Woodstock news: Mill Hill Rd. construction this May, noise ordinance discussed

Work is expected to begin soon on a project to revamp drainage and resurface Mill Hill Road from the Landau Grill to just before the Woodstock Playhouse with hopes of completion before the busy summer tourist season.

At its regular meeting April 10, the Woodstock Town Board unanimously voted to accept the lowest bid of $1,795,350 from Bast Hatfield Construction LLC. Out of 17 firms requesting bid packets, five responded. Project engineer Brinnier & Larios PC reviewed Bast Hatfield’s submission and is satisfied the firm is qualified to complete the work in time. Work could begin as soon as next month.

The town must first get final approval from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, which is funding the project. That can be a lengthy process, but Supervisor Bill McKenna said he is confident the office is aware of the impact caused by construction in the center of town and the need to get work completed as soon as possible.

Advertisement

Mill Hill Road is one of two projects receiving a total of $3 million from GOSR. The other is replacement of a drainage culvert on Reynolds Lane. Although Mill Hill Road is part of State Route 212, the town proposed the project, so it will oversee the work through Brinnier & Larios, making sure it is done to state specifications.

Work will be done Sunday through Thursday nights to ensure the road is open to traffic during the day and weekends are not affected.

Still many restaurant owners expressed concern the night work will disrupt business and patrons will not want to sit outdoors. Work will be timed to avoid the peak period from July 4 though Labor Day.

Can’t we all just get along?

The Town Board continued discussion of a proposed noise ordinance and has come to the conclusion that many problems can be resolved through compromise and communication.

McKenna reiterated the intent is not to kill the nightlife and the music, which is in the middle of a resurgence in town.

Some criticized the proposed law for being too vague and biased against musicians, arguing someone playing guitar on the green may be music to one’s ears and unreasonable to another. Town Board members defended the language, saying too much specificity could lead to other problems.

“No person, with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, shall cause, suffer, allow or permit to be made unreasonable noise. For purposes of this chapter, unreasonable noise is any disturbing, excessive, or offensive sound that disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities,” states the first paragraph under “Prohibited acts.”

The police will be given wide latitude to determine when to intervene and issue citations.

“The act of playing music is not unreasonable,” McKenna said. “If the officer pulls up and can’t hear himself think, that could be an issue.”

The concept of what is reasonable will be handled based on the location, McKenna explained, noting the expectation of somebody living next to a bar is not the same as somebody in a rural area such as Shady. “Be aware you have neighbors and be aware people might want to sleep sometimes,” he said.

“You need to communicate. Everybody has to respect each other,” said Councilman Richard Heppner.

The proposed law sets no specific hours for amplified music, instead leaving it up to police to determine what is unreasonable when someone complains.

The one prohibition dealing with music reads as follows:

“Excessive or unreasonable level of noise from any live music or sound reproduction system, operating or playing any radio, portable radio or tape player, television, tape deck or similar device that reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to be heard over any property line.”

Discussion of the noise ordinance has already led to accommodations for musicians who were throwing house parties at 51 Rock City Road, much to the chagrin of next-door neighbor Eleanor Steffen, who has complained about the barrage of sound into her home.

“I don’t want a quiet time and a noisy time,” she said. “There should be no penetration of noise into my home.”

McKenna is working with the organizers of the Rock City Road house parties, trying to give them a better venue for their music. Typically, bars and clubs are hesitant to book bands just getting started because they haven’t yet proven they can draw a big audience, so many turn to house parties to build a fan base.

So far, two youth concerts at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center were successful, thanks to the Youth Center picking up the rental fees.

Town Clerk Jackie Earley suggested bands wanting to play or practice meet with her to find openings in the schedule and make reservations to use the Community Center.

Whether it’s for practice or concerts, if each person chips in a buck or two, they’ve covered the rent, she said. And at $35 an hour, it’s a lot cheaper than the proposed $250 fine for violating the noise ordinance.

The Town Board will reopen the public hearing on the noise ordinance at 7:45 p.m. on April 17 and possibly adopt it that evening.

Honoring a war hero

The Town Board unanimously passed a resolution renaming Hillcrest Avenue after a medic who was the only Woodstock native killed in the Vietnam War.

Effective Memorial Day, Hillcrest Avenue will become Sgt. Richard Quinn Drive.

Quinn, who was raised in Woodstock and graduated from Onteora High School and Ulster County Community College with honors, was drafted on July 24, 1969.

In keeping with his desire to save lives instead of take them, Quinn trained to be a medic before he was deployed on January 12,1970.

He was killed on July 12, 1970 in Phuoc Long Province as he tried to save another medic, Richard Kloss, who had been wounded by enemy fire. Quinn’s body was found draped over Kloss.

Advertisement

Quinn was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Medical Badge, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.

He was buried July 25, 1970 in Woodstock Cemetery, two days after he turned 22.

Arrangements are still being made for a sign unveiling ceremony, which will be planned for the corner of Hillcrest Avenue and Neher Street after the Memorial Day parade, Heppner said.

Cemetery task force

McKenna is asking for volunteers interested in joining a Cemetery Task Force that will be responsible for carrying out certain duties as the town starts to make necessary improvements. The town recently took ownership of the cemetery from the defunct Woodstock Cemetery Association after a series of fiscal setbacks.

McKenna will announce the formation of the task force and explain its duties at the April 17 Town Board business meeting.

Those interested may contact the supervisor’s office at (845) 679-2113, ext. 17.