on the list of preferred uses.  A laundromat has been designed by architect Doug Larson for the basement level where work is nearing completion. It is expected to open for business in late April.  Access will be via the parking lot at the rear of the building.  

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