February 11, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Village Board met Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 6:30 PM at the Village offices.


Present:            John Spaeth, Mayor

Steve Collins, Trustee

Sue Eckert, Trustee

John Markiewicz, Trustee

Sue Sedon, Trustee




Wendy Reu, Village Clerk

Nathanial Matthews, Treasurer


Mayor Spaeth called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


Motion to approve the minutes of the January 20, 2020 Workshop Meeting was made by Trustee Eckert, seconded by Trustee Collins, and passed by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0


Motion to approve the minutes of the January 21, 2020 Regular Meeting was made by Trustee Collins, seconded by Trustee Markiewicz, and passed by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0


PUBLIC COMMENTS – Mike Feldman addressed the Board regarding the recently defeated zoning proposal. He stated he was curious as to why it got defeated by a 4-1 vote. He stated he felt the Committee who drafted the document, and the Village Board, addressed a majority the issues residents had with the document. He stated there had been many public meetings and amendments made as a result. He asked what the plans were moving forward.


Bob Ellsworth addressed he Board regarding the proposed cell tower buyout. He felt the offer made by the company doesn’t suggest that the company plans on tearing it down any time soon and leaving the area. He stated he would hate to see potential revenue loss if the Board goes with the $ 625,000.00 offer.


At this point in the meeting, Mayor Spaeth stated he would hold the Public Session open to give an update on the zoning process which will answer some of the questions presented.


Mayor Spaeth informed the Public present that the Board has had two workshops on the proposed zoning package since it was defeated in December. He stated the workshops were held to help the Board determine the path moving forward. He stated the Board has three options before them: stick with the old zoning, revote on the new zoning, or revisit the zoning amendment for potential changes between old versus new. Mayor Spaeth stated that the Board voted to start with the new zoning and make changes as they felt necessary. He stated at the second workshop, the Board members brought forth questions on items in the new zoning that they wanted discussed. Mayor Spaeth stated that Scott Henze from the Fulton County Planning Department was on hand to answer the Board’s questions. He stated that Scott had been active on the committee that developed the zoning document, so he was well versed in it. Mayor Spaeth stated the Board spent several hours discussing the document in great depth and they did make a few minor changes, which Mr. Henze stated were not substantive changes. Mayor Spaeth reported the minor changes as follows:

MU District on Zoning Map – expanded to include the municipal property at 412 S. Main Street. It is understood that a municipality doesn’t have to adhere to its own zoning, but the Board felt they needed to conform to the district.

Agriculture and Livestock 170-21– Increased the number of chickens to 18, made minor verbiage changes to housing of chickens, and removed section 8 entirely.

Home Based Business 170-27 – Minor home bases business, Schedule A, referencing non-residential studios- added that artists can make incidental sales.


Mayor Spaeth reported to the public present that the Board spent two and a half hours going over the zoning document, section by section at the most recent workshop. He indicated that that they have held a number of meetings with the public and that a number of changes were made based on public input. Trustee Sedon agreed and stated we had quite a few meetings and she felt all of the concerns the public brought forward were addressed and changed.


Mike Feldman stated he felt the Board should adopt the zoning package.


Ken Adamczyk, speaking as a new Village resident and as an Economic Development Specialist with CRG, stated that the old zoning does not match the Village’s vision detailed in the Comprehensive Plan and does not lend itself to fundable grant options. He stated that people are looking to invest in the community and the current zoning doesn’t support that. He urged for the passing of the new zoning.


Bob Ellsworth asked what the plan was to move forward from here. Mayor Spaeth indicated that was what the Board would be discussing next and with that, closed the Public Session at 7:20 p.m.


Mayor Spaeth reported the Board has two options moving forward with the zoning. He stated the Board could take into consideration everything we heard here tonight, move forward with another Public Hearing and then a vote, but he questioned what, if any, additional information we would be heard at a second Public Hearing, He continued by stating that Board can take another vote tonight, without another Public Hearing as one has already been held and the minor changes made were not considered substantive.


