Briefly noted in New Paltz (11/3/21)

A picture from last year’s celebration.

Reverence Day/Day of the Dead celebration in New Paltz

The New Paltz Rural Cemetery will be sponsoring its 12th annual day to remember our loved ones who have passed this Sunday, November 7 from noon to 3 p.m. There will be music, sharing of memories,  free flowers and decorations for graves and for your homes in honor of your loved ones who may be buried elsewhere. 

Two years ago Mayor Tim Rogers proclaimed every first Sunday in November to be “Reverence Day.” The Oxford dictionary defines “reverence” as “deep respect for someone or something.”

  A form of this annual holiday is celebrated in varied ways worldwide. Many countries celebrate with a family reunion atmosphere. In Mexico, the famous “Day of the Dead” is celebrated with colorful festivals, parades, altars honoring the dead and family gatherings. In Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland, people bring flowers to the sites. In Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Norway and Finland, friends and families light candles. In Guatemala, “The Flying of the Kites” is celebrated to represent a connection to the transition of souls. In the Philippines, the “Day of those who have Died” is celebrated with friends and families visiting graves to clean and repair tombs and offer prayers, candles and flowers. These are only a few examples of varied celebrations across the globe, celebrations that bring families and communities together in honor of those who have passed.

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The cemetery is located at 81 Plains Road in New Paltz.

Chamber Foundation to merge with New Paltz Rotary

The Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz, the not-for-profit arm of the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be merging its membership with the New Paltz Rotary organization. With the dissolution of the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber Foundation Board has chosen to combine its talents, energy and focus with those of the New Paltz Rotary.

“We were saddened to learn of the closing of the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce,” states Foundation Board president Teresa Thompson. “Their decision left us in a difficult situation. As a nonprofit, our organization has been growing by leaps and bounds, and we all wanted to continue that forward momentum. We have been giving scholarships to graduating high school seniors and adult learners in our community for over a decade now, and we want to continue to provide this very important service.”

Fortunately, the New Paltz Rotary also provides scholarships to area community members, and now will be able to offer even more, with the Chamber Foundation’s help. “By bringing the Chamber Foundation members under the Rotary umbrella, we will be able to increase our scholarship efforts in the New Paltz community,” says New Paltz Rotary president Lauren Rooney. “We are excited to welcome the Foundation Board as new members of New Paltz Rotary and truly believe they all exhibit the ‘Service above self’ attributes that define who Rotary is as a global organization.”

“We are grateful that Rotary president Lauren Rooney reached out to us,” states Thompson. “Our Board members are excited to become Rotarians and to continue the work we started at the Foundation. We are looking forward to expanding the Rotary’s portfolio of scholarships and helping to increase the number of scholarship recipients in the future. We are thankful for the many years of support this community has shown to the Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz and hope that this support will carry over to the New Paltz Rotary.”

Town of New Paltz seeks volunteers

The Town of New Paltz is looking for volunteers to serve on the Board of Assessment Review, Bike/Ped Committee, Environmental Conservation Board, Ethics Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Police Commission and Public Access Committee. Interested parties may submit a letter of interest and résumé to the supervisor’s office at PO Box 550, New Paltz NY 12561 or e-mail assistant@townofnewpaltz.org.

Town of Gardiner looking for volunteers

The Town of Gardiner has existing and upcoming vacancies on the following boards and committees: Assessment Review Board, Parks & Recreation, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. The Town of Gardiner is also looking for a part-time building inspector. Interested parties should send a résumé with letter of interest to Supervisor Majestic at supervisor.tog@gmail.com or mail to PO Box #1, Gardiner NY 12525.

New Paltz/Gardiner seniors welcome William Minifie

The New Paltz/Gardiner Senior Club will meet on Wednesday, November 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the New Paltz Veterans of Foreign Wars social hall, located on Route 208 south of the Village of New Paltz. The program will feature writer, artist, contractor, photographer and Broadway singer William (Bill) Minifie, who will entertain the group with “Patriotic Songs of Broadway.” Also, help salute veterans at the club’s annual Flag Ceremony.

For additional information, call Kathy Rivera at (646) 361-5190.

New hours for New Paltz Reuse/Recycling Center beginning November 2

Effective Tuesday, November 2, the New Paltz Reuse and Recycling Center will be open the following hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily. The Center will be closed on Sunday and Monday. In the event of a Monday holiday, the Center will be closed that Tuesday. For more information, please visit www.townofnewpaltz.org/recyclingreuse or call (845) 255-8456 during business hours.

In BeTWEEN the Stacks Book Club at Gardiner Library

The Gardiner Library presents the In BeTWEEN the Stacks Book Club on Sunday, November 7 from 2 to 3 p.m. for ages 10 to 12. Come discuss The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan and be part of a lively discussion about the book and Egyptian mythology. Share thoughts, play games, design a 3-D Bastet wall hanging and enjoy refreshments.

