Huntington Honors Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, Approves Fire Safety Initiative, Proposes Reducing Yardwaste Collection Costs
At its December 17 2019 meeting, the Huntington Town Board approved a major fire safety initiative, proposed a measure to reduce yardwaste collection costs, set the 2020 Town Board schedule, and honored Huntington’s longest-serving Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at her final Town Board meeting before her retirement from elected office.
In the photo (l-r): Councilman Edmund J.M. Smyth; Councilman Mark Cuthbertson; Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci; Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, holding plaque and flowers; Councilman Eugene Cook; Councilwoman Joan Cergol.
The Town Board meeting commenced with a 10-minute video presentation highlighting Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia’s 38-year trailblazing legacy produced by the Town Clerk’s Archives staff, followed by a presentation to Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia from the office of Attorney General Letitia James, the Town Board, Assemblyman and Town Clerk-elect Andrew Raia, and the Huntington Fire Department. The Town Board then presented Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia with a plaque and flowers honoring her service and, later in the meeting, appointed her to the Town of Huntington Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities and the Beautification Council. Watch the full presentation to Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia.
The Town Board cut red tape and improved fire safety by amending the Town Code to eliminate the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing process for installing egress windows in homes that do not meet the required property line setback requirements.
“After consulting with the Dix Hills Fire Department and the Town Fire Marshal, Building Department and counsel for the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), we wanted to make it easier for property owners to install egress windows by eliminating the requirement of a formal application and hearing before the ZBA,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.
The amended code allows for a protective cover or grate to be installed for egress windows or window wells that extend up to 42 inches into a required yard setback.
The Town Board scheduled a public hearing for Monday, January 13, 2020 at 2:00 PM to consider amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 133 Littering and Dumping; requiring for-hire landscaping and lawn maintenance services to immediately remove waste generated from such services from the premises, to minimize the increase in yardwaste disposal costs to the Town, improve yardwaste collection efficiency and remove collection bottlenecks.
“This new requirement will not affect homeowners who bag their own leaves. We are always looking at ways to take the burden off the taxpayer, and in this case, removing the burden of a new state regulation that has caused an exorbitant jump in yardwaste collection costs,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “What we are proposing for landscaping companies mirrors our provision in the Town Code that requires home improvement contractors remove and dispose of waste generated by their work.”
The Town collects and processes approximately 14,000 tons of yardwaste annually, with approximately 7,800 tons collected during peak leaf season. The total budget for yardwaste processing and disposal increased 93% in 2019, to $1,400,000, after new state regulatory requirements for groundwater monitoring at composting and yardwaste disposal facilities took effect.
As a result of the increased disposal costs, landscaping and lawn maintenance companies have been documented overloading the curb during the spring and fall cleanup season, leaving upwards of 100 to 200 full bags of yardwaste at a single residential property for curbside collection by the Town, creating collection bottlenecks that prohibit timely collection of yardwaste routes during peak collection season. Each ton of yardwaste diverted from the curb will save the Town $100.
In other action, the Town Board:
- Set the schedule for 2020 Town Board meetings: Monday, January 13, 2pm; Tuesday, February 11, 7pm; Tuesday, March 10, 7pm; Tuesday, March 31, 2pm; Tuesday, April 21, 2pm; Wednesday, May 20, 7pm; Tuesday, June 16, 2pm; Tuesday, July 21, 7pm; Tuesday, August 11, 2pm; Tuesday, September 15, 7pm; Tuesday, October 20, 2pm; Wednesday, November 4, 7pm; Thursday, November 19, 2pm; Tuesday, December 15, 7pm
- Approved an amendment to the Town Code requiring an apprenticeship agreement for a Town construction contract with a value in excess of $250,000 and proof that the program graduates apprentices.
- Approved a resolution urging the New York State Legislature and Governor to enact Legislation exempting certain not-for-profit corporations from redundant insurance requirements in New York Labor Law Sections 240/241 so these organizations can afford to donate services, materials and labor to families in need.