Trustee Eckert stated she agreed that there has been a lot of discussion and public input to this point. She stated that Scott Henze did a great job on addressing concerns that were brought out by the public sessions and the questions from Board members. She stated the reason the document is so large is that a great deal of it pertains to planned development, along with suggestions for new construction.


Trustee Sedon stated the Board went through the entire document, section by section. She stated there are State mandated items in the document that cannot be removed.


Mayor Spaeth stated that the PDD section alone is 30 pages, containing sections that are mandated by State law which currently do not exist in our current zoning.


Trustee Eckert stated the Solar section is a new addition to zoning as that technology was not on the horizon when the original zoning was drafted.


Mayor Spaeth stated that the new zoning provides more precise definitions to remove ambiguity. He stated as an example the word Studio. There was no mention of the word in the old zoning. By nature of zoning, if an item is not specifically called out, it is not allowed.


Mayor Spaeth asked if the Board felt they needed to post pone and schedule a new Public Hearing or make a decision based on the input received tonight.


Bob Ellsworth stated that it is in the Board’s best interest to have the Zoning subject start the next meeting.


Mayor Spaeth stated he understood Bob’s feelings but quite honestly, in his opinion, the Board has heard from the public eight times since the document was released. He stated he didn’t know what else could come out of another public session that the Board would want to change. Trustee Sedon agreed, stated they have made many changes based on the public meetings that have been held.


Mayor Spaeth reviewed the details and procedures for adopting Zoning with the Board. He stated that by law, a Public Hearing must be held, which the Board did. He stated that unless substantive changes are made, the Board is not required to conduct another Public Hearing. He stated that the Board has 62 days from the time of the Public Hearing to hold another vote.


Trustee Sedon stated that we have to ask ourselves if we think we would hear any new information at a new Public Hearing. She stated we’ve heard and addressed their concerns at multiple meetings prior to tonight’s meeting.


Mayor Spaeth stated we as a Board are charged with doing our due diligence, which he feels we have. He stated the Board reviewed the public input gathered from multiple meetings and made changes that were driven by public input. He stated that the Board has gone through the draft, item by item, at the most recent workshop. Mayor Spaeth stated that personally, he didn’t see where we, as a Board, are going to learn anything new that will change the document at this point.


Trustee Eckert asked about the perception if we move forward with a vote tonight. Trustee Collins stated that we have had multiple meetings. Barb Spaeth, a member of the Commission that worked drafting the original zoning document stated that they had multiple meetings and public input sessions as well. Trustee Collins stated that many of the meetings were not well attended. He questioned how much input we need. He stated that he heard positive input tonight.


Mike Feldman asked how much money is the Village going to have to to spend to have another Public Hearing. Trustee Sedon asked if there were costs to conducting a Public Hearing. Mayor Spaeth stated there are costs involved, including legal advertising and Clerk time spent preparing for the hearing.


Trustee Collins said whether we vote tonight or in 30 days, the document will be accepted. He stated that there is an amendment process, which is not complex, and if we find a segment of the Zoning that we want to modify, we can approach it at that time.


Mayor Spaeth stated that we need to remind ourselves that we are in the position of adopting a document of this type because the Village waited 25 years to update the zoning. He stated that a zoning document is a living document and should be worked on constantly. He stated the whole world has changed and our current zoning does not match it.


After brief discussion, Trustee Sedon made a motion to move forward with a vote tonight on the Zoning package. The motion was seconded by Trustee Eckert and carried by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Mayor Spaeth, Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           Trustee Markiewicz


Mayor Spaeth read Resolution # 2 of 2020, in its entirety, for the Board as follows:






            WHEREAS, the Zoning Committee designated by the Village Board recently completed work on a proposed new. Zoning and Subdivision Law for the Village and has forwarded said proposed law to the Village Board, and


WHEREAS, the Village Board has introduced said proposed law as Local Law No.1 of 2020, and


WHEREAS, Section 617.4(b)(1) of NYS SEQR Regulations states that the proposed adoption of comprehensive zoning regulations shall be considered a Type 1 Action under SEQR, and


WHEREAS, the Village of Northville Village Board has completed a Part 1 Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF), and


