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2019-04-10 / Front Page

Walton Flood Minimization, Erosion Rehab Projects Resume

Dangerous Dog & Solar Energy Laws Presented
By Lillian Browne


Walton Flood Plain Manager Steve Dutcher stands near the backfilled 90 foot culvert on Water Street which was designed to drain floodwater from Veterans’ Plaza. It is anticipated, Dutcher said, that Water Street will be re-opened to traffic in the coming weeks. Lillian Browne/The Reporter Walton Flood Plain Manager Steve Dutcher stands near the backfilled 90 foot culvert on Water Street which was designed to drain floodwater from Veterans’ Plaza. It is anticipated, Dutcher said, that Water Street will be re-opened to traffic in the coming weeks. Lillian Browne/The Reporter * This story has been updated to reflect LaFever Excavating was the low bidder in the yet-to-commence South Street project, rather than the bid-winner, as previously reported.

WALTON - LaFever Excavating was the low-bidder in a $1.75 million  South Street stream bank repair project,  adjacent to the West Branch of the Delaware River, announced Walton Flood Plain Manager Steve Dutcher, at a meeting of the Walton Town Council on April 8.

The extensive stream bank stabilization project, which includes submerging and anchoring metal pilings along a section of the river to prevent further erosion, will likely not begin until June, Dutcher said, when work crews can begin work in and near the waterway, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.

A second large-scale project, the Water Street soil excavation/ flood mitigation project, on hold for the winter, resumed on Mon- day, April 8 when crews backfilled around the 90-foot cement culvert designed to drain floodwater from Veterans Plaza.


Delaware County Planner Sean Leddy presented a draft Solar Energy Law to Walton Council members on April 8. Lillian Browne/The Reporter Delaware County Planner Sean Leddy presented a draft Solar Energy Law to Walton Council members on April 8. Lillian Browne/The Reporter Once the backfilled soil has settled, Dutcher continued, Water Street will be repaved in the area of the culvert and be reopened to traffic. The expectation, he said, is that the street will be opened within the coming weeks.

The culvert size, opening and angle elicited concern from council member Luis Rodriguez- Betancourt who wondered who would remove debris - garbage, silt, etc. - from the culvert once it became clogged.

The issue, Supervisor Joe Cetta responded, would be addressed if it arose.

In further discussion regarding Veterans Plaza, council members agreed to allow the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce to proceed with grant applications to purchase bike racks to be installed in locations to be determined by village and town officials. The bike racks will be acquired and installed through a collaboration to increase recreational opportunities in the town and village and to enhance economic opportunities for local businesses by highlighting a 10 mile biking loop from the village, across Bridge Street, along South Street, to South River Road and back toward the village on state Highway 10.

The bike racks will be positioned so cyclists can easily park their bikes and patronize local businesses. A phase-two plan for the biking loop is to install a variety of interpretive stations along the route highlighting areas of interest and history.

The council will also proceed with a request from Noah Aubin, Boy Scout Troop 45, who has proposed the construction of a kiosk at Veterans Plaza as an Eagle Scout project. Cetta will meet with Aubin to discuss the design, dimensions and location for the kiosk. Both the bike racks and kiosk must by approved by the flood plain manager and council members before installation.

In other business before the council, the town adopted an updated version of its Dangerous Dog Law, which the public will have the opportunity to comment on at a public hearing scheduled for May 13 at 6 p.m.

The proposed updated law mimics New York’s more stringent law. The updated version of the law increases fines and penalties and allows a local judge broader authority in dealing with a dog deemed to be dangerous and the dog’s owner.

The multi-page proposed updated law is available for inspection by the public at the Walton Town Hall, 129 North Street, during normal business hours.

Delaware County Planner Sean Leddy presented council members with a draft Solar Energy Law which details requirements for residential and commercial solar systems. Residential systems merely require a fee-permit issued by the town code enforcement officer.

Under the proposed law, a commercial solar project will require a site plan review, special use permit and approval by the town planning board. Commercial solar projects would also be required to have a bond posted to ensure decommissioning and deconstruction if the project were to become inactive for one year, if the law is passed.

Walton opted out of the state’s 15-year no increase in assessment mandate for commercial solar projects and can increase property assessments if a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program is not negotiated with the town by the developer prior to project installation.

Leddy, who works with the town’s planning board, announced that an application for a commercial project will likely be submitted to the town planning board prior to the passage of the solar energy law. That project, attorney Carly Walas said, will be exempt from any requirements or fees dictated by the proposed solar law.

Currently, residential solar projects are considered “renovations” under the town’s building permit regulations and fees for the permits are governed by the value of the project. Projects under $5,000 have a building permit fee of $75; projects valued between $5,001 and $10,000 have a fee of $100 and projects valued over $10,001 have a permit fee of $150.

The draft law is being reviewed by council members and no action was taken.

In other business before the town:

• Town Clerk Ronda Williams announced that 85 percent of 2019 property taxes have been collected. Second-notices have been mailed to property owners, she said. Williams also reported that the town will receive an increase in revenue from the cellphone tower beginning May 1. Monthly payments from Crown Castle to Walton will increase $287 per month, reflecting an annual increase of nearly $3,500.

• Use of Veterans’ Plaza on Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the second-annual pumpkin decorating and carving festival was approved.

• Cetta announced that the town has received verbal approval from Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chairperson Tina Mole to permit partial property tax payments from Walton property owners, beginning in Jan. 2020. Walton is awaiting written approval to implement the payment plan.

• Highway Superintendent Walt Geidel received permission to hire Jerry Phoenix and Dick Doig as seasonal mowers, from June 1 through the end of August for 24 hours per week at $12 per hour.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Walton Town Council will be on Monday, May 13 at 6 p.m.

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