- Approved the replacement of an unreliable, 10-year-old Parks and Recreation registration system with web-based software, Amilia, to streamline services that will improve the user experience with mobile access, booking, and system uptime reliability, meeting current needs while allowing for scalability and growth.
- Approved a contract with Software Consulting Services “Municity,” an enterprise-wide software platform for work order and inventory-asset management, code enforcement and permitting that will improve operational productivity, efficiency and transparency, integrating data for seamless information sharing between the Town’s Geographic Information System (GIS), Building Permits, Code Enforcement, Assessor, and other departments.
- Approved a resolution urging the New York State Legislature and Governor to enact Bill (A6868) to amend the public service law, in relation to comprehensive and regular management and operations audits, to hold service providers of an authority accountable for their actions.
- Authorized the Supervisor to enter into an Intermunicipal agreement with the Incorporated Villages of Asharoken, Huntington Bay, Lloyd Harbor, and Northport for the provision of animal control services. The agreement qualifies the Town for up to $500,000 in grant funding.
- Authorized the Supervisor to apply for and receive $500,000 under the 2019-2020 New York State Companion Animal Capital Projects Fund for the new animal shelter construction.
- Authorized the Supervisor to apply for and receive $135,000 Special Legislative Project Funding to be administered by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, for the C.A.S.T. (Communities and Schools Together) Program, an anti-gang program for at-risk youth.
- Authorized the Supervisor to apply for and accept $50,000 in grant funding under the State & Municipal Facilities Capital Program.
- Approved up to $80,800 from the Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Fund for recommended neighborhood enhancements consisting of permanent driver feedback signs to calm traffic on Carlls Straight Path in Dix Hills, Little Plains Road and Spring Road in Huntington, and Vernon Valley Road in Northport,.
- Approved up to $75,000 from the Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Fund for recommended neighborhood enhancements consisting of a matching grant for a Highway tree inventory to sure continuity of canopy for environmental and aesthetic benefits.
- Authorized the continued use of Laserfiche for the Retention and Preservation of Electronic Records to alleviate the burden of storing paper documents in the Town Clerk’s Records Center, which is at capacity, in adherence with the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Title 8-Education Section 185.8 Retention and Preservation of Electronic Records.
- Accepted a donation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for landscape architecture design by the firm Nelson Byrd Woltz valued at $82,000, at Coltrane Park, 247 Candlewood Path in Dix Hills.
- Amended the Town Code to exempt service dogs from areas in Town parks where dogs are prohibited.
- Appointed Town Clerk-elect Andrew Raia as Registrar of Vital Statistics and Marriage Officer for the Town of Huntington for a term effective January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023.
- Appointed East Northport resident and real estate attorney Lisa Leonick, Esq., Assessor for the Town of Huntington to a six-year term, effective June 1, 2020, after the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance determined that she met all the qualifications – a difficult task – as prescribed in Real Property Tax Law and 20 NYCRR 8188; Ms. Leonick had previously served as a court arbitrator resolving property tax assessment disputes and has been practicing real estate law for three decades, managing real estate transactions from inception through post-closing issues, estate planning and probate. She most recently served as General Counsel to Freedom Abstract Corp. since 2013, overseeing all aspects of title and settlement.
- Appointed Centerport resident Thomas M. McNally, Esq., to a seven-year term effective January 1, 2020, as a member of the Planning Board; Mr. McNally possesses over 30 years of cumulative legal experience including insurance defense law, real estate law, and local and state government law, currently serving as National Operations Attorney, Senior Litigation Counsel (Vice President), House Counsel Department for CHUBB LTD., managing business operations of 17 law firms with 110 attorneys in 9 states across the U.S. and Canada.
- Appointed Zoning Board of Appeals alternate member, home improvement industry expert and philanthropist Salvatore Ferro to a seven-year term effective January 1, 2020, as full member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
- Appointed Jo-Ann Raia (1/1/20-12/31/23) and Michele M. Schmitz (12/17/19-12/17/23) as members of the Town of Huntington Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities.
- Appointed Jo-Ann Raia (1/1/20-12/31/24), Karen Marks (12/17/19-12/31/24), Terry-Ann Perine (12/17/19-12/31/24), and reappointed Patricia Markel Feder (12/17/19-12/31/24) as members of the Beautification Council.
