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Meeting Date : July 8, 2015
Download Minutes : Download File

Proposed Local Law No. A (Proposed) of 2015 entitled “A LOCAL LAW TO ENACT A NEW CHAPTER 173 OF THE VILLAGE CODE ENTITLED ‘PUBLIC URINATION OR DEFECATION’”. This Local Law enacts a new Chapter 173 of the Village Code pursuant to § 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York and New York Constitution, Article IX, in order to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare.

Proposed Local Law No. B (Proposed) of 2015 entitled “A LOCAL LAW TO ENACT A NEW CHAPTER 153 OF THE VILLAGE CODE ENTITLED ‘NUISANCES’” relating to nuisance parties.

Proposed Local Law No. C (Proposed) of 2015 entitled “A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND CHAPTER 151 OF THE VILLAGE CODE ENTITLED ‘NOISE’” relating to an increase in penalties for violation of the Village’s Noise law.

On a motion by Trustee Schneider, seconded by Deputy Mayor Bruno, Mayor Griffith opened the public hearing at 6:38 pm at the Historic Watts DePeyster Hall, Tivoli, NY.

Present: Mayor Griffith, Deputy Mayor Bruno, Trustees Ezrati, Majer and Schneider.

Public: Alexandra Smith, Jacob Haisley, Terry L. McGinley, William McGinley, Pri Carlin, Brendan Hunt, Barbara Eichin, Howard and Phyllis Pellet, Louise and Vincent DuBois, Virginia Lopez, Pat Dreyfus, Quinn Moreland, Kathleen and Bruce Franck, Sam Williams,
Jim O’Keely, Lisa Schwartzbaum,. Rich Schiafo, Leigh Palmer, John Hallstein, Izzy Lueng, Peter McCormack, Dave and Karen Cleaveland, Jessica Chappe, Marion Albers, Katie McDonough, Pippa Kelmerea, Collin Leitch, Sal Maneri, Danielle Riou, Robert Waterhouse, Melinda and Jesse Lowe, Leslie Baker, Kellan Rohde, Max Babigian, Jess Leigh, Clark Hamel, Lena Hardy, Kaitlyn Skester, Kenda Favre, Everett Pearsall, Julio Olivencia, Jackie Szatko, Camila Sobral, William Dedrick, Mira Rahim, John Jeworski, Kathy O’Connor, Mike Piastro, Olivia Williams, Katie O’Keefe, Michele Greig, Bob Zises, Slara Vukelic, Loren Jackson, Susannah Yugler, Chloe Chappe, Greg Moynahan, Jennifer Harris, Michael Rhodes, Gerard Hurley, Amy Cohen, Alex Zane, Stacey Rein, Habami Gunn, Alex Habiby, Dana Weidman, Mike Prudhom, Susan Huyser, Matthew Kobalkin, Michael Tesoriero, and Martin and
Maria Clarke.

This public hearing is to hear all interested persons on the proposed Local Laws, A, B and C of 2015.

Mayor Griffith’s opening remarks:

Good evening. Welcome to the Historic Watts dePeyster Hall. Thank you all, each and every one of you, for being here tonight. If you are here tonight- you care about the affairs of the Village of Tivoli, and whatever your position on the issues before us this evening,that you care and participate is a highly commendable thing.

The sheer number of people who have come here tonight also demonstrates that these proposed laws and the social and cultural phenomena they were drafted to address, are big issues in the historic moment in which this Village finds itself. I believe Tivoli’s “college town” phenomena define our moment as much as our daunting challenges with a 77 year old water and sewer system. They are at the top of the list. I think this turnout confirms that assessment. This stuff is important. What we should or will do about it is controversial and difficult. But any Mayor of Tivoli in the year 2015 who did not name these issues, speak out about them and try to address them, would be a very poor Mayor indeed.

So here it is plainly stated: Tivoli and its residents have suffered too long from disruptive late-night noise caused by partying in the Village. Hollering in the streets and house parties. That is why this legislation has come forward.

