Plattekill is revising its tow policy

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 6/9/21

Police Chief Joe Ryan spoke to the Town Board last week about the town’s towing policy. He said the current towing policy allows cars to be towed by companies within 2 miles radius of the Town …

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Plattekill is revising its tow policy

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Police Chief Joe Ryan spoke to the Town Board last week about the town’s towing policy. He said the current towing policy allows cars to be towed by companies within 2 miles radius of the Town of Plattekill, “so the town wasn’t going to be arbitrary from eliminating people from outside of town to be able to tow, which could provide better services to the town.”

Chief Ryan spoke with two tow companies that are outside of town but are within the 2 mile limit.
“One requested that we put this off for about two weeks so we can discuss certain things, such as limiting fees,” he said.

Ryan said the town needs to replace their minor tow policy with a more comprehensive one, “that actually covers the town. And when people sign up for the tow list, we’re going to guarantee that they’re insured, they’ve got the proper equipment, the proper storage facility and that they provide a good service for a disabled vehicle in the Town of Plattekill.”

Ryan said storage spaces can be either indoor or outdoor but a tow operator must provide a secure impound area for evidence purposes when an investigation is needed after someone has died in a crash.

Croce said Ryan’s policy for the towing will be submitted to the town’s attorney for his review. Ryan added that if approved, his officers and anyone on the tow list will follow this policy.

“There has to be certain guidelines and the public expects that and we’re obligated to provide that service,” Chief Ryan said. “Whoever is on that list, I’m gonna be that guy making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Ryan said there are two tow companies in the town, “but we’re getting people from outside the border; one is in Gardner and one in Highland. I couldn’t be arbitrary in saying you can’t be on the tow list just because you live outside the town; that subjects the town to liability.”

Ryan explained that tow companies are on a rotating list that is handled by the dispatchers in the county Sheriff’s office, “just so that it’s fair and we’re [police department] not steering tows.”

Ryan said he will be meeting with all of the tow operators to get their input on the policy and at the June 16th Town Board meeting Ryan will present the board with any additions and/or revisions to the policy.

Board of Assessment
Last week Plattekill Councilman Dean DePew highlighted a section on the May 19th Town Board minutes where Valerie Smith was unaware that her term on the Board of Assessment Review had expired but she agreed to serve on that board for the May 27 Grievance Day session, “and she would take the online class and that would be it.” He said a letter of thanks should be sent to Smith for serving on that day but felt the board should continue to interview for the position for the remaining four year term.

Supervisor Joe Croce said although it is a 5 year term, Smith had agreed to serve for 1 year and would then resign. Smith also offered to resign if the Town Board found another individual they wished to appoint.

Croce recalled that the board did not appoint her for a 1 year term with DePew pointing out that the board did not actually vote at the May 19th meeting on this matter but it had been only a straw poll.

DePew said he found out that other people were interested in serving in that position but were not interviewed. He said Smith would be welcome to put in an application for the position along with all of the others.

New Recreation Director
The Town Board interviewed three individuals for the position of Recreation Directer because the present director, Stephanie Doland, is moving out of the area. The board hired Kimberly Way.

“She is a local person and we were all impressed with her,” Croce said, adding that the outgoing director will meet with Way to bring her up to date on the department, “and hopefully to make a smooth transition.”

Open Development Area Granted
Surveyor Patti Brooks reminded the board that a site plan is before the Planning Board for two parcels owned by Robert Earl of RG Earl Plattekill LLC on Rte. 44/55 that sit on the Plattekill/Lloyd town line. One parcel is 5 acres and the second is 30.2 acres.

Access to the parcel is through a 50 ft wide driveway that Earl has deeded easements to and a driveway maintenance agreement with his adjoining landowner.
Brooks said according to the tow code [Sec. 280 (a)] every lot must have frontage on a town, state or county approved highway or a roadway that has been suitably approved.

“There are two waivers – you can either ask for a variance if you don’t have road frontage or you can come to the Town Board and ask for an Open Development in accordance with Sec 280 (a) (4) in order to proceed with a site plan,” she said.

Brooks said her client has chosen to request the Open Development option. The Town Board had initially referred her back to the Planning Board who said they would not contest the granting of an Open Development designation by the Town Board. The Planning Board also said they would ensure proper review and construction of a roadway.

Brooks also sought a Negative Declaration [Neg Dec] determination from the Town Board, stating that this Open Development would have little to no environmental impact and thus would meet the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act [SEQRA]. She added that the Open Development designation would be subject to the Department of Transportation issuing a permit for access to the site and it must go through a site plan approval process by the Planning Board for the overall project. They will do their own separate SEQR review.

The board unanimously approved designations for the Open Development area and for a Negative Declaration.

Transfer Coupons Approved
The board approved a $20 coupon per household for the transfer station in the month of July for residents who have the permit to use the station.

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