Keeping You In The Loop: Recap of City Council Meeting 8/20/2018


Every week or thereabouts, usually on Monday evenings, the Beacon City Council meets for one of two types of meetings:

  • An official meeting, where City Council members can vote things into law that impacts Beacon residents - for better or worse.
  • A Workshop, where they talk about recent issues typically raised by citizens at those meetings or by phone calls or emails, and hash out what might become a law.

The City Council meetings are where all of the things get decided. It's how rules end up in the code books that you wade through when trying to figure out if you need a permit to build a new porch, or if a large new building on Main Street needs to have a sign with its permit posted in public (just like houses do when under construction).

Meetings On TV

You can watch all of these meetings on TV on your Public Access Municipal Channel (if you still have cable). But if you miss a single meeting, you fall behind on a lot of meat. Fortunately, the Highlands Current sends a beat reporter, Jeff Simms, to regularly cover the meetings and report back on recent developments. He condenses an impressive amount of information into one short roundup article. Unfortunately, he is restricted by available print space. In the blogosphere,  however, we can go on... and on...

The Easy Access Government Meeting Section

Here at A Little Beacon Blog, we have our handy-dandy Easy Access Government Meeting section where you can do an easy search for anything, and find Agendas and Videos of the meetings all on the same page. For instance, if you saw that "Kearney Realty" was on the agenda for something, and you can't remember who they are or what property they own, you can do a Search on our website, and you'll get all the times they were mentioned in City Council, Planning or Zoning Board meetings. You can also run this search at the City of Beacon's website. We do get all of our info from the City of Beacon's website, so it's wonderful that they put it up there.

Recaps of City Council Meetings

We're going to start to produce very short recaps of the City Council Meetings to help you stay current. Sometimes, the issues in these meetings may bubble to a larger article here on A Little Beacon Blog. Like when we took a deep dive into the Airbnb legislation exploration.

Each of these meetings is linked to in full on their own pages. Just like on the City website, each line-item has been linked to any corresponding documents that have been attached to it (thanks Marilyn for all of this work you do each week on this!).

Here are the CliffsNotes for the most recent meeting, on 8/20/2018.

Click here for the full City Council Meeting 8/20/2018 agenda page.


Junior Police Academy Graduation Presentation
This was a camp listed in our Summer Camp Guide that provided an opportunity for local kids to learn about law enforcement for one week during the summer. Local eateries donated lunch, and students did everything from obstacle courses to going on field-trips to different offices. Before the meeting got started, a different student spoke before the council to describe what they did each day.

Public Comment Heard That Night

This is when anyone from the public can speak for three minutes on anything they want. We do take notes about who spoke about what, but we'll leave it to you to listen to the video. Sometimes comments made here make it into articles on A Little Beacon Blog, or into law for the City of Beacon.

Public Hearings Heard That Night

Public Hearings are your chance to voice your concern right before the City Council is going to write something into law.

On a local law to create Chapter 97 and amend Chapters 192 and 223 of the Code of the City of Beacon concerning Driveways

Sounds boring, right? Driveways - just another thing to get permission to fix! Turns out, Beaconites did need to adhere to some code before creating their driveways, but they didn't need to get a permit aka official permission. Plus, the regulations that residents did need to adhere to were located in three different places. The Council wanted to change that and make it easier to find and read.

According to Mayor Casale, "The only thing that was ever on the books in the City Of Beacon was that if you wanted to put a driveway in, you had to be a certain amount of feet from the property line. Over the last year or so, [new] driveways were put in [by residents] and it became controversial. So we decided, like other communities, to have a permit to put a driveway in that would be addressed in our code, and reflect the zoning law."

The Council wanted to know when a driveway could cut into their own streets, and that it adhered to some rules. They hammered out what the condensed and simplified law would look like in a Workshop Meeting back on June 11, 2018, and this August meeting was the Public Hearing on it to hear from the public to see if the public brought any ideas to the table. No one came to this Public Hearing, so it's moving on into the next stage of getting voted on to be turned into law.


Next come the reports from each City Council member, including the Mayor and the City Administrator. This is where you learn things like what events they attended, what issues they were alerted about, or if we're in a drought. We'll let you listen to the video for these.

Future Public Hearings

Mark your calendar, because if you want to hop into the discussion about a major issue being made into law or amended, this is your big chance. If you want it or don't want it, come on down. Sometimes, only the side that doesn't want it comes down, or vice versa. So if you support an issue or don't, come down to the Municipal Building (near the train, overlooking the Hudson River) to say why.

PUBLIC HEARING September 4, 2018:
1.  A resolution to schedule a public hearing on September 4, 2018 to receive comment on proposed resolution to amend the language in Section 223-41.21 B(1)(b) of the Code of the City of Beacon concerning the Linkage District

This means that rules governing the area down near the train station - which is hot for development right now - have been worded in such a way that they are keeping a type of company that the City wants to be there, from being there. The example company that triggered this is Docuware, a document management company. Originally, Docuware wanted to relocate to the first building on Main Street that currently houses the Beacon Creamery.

As an aside, according to Ron at the Beacon Creamery, his landlord was going to move him up the street for a year during construction, and then move him back into a space that would have been made larger for his ice cream shop. Ron had been looking forward to the change.

Now Docuware is looking at property in the Linkage District near the train station, specifically where the auto shop is, and Spire Studios, the studio workspaces of several artists. You may have stepped inside this building during this year's and previous Beacon Open Studios.

The original language was written to keep out big box-type stores, but it has had the effect of keeping out other types of business that the City does want. According to Anthony Ruggiero, the City Administrator: "When we looked at the regulations, it was disjointed as to how it was adopted. Intent was to have mixed-use development. The way it was written, it was required to have two buildings. Total of buildings would be 25,000 square feet. When John [Clarke, the City's Planning Consultant] looked at it, the Comprehensive Plan was trying to prevent Big Box, but not mixed-use. The proposal coming to the Council would be two floors commercial, two floors residential."

