Olmo Road set for qualified abandonment

Olmo Road, connecting County Route 353 and a private road, has been requested for qualified abandonment by a property owner with land on both sides of the dirt and gravel lane. The Rensselaerville Town Board will hold a public hearing on Jan. 7 on the road's abandonment, which would keep the public easement in place but remove the town's responsibility for maintenance.

RENSSELAERVILLE — At the request of a farmer on Olmo Road, the town board may make a portion of the road more private. A public hearing on the qualified abandonment of the road, off of County Route 353, is set for Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Furia Farms LLC and Furia Properties LLC are the listed owners for land on both sides of the road, Daniel Furia’s attorney, Jon Kosich said. The town’s abandonment would occur from the Furia land onward, continuing until the road becomes Thunder Hill Road, Kosich said.

Speaking to the town board during its November meeting, Kosich said his client had confronted people using drugs in a car parked on the road.

“My client didn’t appreciate that, but they were asserting their rights on the public roadway. By the time he could get any law enforcement involved, they were long gone,” said Kosich. He said Furia is also concerned about hunters trespassing on his property.

The town would no longer maintain the road, but a public easement would still exist. Kosich said Furia would allow the town highway department to create a space to turn-around.

“I feel that the board should request a gate. It was proposed that we barricade the… I’m not comfortable with that,” said Randall Bates, the town highway superintendent during the meeting. A gate would remain unlocked, and any member of the public wanting to use the road would be responsible for keeping the gate closed. The road could still be used as a highway for travel.

“Olmo Road was one of the best cross-country ski runs…It’s a wonderful section,” said Ernest Kuehl, a resident who lives near the road on County Route 10, during the November meeting. “Already, I’m upset that you’re thinking of making it limited access.”

Other business

In other business, during its December meeting, the town board:

— Heard from Supervisor Valerie Lounsbury that the Agriculture and Markets inspection of the town’s dog-control services resulted in a rating of satisfactory;

— Accepted, 5 to 0, the appointments of two court clerks, by recommendation of the town justices;

— Heard from Bates that repair for town roads is ongoing, as are repairs to the town’s older equipment.

Bates said the town’s newest truck has a calibrated spread system capable of keeping the amount of salt or sand consistent, despite the truck’s speed. He wants to use the truck to spread salt alone, saying it’s cheaper and more effective than using a sand mix.

“I think we’re going to save some money,” said Bates;

— Heard Assessor Richard Tollner give a reminder of the deadline for homeowners receiving Basic STAR (School Tax Relief) exemptions to register with the state tax department by Dec. 31;

— Heard from Douglas Story, the town’s water and sewer treatment officer, that the hamlet water system continues to filter large amounts of water, averaging 18,500 gallons per day in November. Story said he is continuing to look for leaks;

— Heard from Refuse and Recycling Coordinator Jon Whitbeck that hours would change to 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the transfer station on the Tuesdays before Christmas and New Year’s Day;

— Voted, 5 to 0, to extend the gas-drilling moratorium currently in effect. Lounsbury said all but one who attended the public hearing were in favor;

— Scheduled the town re-organizational meeting for Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.

Lounsbury said officials would be sworn in on Dec. 31 because some will be away on Jan. 1.

“Kathy wanted to make darn sure that we were covered,” said Lounsbury, referring to retiring Town Clerk Kathleen Hallenbeck; and

— Heard from Councilman Robert Bolte that a new plaque of names has been mounted on the veterans’ memorial at the town hall. Bolte said the words are small and difficult to read, but he plans to have them modified in the future.

Bolte reported a $1,000 contribution to the memorial had recently been made.

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