WHEREAS, the FEAF identified the Involved Agencies for this proposed action to be:


  • Village of Northville Village Board
  • NYS Department of Environmental ConservationWHEREAS, the FEAF identified the Interested Agencies for this proposed action to be:
  • Town of Northampton Town Board
  • Hudson River-Black River Regulating District
  • NYS Adirondack Park Agency             ___Nays___Absent
  • ___Abstentions
  • _5__Ayes – Mayor Spaeth, Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon
  • The Resolution was approved by the following vote:
  • Trustee Collins made a motion for adoption of Resolution #2 or 2020. Trustee Sedon seconded the motion.
  • RESOLVED, that certified copies of this resolution be forwarded to the Village Mayor, Village Clerk, Village Attorney, Village Code Enforcement Office, Fulton County Planning Department and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • RESOLVED, that the Village Board hereby issues a Negative Declaration and authorizes the Negative Declaration be filed in accordance with the SEQR Regulations, and be it further
  • RESOLVED, that after reviewing the Part I and II of the FEAF, input received from Involved Agencies and public input, the Village Board has determined that the adoption of the proposed Zoning and Subdivision Law will not create any significant environmental impacts, and be it further
  • RESOLVED, that the Village Board hereby designates itself as Lead Agency for the purposes of conducting a coordinated review of the proposed action, and be it further
  • WHEREAS, the Village Board has completed and reviewed Part 2 of the FEAF,
  • WHEREAS, a non-response indicates consent, and
  • WHEREAS, the Village has not received a written response from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation advising that they consent to the Village Board serving as Lead Agency, and
  • WHEREAS, the Village has sent copies of the Part I FEAF and Draft Zoning and Subdivision Law to all Involved Agencies informing them of the Village Board’s desire to serve as the Lead Agency and asked all Involved Agencies to submit comments back to the Village by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 13, 2019 on whether they consent to the Village Board serving as Lead Agency and whether the Involved Agencies have any comments on whether the proposed action may create any significant impacts on the environment, and
  • WHEREAS, the Village Board has proposed itself as the Lead Agency for the purposes of conducting a Coordinated SEQR review of the proposed project, and


Trustee Eckert made a motion to approve Local Law #1 of 2020 – A Local Law entitled “The Village of Northville Zoning and Subdivision Law”. The Local Law is intended to repeal and completely replace the present Zoning Law contained in Chapter 170 of the Village Code and the present Zoning Map. The motion was seconded by Trustee Sedon and carried by voice vote as follows:


4 – Ayes – Mayor Spaeth, Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Sedon

1 – Nays – Trustee Markiewicz





Police – No report.


Streets Highway Superintendent Dan Reidell’s report was read. Mayor Spaeth reported that many residents are failing to clear their sidewalks after snowstorms. Trustee Sedon stated that the recent Friday storm was bad, and it would be hard for elderly residents to remove that quantity and type of snow. Mayor Spaeth stated there are two ways to look at it, if you own the property, you take care of it or if you can’t do it yourself, you hire someone to do it. Trustee Sedon stated that the sidewalk in front of the Town owned cemetery on South Main Street is very seldom cleared. She asked how we could force residents to clear their sidewalks if the Town doesn’t clear theirs. Mayor Spaeth stated we needed to look at enforcement of the code and sidewalk maintenance is addressed there. He stated we could get a contract with someone to clear sidewalks and charge that amount to the resident. Trustee Collins asked what seasonal residents would do. Mayor Spaeth stated we need to have more discussion on this subject in the spring to develop a plan.


Mayor Spaeth refreshed the Board on the recent discussion regarding certain residents of Hunter Heights wanting the Village to take over the road. He stated that there was a recent 911 call for assistance on the lower portion of the road after the recent snowstorm. He stated that as the Board may recall, the Village can plow a private road in the event of an emergency. Trustee Collins stated that the call came in that an elderly person and a handicapped person were unable to get out of their residence. He stated that EMT and FD responded. Trustee Collins stated that Fire Chief Jensen called Dan to plow despite not having any information on the nature of the call. Trustee Collins stated that FCSD are directed to respond to any calls at the lower level of Hunter Heights. He stated that when the SD arrived, it was determined that no emergency existed. Mayor Spaeth stated it appeared the situation was created by the homeowner. He indicated we will have to keep an eye on the situation and if additional calls go out, with timing around storms, we may have to consider charging the individual if the Village DPW is contacted due to false alarms.


