Several announcements and discussions of both celebratory and sober matters came up at the Monroe town board meeting on August 15.
Sal Scancarello, a town councilman, announced that the Cheese Festival will return to Monroe this September 10, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will be held on Lake Street. The festival was an annual tradition since 1995, celebrating the town’s cheese-making background, before going on a hiatus from 2015 onward.
“A wonderful group of volunteers are bringing back the Cheese Festival...beer and wine garden, tons of craft vendors, it’ll be the old cheese festival that you guys remember,” said Scancarello, encouraging residents to support the event.
Later in the meeting, the board congratulated four newly appointed officials who volunteered for open town board positions. These officials included Zachery Murphy, appointed as a zoning board of appeals alternate member, Dylan Penn, appointed as a planning board regular member, and Robert Hartak and Louis Rivera, appointed as planning board alternate members.
“Four in one meeting, that’s fantastic. Thank you guys for stepping up,” said Dorey Houle, a town councilwoman.
Concluding the meeting were public comments; despite not appearing on the agenda, the comments exclusively addressed Rye Hill Preserve housing project plans, featuring numerous questions and statements made by several residents.
“What would it take for you to acknowledge that people don’t want this?” asked Carol Hawxhurst, a Monroe resident and co-founder of the local environmental group Preserve Monroe. “There are over 700 members on Preserve Monroe who oppose the change in zoning in this area and are also against this development.”
John Deschner, another resident, argued that the project’s design could be problematic for senior citizens. “The garages underneath aren’t doing the senior citizens any good because they have to carry their groceries up another flight of stairs,” he said, suggesting that the building should only contain two stories, among other changes.
Mike Endrizzi, a fellow resident, pointed to the Meadow Glen townhomes as an example of how developer promises can go awry.
“The builder planned a bunch of homes with the restriction that 20% would be affordable housing. Then there was this big boom in housing, and suddenly they made a deal with the approval of the board, not you guys of course, where they allowed the affordable housing to disappear,” he said.
Mike McGinn, another town councilman, said that, while the town board cannot address these questions right now, the planning board can, during its future public hearings.