On January 1, Marybeth Majestic commences her third term as Town of Gardiner supervisor, reelected without opposition in November 2019. Issues that most urgently need addressing in 2020, in her view, begin with fixing the gaps, contradictions and vague terminology in the Zoning Code that have hindered town officials’ ability to regulate short-term rentals and other tourist accommodations, as well as replacing a decrepit, dangerous bridge on Clove Road and scoping out how to enhance the capacity of the sewer infrastructure in the Gardiner hamlet.
As town supervisor, what are your immediate priorities that you want to see addressed early in 2020?
We need to adopt the amendments to Chapter 200 and Chapter 220 [of the Zoning Code] and lift the moratorium on tourist-related land use accommodations, as well as adopt a local law regulating short-term rentals. We also need to begin the Inflow and Infiltration study in our Sewer District and take the necessary steps to mitigate the problem, which would increase our capacity at the sewer treatment plant. We need to work diligently to replace the Clove Road Bridge with the funding we have secured.
What else is on your wish list to complete or initiate by the end of the year?
This spring we are planning to complete the work required in the Pole Barn at Majestic Park that will allow us to rent the facility out to residents. We need to implement a system in our Building Department to monitor the conservation easements that the town holds or owns. We will continue to support the requests of our volunteer boards.
What should Gardiner residents be aware of that’s likely to become an issue for them in 2020, or where their input to town leaders would be especially valuable?
Residents should be aware that the use of their real property may be governed by the town Zoning Code and they should contact the Code Enforcement Officer with any ideas they have, from installing a deck to short-term rentals. When residents attend Town Board meetings and ask clarifying questions or suggest specific actions or solutions, we often find a productive dialogue follows. We learn from residents, and I am certain it helps residents to understand the broader context of issues. The interests of our residents drive what issues the Town Board will undertake.
Everyone in public office occasionally faces unanticipated challenges and has to get creative. Has there been any takeaway lesson from such a situation in the past that you feel will be helpful to you in coping with future challenges?
The scope of issues and opportunities before the Town of Gardiner requires creativity and patience. It is often unknown to others the amount of research and analysis required to bring worthy projects before the Town Board. Public discussion of these projects or concepts is invaluable because of the perspectives others bring to the topic. Yet the challenge can be creating understanding among the diversity of perspectives, especially if the recommendations of some or many don’t prevail. Judgment must be applied by the five people who must vote, and some are satisfied while others are not. The takeaway: Be clear and forthright and let the chips fall where they may.