Water – It was reported that usage decreased from 3,406,000 gallons in January 2018 to 2,077,000 this year. Water testing and operations were normal.


Mayor Spaeth reported that Water Supervisor Roosa has completed the RFP for the water meter installation project. He explained the process to the Board. He stated that the larger the number of meters to be replaced under contract, the lower the cost would be. He stated that once we go under contract, all meters should be put in via contract, not by Darryl. Once we accept a bid, the Village should not be replacing any meters, unless one breaks and the contract hasn’t started yet. He stated that in the event of the Village having to install a new radio read meter, the customer account will be charged the fee as determined by the contract.


Trustee Markiewicz made a motion to accept the RFP and to sent it out for bids for water meter replacement installation. The motion was seconded by Trustee Eckert and carried by voice vote as follows:


Mayor Spaeth stated that now that we were going out for contract for the water meter replacements, we would need to order the remainder of the radio read meters that were needed. Treasurer Matthews stated he would prepare a resolution for next month’s meeting as it would have to be handled under permissive referendum.


Mayor Spaeth reported that a water customer with the account # 01-000320 was requesting relief from their large water bill, past due balance, and penalties from 2018. Mayor Spaeth explained the process involved with water billing. It was noted that this individual was billed during the normal billing cycles but chose to ignore the bills. When the meter was read and a large volume of water was registered, the Clerk, as she does with all large volume recordings, contacted Darryl to verify the information on the meter and assess the situation. For this particular account, Darryl verified meter number and reading and indicated that he had previously replaced the meter in the summer of 2018 due to the frost plate being blown out. The Clerk did contact the customer and instructed her to send a letter to the Board requesting assistance paying off the high water bill. It was noted that customer never sent a letter. Mayor Spaeth stated that after water bills are not paid in the May cycle, they roll over to the November cycle. He stated that if balances remain, come the following April, they are sent to the County for inclusion on the June Village tax bills. Mayor Spaeth stated the unpaid water for this account was added as a relevy to the June 2019 Village tax bill. He stated that the tax bill went unpaid through the remainder of the collection cycle and that in November, the unpaid taxes with the unpaid water were sent to the County for inclusion on the January 2020 Town and County tax bill. He stated that the customer contacted the office this week to do something about the large unpaid balance. Treasurer Matthews stated that a municipality can forgive interest and penalties, but it cannot “gift” water. Mayor Spaeth stated that the customer failed to reach out to the Village to work through the issue when we would have been able to. He stated that once the unpaid water balance is sent to the County for collection, it is out of our control. After discussion, the Board agreed that the customer had multiple opportunities to reach out to them to set up a plan for paying the large balance. The Clerk was instructed to write a letter to the customer and inform them that the Board could not take any action at this late date since the balance was sent to the County for collection.


The Clerk reported that she had another water account, #01-000327 that needed attention. She indicated that when payments are received in the mail, the postmark is used to determine whether the payment was mailed before the penalty phase is initiated. She indicated on this account; the check was dated prior to the December penalty kicking in but the check was not received until February 3, 2020. She stated that there was no date stamp on the postmark of the envelope and that she contacted the post office and was told there was no way they could determine when the envelope was mailed. After discussion, Trustee Collins made a motion to waive the $ 151.16 penalty on account #01-000327. The motion was seconded by Trustee Eckert and carried by voice vote as follows:


Fire – Fire Department Report for January 2020

Village of Northville             (1) Alarm Activation               1


Town of Northampton           (5) Hazardous Conditions        4

Alarm Activation                 1

Town of Edinburg                 (6) Fire Alarm Activation        1

Possible Structure Fire         1

Cancelled Enroute               1

Structure Fire                       3

Town of Hope                       (1) Smoke Conditions               1
Town of Benson                    (0) Hazardous Condition         0
Mutual Aid Given                 (7)

Mutual Aid Received             (1)


Total Man-hours reported were – 12.5 hours


Trustee Collins reported that the FD held their ice rescue training recently and commended them for a job well done.