PUBLIC HEARING September 4, 2018:
2.  A resolution to schedule a public hearing on September 4, 2018, to receive public comment on a proposed local law to amend Chapter 211 of the Code of the City of Beacon concerning Parking and Traffic Issues
This translates to proposed Stop Signs and No Parking Signs at the following places, as requested by citizens who wrote in:

  • Stop Signs on Monell Place (near Tompkins Terrace)
  • Adding No Parking to Dewindt and South Chestnut Street (near St. Rocco's)

PUBLIC HEARING September 4, 2018:
Last Minute Addition: A special Public Hearing to discuss proposed new apartments for 21 South Avenue.
This is the former Martin Luther King Center and is now owned by St. Andrew and St. Luke Episcopal Church. 

Local Laws and Resolutions

3.  A resolution to approve a memorandum of understanding for intermunicipal collaboration to promote sustainable water and wastewater systems

4.  A resolution authorizing the Mayor or City Administrator to sign an agreement authorizing and supporting the joint municipal land use review for the future redevelopment of the Beacon Correctional Facility.
This just means they can review proposals for this land. According to the City Administrator, eight ideas have come in, and one RFP that didn't work.

5.  A resolution awarding the contract for a Concentration Tanks Drive replacement to Rebuild-It Services Group, LLC.
Translates to: You're Hired!

6.  A resolution awarding the contract for the South Ave Sidewalks Project to Ben Ciccone, Inc.
Translates to: You're Hired!
The sidewalks along South Avenue by South Avenue Elementary are getting paved! Some funding came from Dutchess County. We reached out to City Administrator Anthony Ruggiero by email to hear more. He told us, "The intention is to go from Main Street to the School. It was viewed as safety for the kids. There is no cost to homeowners, however, they are responsible for maintenance and upkeep."
UPDATED: This has been updated since the original publishing of this article on this website and in our newsletter.

7.  A resolution awarding the contract for the Churchill Parking Lot and Pocket Park Project to Butler Construction Group
Translates to: You're Hired!

8.  A resolution awarding the contract for the Kristy Drive Storm Drainage Slip Lining to Skanex Pipe Services, Inc.
Translates to: You're Hired!

9.  A resolution amending Condition 6 of Schedule B on the deed for Lot 2 of the West End Lofts Project
This is a technicality of who is the payee. From the Coversheet:
"WHEREAS, the construction lender for the West End Lofts Project has requested that the borrower be a single payer entity and not the current owner, Kearney Realty Group, Inc; and
WHEREAS, Kearney Realty Group, Inc. proposes to form an affiliate of the Kearney Realty Group which will be a single payer entity; and
WHEREAS, the present members of the Kearney Realty Group are Ken and Jean Kearney; there have not been any changes to Kearney Realty Group since the closing and there will be no changes to the members until such time the closing of construction and a certificate of occupancy is issued for this building,"

Some Highlights From Previous Summer Meetings

Even though most of us were on vacation or doing summer things, the City Council marched on and hashed out topics. Some highlights of what happened:

  • The metal trash cans on Main Street have been an issue with the public, in that they overflow. This was discussed months ago when Royal Carting, the city's trash collector, attended the meeting to present their estimate for trash and recycling pickup. New designs of trash cans were discussed. A most recent decision was that the tops of the trash cans would be replaced, so that there will be a larger hole for trash only, and not recycling.
  • Recycling is becoming problematic and is now costing the city money. It used to be that the City of Beacon actually received money for their recycling. But now the city is paying money to have the recycling done. According to James Constantino, the attorney representing Royal Carting: "The cost of recycling materials primarily from China has dropped dramatically," he stated at a City Council meeting on May 29, 2018. Plus, "contaminated" recycling, which is when trash (like food or plastic bags) gets into recycling, costs more to get rid of because it needs to be sorted. According to Mayor Casale also at that meeting: "The whole recycling market right now is topsy-turvy... Most of the county is not considering doing recycling anymore." A Little Beacon Blog covered this in greater detail when Beacon went to weekly recycling pickup in 2016.
  • Two new police officers were hired, including one woman. One new fireman was hired full-time after being a volunteer for several years.
  • New apartment and office buildings at 248 Tioronda had representatives back at the podium presenting their vision. Details can be found in this article.
  • New free bus service! The Dutchess County bus that goes west down Main Street, circles around the train station, then heads all the way to the mountain may be free starting Wednesday, August 22, 2018. It used to be called the G Line and now is called the Free Line. One of the buses is wrapped in a cheerful light blue decoration. This has BeaconArts' stamp on it, and we'll be producing an article to shed more light. Basically, this bus is free, and apparently you can hail it from any safe spot on the street.
  • Council Person Amber Grant wanted the people in her Ward 4* to know that the polling location for them to vote in the Primaries has changed. The new polling location is 50 Liberty Street, which is the First Presbyterian Church near the Lofts at Beacon Falls. The new voting date for everyone is Thursday, September 13, 2018. Not sure what ward you are in (i.e. which district you live in and which city council member represents you)? Visit this link to see where you need to go to vote:

    Dates for other election-related things are here:

    However, if you have questions for the Board of Elections, their phone number
    is this, but isn’t working today: (845) 486-2473.  Their main page that lists the polling locations by county is currently blank.
    *CORRECTION: We incorrectly typed the wrong ward number in the Newsletter sent out for this article. The correct ward is 4.

So there you have it. Until the next meeting!

If you want to browse, because there are still a lot of other things that are discussed, visit A Little Beacon Blog's Easy Access Government Meeting section.

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