Monroe Town Board lifts ban on trucks and buses

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:43

    MONROE - Those white Kiryas Joel buses will again be allowed on streets in and around the Hasidic village. Strong debate surrounding the amendment to lift the ban, which excluded the use of certain trucks and buses on specific streets, continued between the Monroe Town Board and the citizens attending Monday's meeting. There was also dissension among board members regarding this issue, before the final 3-2 vote. Board member comments and votes were as follows: • Lori Currier Woods clarified that the purpose of the law is to make the five affected streets "the same as other streets, not different." But she also stated that allowing buses on these five streets would be unsafe due to their size, and requested a 30,000 pound weight restriction for non-municipal vehicles. She voted against lifting the ban. • Peter Martin expressed his concerns for the ability of the town roads to handle mass transit, indicating that he felt it belonged on county roads that were constructed to handle it. He also voted against lifting the ban. • James Rogers addressed previous concerns about the buses emitting diesel fumes. He stated this was not an issue because these diesel fumes were no different than those emitted from vehicles driven by companies like Fed Ex and the area garbage trucks. He also indicated that the bus services are paid for by the people who utilize it. He voted in favor of lifting the ban. • Sandy Leonard indicated that additional information was needed to determine the affects on people who were not able to use town roads to get to county roads. She also stated that she would like to see a 35,000 pound weight limit for these vehicles. She voted in favor of lifting the ban. • Don Weeks did not express concerns before the final vote, but did vote in favor of lifting the ban. There will be five streets affected, partially or in their entirety, by this amendment. They are Irene Drive, Mountain View Drive, Raywood Drive, Seven Springs Road, and Toby Place. During public comment, several citizens expressed their discontent with the decision. A lady named Ann Krawet stated that by passing this law the board was "exacerbating the problem." She said the buses stop illegally which facilitates a dangerous situation for everyone, "including the Hasidic Jews." Krawet also questioned why Old Country Road was in the old law and not in the new one. She did agree that there was a need for mass transit, but felt the Dial-A-Bus program should be expanded to accommodate this need. Councilperson Martin responded that a pilot program for a fixed route Dial-A-Bus service had been started, and Supervisor Leonard added that the fixed route would "move up and down the 17M corridor." But she also indicated that the Dial-A-Bus service was never slated as a mass transit system. Additional issues during public comment included a concern relating to Peter Martin and Sandy Leonard attending a school board meeting, identifying themselves with their town titles, and more specifically, requesting that the school board begin taping their meetings for community viewing. Martin indicated that he attended the meeting in hopes of finding a way for the tax rate to be more evenhanded. He stated that in the last four years Monroe residents experienced a 45 percent increase due to the equalization rate, compared to 31 percent in Woodbury and 20 percent in Blooming Grove. He wants to see it become more equitable, since "this is the biggest tax we pay." Other business included the approval to use remaining funds from a $50,000 grant for the Pavilion, which plans to open Memorial Day weekend. Also, acknowledgment was that a meeting is needed, and will be scheduled, in the near future for residents to voice their concerns about water issues since the town recently purchased the local water company. For additional information regarding this board meeting, go to . The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 17, at the Monroe Senior Center.