Preregistration is necessary and limited. For more information and registration, contact Carolyn at cthorenz@rcls.org. The Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike. Call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

Plants for Sale: Buyer Beware at Gardiner Library 

The Gardiner Library presents “Plants for Sale: Buyer Beware” on Thursday, November 4 from 7 to 8 p.m. Join Mike Nelson, a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, for a lively in-person or via Zoom discussion about invasive plants for sale and the ongoing spread of invasive species by the plant trade industry.

Nelson’s presentation will provide suggestions for native alternatives to popular ornamental invasive plants that will both beautify our landscape and improve our ecosystems. This talk is presented by the Gardiner Environmental Conservation Commission.

E-mail eccgardinerny@outlook.com to register for in-person and/or receive the Zoom link. Participants will be required to wear masks. The Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike. For additional information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit www.gardinerlibrary.org.

Town of Gardiner special public input session

A public input session is scheduled for the Town of Gardiner on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 p.m. This meeting is intended for members of the community to raise their voices and concerns regarding the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update, which is on track to be adopted soon. According to Gardiner Town supervisor Marybeth Majestic, “The Town Board seeks all input from the community about what you would like for Gardiner’s future. We have a final draft of the update to the Comprehensive Plan available on our website and encourage all members of the community to read the document and attend this special meeting on November 16 to share your feedback on how the final enacted Comprehensive Plan will best reflect the community of Gardiner.”

This meeting will be held as a hybrid meeting over Zoom and in-person at the Town Hall, 2340 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. Join the Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88654824926?pwd=WXBuck44UTVZTkVJckdiWEJnRHlKUT09 (meeting ID: 886 5482 4926, passcode: 417014), or dial in by phone, using the meeting ID and passcode above: 1 (929) 205-6099.

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The final working draft of the Comp Plan update is posted at www.townofgardiner.org/comprehensive-plan for the public to view and download. All public input is requested and will be considered for the final version of this document. The Town Board is interested in changes or additions people may wish to see reflected in the document before it is accepted and enacted by the Town. Submit written comments to the Gardiner Town Board, PO Box 1, Gardiner NY 12525, or e-mail compplan.tog@gmail.com, or call the Town supervisor at (845) 255-9675, extension 101.

New bid to manage building design in the Village of New Paltz

New Paltz Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members have been lobbying for ways to use their expertise to guide building design in the Village for several years.  At the October 27 Village Board meeting, they offered what appears to be a simple way to achieve that, using the power to create local historic districts.  There’s only one in the Village now, on Huguenot Street.  Creating another along Main would give commissioners the power to determine if the outward appearance is “appropriate” in context.  According to Tom Olsen, chair of the Commission, what’s important is not any person’s individual tastes, but how a building design fits into the historic context around it.

There’s already state and federal historic districts covering much of Main Street, and the most minimal approach to creating a new Village district would use identical lines.  There are arguments for extending it up Main Street to the eastern Village line, though, and Mayor Tim Rogers mused aloud that including North Chestnut Street and the “pit” property adjacent to Village Hall might also make sense.

Two laws passed at this meeting already grant HPC members review rights over more projects.  Anything proposed in the B-2 zone along Main Street, and any new accessory apartment, must be reviewed for appropriateness if there are external changes to the site, including new construction.

No action was taken on this proposal.  It’s been a long time since an historic district was created, and as is typical in these cases, trustees would rather have an attorney explain to them how that particular law works before they decide if they wish to invoke it in this way.

— Terence P Ward

New zoning, rental rules passed in New Paltz

After keeping public hearings open for months, Village of New Paltz trustees at their October 27 meeting closed those hearings and passed laws that would rezone much of Main Street, as well as make it possible to build and rent out an accessory apartment in one’s home.

The zoning change converts the B-1 business district to B-2, and brings in some design principles used in the neighborhood-business-residential zone.  B-2 has more uses than B-1, such as hotels.  The NBR principles include building closer to the road and ensuring that there’s at least one floor of apartments atop any commercial use.

Homeowners will now be able to construct accessory apartments in their own homes, which is seen as a way to both increase available units, and provide a tool for keeping homes affordable for long-term living.

— Terence P Ward

Solution offered for managing public comment

New Paltz Village Board member Stana Weisburd has noticed that members of the public don’t always feel like the rules around public comment are consistently applied and has offered a solution.  What occurs during Village meetings is that board members will sometimes engage in conversation with someone making a comment, and at other times they will remind attendees that there’s a time limit and seek to enforce it.  While Mayor Tim Rogers feels that the procedures are enforced consistently, that isn’t always how it’s seen during contentious meetings.

Weisburd suggests that a time limit only be used if the number of people wishing to speak exceeds a cap — which would be set by the trustees.  However, Rogers pointed out that it’s not easy to know how many people are going to speak, since some of them might decide only after hearing others that they have something to add.  Weisburd will work on the details and come back with specific recommendations about what to change in the written policy.

— Terence P Ward

Correction

In the story about the October 4 meeting of the New Paltz Town Planning Board, a reference made to 13,000 truckloads of fill was incorrect; the correct number was 1,600 truckloads of fill. The reporter regrets the error.

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