The Woodstock Building Department and town administration are on top of alleged illegal dumping in Shady by Joe Karolys’ construction-and-demolition business.
Supervisor Bill McKenna gave an update at the January 21 Town Board business meeting in response to questions and concerns from resident John Ludwig and Planning Board member Brian Normoyle.
McKenna said he’s been in contact with Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello and Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3 Director Kelly Turturro.
Based on a tip, McKenna directed Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector Ellen Casciaro to investigate a property on Church Road in the Woodstock hamlet. She discovered about 10 to a dozen piles of fill on the property. Initially Karolys said the fill came from Kingston, but when pressed for further documentation, he has refused to cooperate.
McKenna, who has visited the property, thought the fill may contain concrete, which is considered construction debris and is illegal per town law.
Karolys is apparently selling fill to the Church Road property owner, who plans to tear down an existing structure and build a new home.
Further investigation by both Casciaro and Building Inspector Butch Hoffman did not reveal any concrete.
McKenna conceded it was after dark when he walked through the property, so either he was mistaken or Karolys has buried the material.
Karolys was stopped in December from accepting construction and demolition debris on three Saugerties properties after a long court fight. A May 2019 DEC raid netted 39 clean water and solid waste disposal law violations for which he still faces court action. Tests found heavy metals and DDT at his Route 212 property.
Barring any confirmation of contamination in the fill source, activity on the Church Road property appears to be in compliance with town sanitation law and building code, McKenna said.
Ludwig asked if the police can follow Karolys’ trucks and monitor them. McKenna said the town has to be fair to everyone and can’t single out Karolys since he hasn’t been convicted yet despite his past.
“We’re all very aware it’s a hot potato and we’re going to be on top of it,” he said.
McKenna said he communicates with Casciaro about the property at least every other day.
“DEC is currently investigating this site to determine compliance with the Environmental Conservation Law,” a DEC spokeswoman said recently in response to inquiries. “Additional details will be available when the investigation is complete.”
Municipal IDs available February 6
Woodstock Town Clerk Jackie Earley said her office has worked out the logistics and has set February 6 as the first day to issue municipal identification cards. The town passed a law December 10 making the cards possible, which will give undocumented Woodstock residents a way to identify themselves to officials, to open accounts in some banks or to gain access to their children’s school for example.
The cards will cost $10, or $5 for seniors and children.
While the cards will help immigrants with identification, they are for anyone who wants one. The town also hopes businesses will offer discounts to cardholders.
Earley said people should be prepared to show items that prove Woodstock residency and be able to provide a photo for the ID. The town will not retain any documents used to obtain the ID.
More information about the requirements will be posted on the town website, woodstockny.org and on the town Facebook page.
Comeau renovation bond vote soon
Councilman Richard Heppner said he plans to discuss some concerns about the Comeau offices renovation with architects Les and Jess Walker.
Heppner said he does not dispute the need for the project, but as the town historian, he wants to make sure the aesthetics match the 1911 building to which it will attach.
“We’re spending $2 million on this. Let’s make sure we’re doing it right,” Heppner said.
The Walkers will present an update on the project at a February Town Board meeting, said McKenna, who is aiming for a March bond vote.