Woodstock agrees to buy hydro power from small producer

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The Woodstock Town Board authorized a five-year contract with a hydroelectric producer for three of its accounts and will study the possibility of adding more.

The town will get electricity for the Youth Center, Rock City Road bathrooms and the Supervisor’s Cottage from Hopewell Junction-based Natural Power Group Inc, a company owned by Sarah and Harry Terbush with plants in Wallkill, Wappingers Falls and Salisbury Mills.

Until recently, small electric generation companies were required to sell their power to the utility in that region. The Wallkill plant’s contract with Central Hudson has expired, allowing them to sell power to the public. The other plants will be available in June and January.

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Natural Power Group is part of a process approved by the Public Service Commission called Community Distributed Generation. The town, or anyone who signs a contract, will get a monthly credit from Central Hudson and a bill from Natural Power Group that is 10 percent less than the credit. Central Hudson still delivers the electricity through its grid. Customers buy capacity from the Community Distributed Generation provider.

The three town locations are immediately available because they are considered residential accounts. It is possible to make the switch for other accounts but it is more complicated and depends on Natural Power Group’s capacity.

The contract for the three locations is for five years, but the town can opt out after a year if it’s not deemed beneficial. Co-owner Sarah Terbush told the town last week that any savings are a yearly average as there are highs and lows in production.

Progress on short-term rentals

Councilman Richard Heppner and the Short-Term Rental Committee continue work on a list of proposed regulations intended to cope with vacation rentals made popular by such listing websites as Airbnb and VRBO.

One proposal is a cap on the number of available rentals, but the committee hasn’t resolved who will be subject to the caps.

“Do they apply to owner-occupied (rentals) or not?” asked Heppner.

Noise ordinance is in effect

Supervisor Bill McKenna reminded residents the town’s new noise ordinance has been filed with the Secretary of State’s office, making it officially a local law.

Per the ordinance, 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.”

It bans “any unnecessary noise” from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., limits pet noises or burglar alarms to 15 minutes, limits construction to the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and bans outdoor power equipment in residential areas between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. weekdays and 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekends.

Mill Hill Road work awaits state approval

Contractors have submitted specifications and equipment lists to the state Department of Transportation for approval. McKenna said he hopes work will begin the week of May 28. The goal is to get work done before the peak tourism season beginning around July 4.

The work involves installing new drainage pipes and catch basins, replacing the nonfunctional slot drains that run along Mill Hill Road from Landau Grill to just before the Woodstock Playhouse.

The $1.8 million project is one of two projects funded by a $3 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. The other project involves replacement of a stormwater culvert on Reynolds Lane.

Town hires law firm to help with Highway Department negotiations

The Town Board hired Girvin & Ferlazzo of Colonie at $195 per hour for assistance in collective bargaining with the United Public Service Employees Union, representing Woodstock Highway Department employees. The town and union have been at an impasse since a contract was rescinded because of errors discovered in the language.

Crash totals street sweeper; driver uninjured

The driver of the town street sweeper was heading eastbound on Glasco Turnpike at about 9:45 a.m. Friday, May 11, when the driver of a white car headed westbound swerved into his lane. The driver of the street sweeper swerved into the ditch to avoid a collision. He was uninjured.

The driver of the car continued and has not contacted the town.

“We’d like to talk to that driver,” said McKenna, who doesn’t want to pass judgment because the driver may not be aware of what happened.

The sweeper is shared by three other towns and is typically only used in the spring, then put back in storage. The sweeper was declared a total loss because of damage caused to the sweeping mechanisms in the undercarriage, McKenna said.

The car driver or anyone who may have seen what happened is encouraged to contact the Highway Department at 845-679-2805 or the supervisor’s office at 845-679-2113, ext. 17.

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