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Setting the board

Jacqueline Herman
Posted 4/19/24

BETHEL — During the Bethel Town Board meeting Wednesday, April 10, three topics were brought forward that are of prominent interest to the public, including the potential installation of …

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Setting the board


BETHEL — During the Bethel Town Board meeting Wednesday, April 10, three topics were brought forward that are of prominent interest to the public, including the potential installation of outdoor, public Chess tables.

A letter from Shannon Cilento of Sullivan 180 announced an award to the Town of a Municipal Partnership Grant of four outdoor Chess tables that cost a total of $5,300. They will be placed outside near The Forest Reserve in Smallwood, near the Dog Park, also in Smallwood, in the Gazebo Park, within the Town Park and Pool area, and will be accessible to all Town residents.

Supervisor Dan Sturm commented, “This is all part of the Town’s Health Initiative.” He also displayed a large poster picture of the new outside children’s playground, funded in part by a grant last year from the same organization, that is half built and should be ready in a few weeks.

The grant presentation will take place Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the CVI Building in Liberty.


Asso. of Supervisors’ 

letter to Hochul

There was a unanimous vote during a meeting April 3, by the 13 Town Supervisors present, in strong opposition of the proposed Faith-Based Affordable Housing Act that would strip localities of Home Rule, as defined in Article IX, Sec. 2 of the NYS Constitution.

Purportedly designed as a panacea to the lack of affordable housing in NYC, there is concern about its environmental impact. The Act would allow 30 dwelling units per acre; full reviews under SEQRA would not be required as long as certifications of Phase 1 Environmental Assessments and soil and water testing are completed according to Department of Enviormental Conservation (DEC) standards; and there is professional attestation that the buildings won’t violate state wetland or drinking water laws. 

The letter itemizes increases in public services that such large, high-density development would demand and the inability of our local rural towns to support such costs. 

“We would have no protection against the loss of air and water quality and the additional burdens on public services,” the letter reads.

Protection of open spaces would be inflicted by a growing population causing “clear-cutting of forests, littering, less habitat for indigenous species, impacts on agriculture, and huge increases in traffic.” Sullivan County’s cherished natural environment and our tourism industry would be threatened.” 

As a large agricultural producer and contributor to our nation’s food supply for generations, the county would be negatively affected by allowing this type of development.

The letter urges the Governor to support existing local Zoning laws rather than allow such laws that override ours.

The letter was also sent to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Chair of the Sullivan County Legislature Nadia Rajsz and NYS Senator Peter Oberacker.


Request to increase access

A letter dated April 3 to officials of the Town from Joyce Caracci of Smallwood was read aloud, as it addressed the need to allow Zoom access to Planning and Zoning Board meetings.

She enumerated reasons such as the inability of some people to drive, the necessities of caregiving duties and health conditions, which cause many residents to miss meetings where topics that impact their lives are discussed. 

“Please show compassion for all our town residents… Maintaining and preserving the health and safety of the citizens living in the Town of Bethel must always be a priority in considering future projects…As a Bronze Designated Climate Smart town, the use of the remote access feature will help reduce our town’s greenhouse emissions,” Caracci wrote. 

“It seems prudent to use the available technology already in place to share information via Zoom…The community needs to have the facts regarding projects that affect the environment and health of all Bethel constituents.”


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