2013-01-16 / Commentary

Sounding Off on Paving

Old Albany Post Road, in Garrison.Old Albany Post Road, in Garrison.

Good municipal decisions are made when all stakeholders are involved and expert counsel is welcomed. As is clearly articulated in the very first Goal of Philipstown’s Comprehensive Plan, dirt roads are an important element contributing to Philipstown’s rural and historic character and thus deserving of preservation. We believe the town board’s decision to hold a public workshop on this issue is an important step in ensuring that the ultimate solution for the town’s dirt roads respects the balance of public safety, the protection of natural resources, and the preservation of our community’s character.

—Andy Chmar, Executive Director, Hudson Highlands Land Trust

While the proposed paving has been on the table for quite sometime, we do have a meeting scheduled for 1/16 with concerned residents and Roger to discuss dirt roads in general. I’m sure the Albany Post Road paving will come up.

I’m looking forward to hearing from both sides before I take a position.

—Nancy Montgomery, Philipstown Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor

Normally I prefer not to inject the school into discussions of Village or Town wide political issues unless they are vital to the safety and operations of the school district. For example, we took a strong position on the need for a light on Route 9 and supported the Town’s position. Our only concern for any road in the town is for the ability of our busses to safely navigate the roadways.

—Mark Villanti, Superintendent, Haldane Central School District

People are under the misconception that they’re going to wake up one morning and every road in Philipstown is going to be paved. That is not the case. I’ve lived on a dirt road for 40 years. Because I’m wearing a different hat—as a legislator, and as a town board member—I see it in a different light now. When you’re in this position the number one priority in your mind is the health and safety of your constituents.

On Old Albany Post Road, of course, we have to be mindful of the historic significance. When I look at my road, South Mountain Pass, every time we have a storm we lose the road and we’re stuck—emergency vehicles, ambulances cannot access it. It’s an environmental nightmare. People don’t realize that the wetlands are being affected; the streams are impacted.

The way they are treating Roger and Richard upsets me. Roger has a lifetime of knowledge. He doesn’t do this lightly. He looks at every road individually as he should and addresses the problems. And Richard as well. He has the best interests of the Town at heart.

—Barbara Scuccimarra, Putnam County Legislator and former Philipstown Councilwoman

We can no longer ignore the significant impact of dirt roads in our budget and taxes, or the ensuing environmental, safety and property ramifications. We support an open discussion where all parties have a seat to develop a comprehensive policy moving onward. COP looks forward to participating in those town wide exchanges.

—J Carlos Salcedo Spokesperson for the Citizens of Philipstown.org

I walked all these dirt roads but there were four, five, six houses, and you had hardly any traffic. You can’t go back to that time. [Today] gravel and item four ends up in all your streams, and helps to promote flooding. After Wednesday’s hearing is when I will formulate a final decision.

—Betty Budney Philipstown Councilwoman

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