- Appointed Shadon “Chuck” Brady, Philip Dalton, Diane Montpelieu, and James Wojcik and reappointed Kathleen Kufs, CarrieAnn Lindstadt-Iurka, James McGoldrick, Christopher Zonin, and Michael Zunno as Volunteer Park Stewards.
- Appointed/reappointed Ronald Lanner (Chairperson), Helen “Billii” Roberti (Recording Secretary), (members) Gene Stern, Jay Best, Peter Smith, Marilyn Urso, Peter Kelly, Peter Hellerman, Jacob Goldman, Eve Tenzler, Ufei Chan, and (alternate members) Dan Audette, Nicole Basso, Toshi Mogi, and Jon Hacker to terms expiring 12/31/2023 on the Town Board’s Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency, Renewables & Sustainability (ACEERS).
- Reappointed Brian Orange as a member (exp. 12/31/22) of the Audit Committee.
- Reappointed Ron Epstein as a member (exp. 12/31/22) of the Town of Huntington Affordable Housing Advisory Board.
- Reappointed Kamazina Lwiza, Mary Feigman and Julie Sullivan as members (exp. 12/31/2021) and designated Joy S. Squires as Chairperson of the Town of Huntington Conservation Board.
- Reappointed Jeffrey M. Bartholomew as a member (exp. 12/31/24) of the Town of Huntington Board of Ethics.
The Town Board scheduled public hearings for the Monday, January 13, 2020 Town Board meeting at 2:00 PM to consider:
- Authorizing various actions be taken upon certain properties designated as blighted in accordance with Chapter 156, Article VII, §156-60 (Blighted Property).
- Authorizing the Supervisor to execute license agreements with sports related organizations for the use of Town facilities, to ensure adequate insurance is provided and operational costs are covered.
- Amending the Uniform Traffic Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 3, Article II, §3-3, Schedule J. Re: Wedgewood Drive – Dix Hills – Parking Restrictions; adding No Parking restrictions from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on school days along the northern end of Wedgewood Drive in Dix Hills, from Norman Court to its terminus, on both sides of the street, after receiving a petition from residents requesting the restrictions.
- Amending the Uniform Traffic Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter TCI (General Provisions), Article III (Enforcement; Penalties), strengthening the Town’s ability to deter parking violations and recover costs of vehicle immobilization by omitting the option of a payment plan and requiring full payment of all outstanding penalties, fines or fees owed related to all parking violations, plus immobilization, towing and storage charges, and administrative fees.
- Amending the Code of the Town of Huntington, Chapter 32 (General Services, Department of), §32-3 (Administration and Organization of Department), §32-4 (Powers and Duties); Chapter 52 (Parks and Recreation, Department of), §52-4 (Powers and Duties); to delegate the operation and maintenance of the Dix Hills and Crab Meadow Golf Courses and Dix Hills Park to the Department of Park and Recreation at the recommendation of the Golf Advisory Committee.
- The first five-year extension of the Land and Tower License Agreement made by and between the Town of Huntington and New Cingular Wireless, PCS, LLC, to extend the term thereof for five (5) additional years, pursuant to the agreement dated December 2014, for the use and occupancy, including the tower and other improvements thereon, located at Wolf Hill Road, Huntington, New York, with New Cingular Wireless, PCS, LLC continuing to pay an annual license fee, which will be increased 5% from the initial term.
The Town Board scheduled a public hearing for the Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Town Board meeting at 7:00 PM to consider Zone Change Application #2018-ZM-437, Anton Realty of LI, Inc, to change the zoning from C-6 General Business District to C-11 Automotive Service Station District for the property located on the southwest corner of Broadway-Greenlawn and Little Plains Road, Greenlawn; to rezone an existing gas station property to make improvements to the gas station, adding a canopy over the existing gas pumps, and replace the existing automotive repair shop with a convenience store (the Horizons 2020 Comprehensive Plan has no specific recommendations regarding C-6 to C-11 rezonings).