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March 5, 2013

Village OKs parking, snow removal changes

By Greg Klein
The Daily Star

---- — The Cooperstown Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved two changes to the village charter at its February meeting on Feb. 25*.

Local Law No. 3 will amend the charter to allow paid parking on Pioneer Street from the northern boundary of the business district to Stagecoach Lane. The northern boundary of the business district is considered to extend to just past Tillapaugh Funeral Service at 28 Pioneer St. The previous plan for paid parking had it ending at Stagecoach Lane.

Local Law No. 4 amends street and sidewalk regulations to raise the fine for not removing snow and ice from sidewalks. Residents have 24 hours after a storm to remove snow and ice from sidewalks. In addition, businesses must keep sidewalks free of snow and ice from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The new law raises the fine to “not more than $250” as the previous fine of up to $100 was deemed too low. At the board’s January meeting, several members expressed concern that the fine was so low that some residents were viewing it as a good price for snow removal services and therefore abusing village resources.

The amendment also lowers the amount of snowfall needed to ban public parking on all village streets from 6 inches to 2.5 inches.

Both new laws had public hearings Feb. 25; however, no residents commented on them.

The board also set four public hearings for its meeting March 25:

• To amend the village charter to allow the zoning board to require neighbor notification for all structural changes to a house or property.

• To consider six zoning law changes recommended by the Economic Sustainability Committee.

• To consider changing or rescinding the recently placed two-hour parking limit on the north side of South Street.

• To adopt a law, similar to the one adopted last year, to allow the village to exceed the state’s 2 percent tax cap.

“That doesn’t mean we are going to raise taxes,” Mayor Jeff Katz said. “It just protects us in case we goof on the budget.”

In other actions, the board voted unanimously to allow the fire department to put up pinwheels in April for Child Abuse Prevention Month and to celebrate Red Cross Month in March with a flag raising to be held with members of the Mohawk Valley American Red Cross. The date for the flag raising will be announced later.

Trustee Cynthia Falk, chairwoman of the Streets and Buildings Committee, told the board that four bids for paid parking machines were received, and meetings have been set with the two vendors who submitted the lowest bids. It is possible that the board will call a special meeting for Wednesday to select a bid winner in time to have the system in place for the tourist season, village clerk Teri Barown said.

Bids were taken for machines that take coins and credit cards, and machines that take coins, credit cards and bills. However, Falk said that while doing research, her committee learned that the machines that take bills have caused a large number of complaints because of mechanical problems.

Hectronic’s bids were for $6,695 per machine that took just coins and credit cards and $9,800 for machines that also took dollars. ATI’s bids were $6,680 and $9,533 per machine respectively. Since the bid prices were nearly equal, Falk said she wanted the board members to be able to see the machines so that they could make a decision based on usability factors.

The board also delayed action on a proposal to change zoning laws on tourist accommodations. The zoning board is considering proposals to limit tourist accommodations based on street frontage and lot size.

*Editor's note: This story was changed at 10:45 a.m. March 5 to reflect the correct date of the meeting.