Mayor Spaeth updated the Board on the process for the Fire District. He stated that Supervisor Groff indicated the next step was for a committee to form to work out the details. He indicated that the committee members would ultimately become commissioners of the district for one year.


Code Enforcement – The Code Officer report was reviewed. Mayor Spaeth indicated that the Code Officer had completed all of his courses. It was reported that there may need to be fee schedule changes and if so, they will be driven off the recommendation of the Code Enforcement Officer.


Dog Control – No report.


Joint Youth – Trustee Sedon reported they were working at conducting a meeting in March for budget work.


Marketing Mayor Spaeth reported that he met with Ken Adamczyk of CRG and was given a run down of what CRG could do for us in terms of marketing. He indicated CRG would be working on a draft marketing strategy for the Village.



The monthly financial report was reviewed and bills to be paid from the General Fund in the amount of $ 42,770.85, from the Water Fund in the amount of $ 12,710.32, and from the Joint Youth Fund in the amount of $ 88.46 were presented for payment. Motion to approve payment was made by Trustee Collins, seconded by Trustee Markiewicz, and carried by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0



Mayor Spaeth reported to the Board that a decision, one way or another, has to be made on the cell tower buyout option. He stated right now we are gambling with how much money we might get over time versus what we can actually get right now. Trustee Collins stated that presuming that one project, such as the walkway at the spillway, will cost approximately $2 million dollars and 75% would be financed through grant funding, where else would we come up with half a million dollar for our share. Treasurer Matthews stated we would have to bond our portion which would include payments and interest if we did not have the funds available. Trustee Collins stated that the Board is also looking at dredging the Little Lake and creating a linear park walkway along Water Street, so having funds accessible for the Village portion of those projects would be beneficial for the Village. Mayor Spaeth agreed, stating that Water Street is a high priority project as Highway Superintendent Reidell indicated that there is deterioration along Water Street. He stated it the situation continues; it could become a public safety issue. Treasurer Matthews informed the Board that by taking the buyout now, we are shorting our lease by $ 200,000.00. He also stated that if we hold onto the lease, they can take the tower down at any time and then we would be out those funds at that point. Mayor Spaeth said that the Board needed to ask themselves if the benefit outweighed the risks. After brief discussion, Trustee Markiewicz made a motion to accept the $625,000.00 quote from SBA for the buyout of the Cell Tower Lease they currently have with the Village of Northville. The motion was seconded by Trustee Collins and carried by voice vote as followed:


Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                Trustee Eckert

Abstain:           0



Mayor Spaeth reported that the Clerk recently attended a NYCOM workshop and it was brought to attention that Boards need to have a formal meeting procedures document that can be made available to the public. Mayor Spaeth provided the Board with a draft outline of procedures, that closely resembles how Village meetings are already conducted, with the exception of adding a public access section just before the adjournment of the meeting in case questions arise from discussion that occurred during the meeting. He asked the Board to review the draft and bring back any recommendations for changes to the next meeting.


At 9:25 p.m., the meeting adjourned to Executive Session to discuss a Personnel issue on a motion from Trustee Sedon, seconded by Trustee Collins and carried by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0


At 9:30 p.m., the meeting reopened in Regular Session on a motion by Trustee Markiewicz, seconded by Trustee Eckert and carried by voice vote as follows:


Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0


Trustee Markiewicz made a motion to extend the probationary period of the Code Enforcement Officer for 6 months, with the date of probation to terminate on the anniversary of hire. The motion was seconded by Trustee Collins and carried by voice vote as follows:

Aye:                 Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Markiewicz, Trustee Sedon

Nay:                  0

Abstain:           0




There being no further business before the Board, motion was made to adjourn by Trustee Collins, seconded by Trustee Eckert and passed by voice vote with no one dissenting. The meeting was adjourned at 9:31 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Wendy L. Reu, Clerk