I know there are myriad associated issues of town and gown and we will get to work on them all. That is going to take some time, but this is where it starts. If there is to be good feeling and respect between all members of this community, every resident must be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep in their own home. Every resident must see respect and care given to their neighborhood. We must remember each other in our actions. I believe these things are a pre-requisite for all the vital work that lies ahead of us.

Now, the Tivoli we are living in is not the Tivoli of 1980, or 1990. Not the Village we knew in 2000 or 2010. Now it’s Tivoli, 2015 and we as a Village Board, and we as a community need to think about what kind of place Tivoli is going to be this year, next year, in 2020 and beyond. We have that opportunity, and the responsibility.

This legislation is all about how we will choose to cohabitate in this fabulous little Village. It is about what level of obligation, tolerance, thoughtfulness, and respect we ought to show one-another. When I say we, I mean everyone in this room, owner, renter, landlord, tenant, student, non-student, I mean those who’ve called Tivoli home for a year and those who’ve been here for 50, and I mean all of us. This legislation is about what we as a diverse, close-knit and closely -housed community, deem suitable, necessary, livable, and legal. This is the conversation before us this evening.

When the Village board of trustees seeks to pass a local law we are required- by the laws of NY state- to hold a public hearing, so that residents know what their government is doing, and so that the board can take the pulse of the community and craft the best legislation possible. We are required to do this, but the truth is we welcome it. If something is going on in our community of such seriousness and severity that the board thinks we need a new law to address it, we want everyone to know about it and we want your input to inform our deliberations, and our votes.

So that we can have a useful hearing I am going to take a few minutes to explain the details of the legislation, we need to be very clear about what these laws are, what they are not, and I don’t want anyone to misunderstand their details.

I hope that public urination/defecation doesn’t require much clarification. While researching and then drafting this legislation we discovered that the Village of Tivoli, unlike most communities in the world, doesn’t have anything on the books about these acts. The nuisance gathering law is modeled on laws adopted in the town of Poughkeepsie and the City of Cortland and cites 13 already ticketable offences, one of which is urination/defecation. Tivoli does not have this in place, so the Village board is proposing to get this on the law books. If anyone would like to comment later on the fittingness of this proposed law, I’m sure we will all be eager to hear what you have to say.

I’m going to skip to Law C, Noise. Here we are making no changes to the longstanding noise ordinance except to increase the fines. Historically the 1st, 2nd and 3rd offences incur fines of $50, $100, and $250. We propose to increase them to $150, $300, and $500.

A few highlights from the existing 1998 noise ordinance (you can find the entire Village code at the Village website, just Google Tivoli, NY and follow the links):

Among other things, the noise law Tivoli has had in place for the last seventeen years states “No person shall make, cause, allow, or permit to be made any unreasonable noise within the geographical boundaries of the Village.”

Later it lists specific acts to be considered unreasonable noise:
Here are a few: “The shouting, yelling, calling, or hooting at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort and repose of a reasonable person of normal sensibilities.”

“The use of any sound reproduction device outside a structure or inside a structure in such a manner as to result in the sound from such apparatus to be projected there from between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 am”

“Sound which can be heard from inside a structure across any property boundary, where all exterior doors and windows are closed, shall be deemed to be projected within the meaning of this subsection.”

What the heck does that mean? That means music, the stereo, DJ, band, etc. If you’re in your house with your doors and windows closed and you can hear the music next door, or further down the street, it’s too loud. That’s what the standing noise law already says!

Again we are proposing no changes in the standing noise law except to increase the fines or violation.

Lastly the most significant and most complex proposed law – B- Nuisances

In plain English this law addresses disruptive gatherings or parties.

I have conducted extensive research on “college towns” across the country and most have some version of this law. The Town of Poughkeepsie with Vassar, Marist, the Culinary and Dutchess adopted this law about a year and half ago. I have had multiple interviews with Town of Poughkeepsie Supervisor Tancredi, Chief Spero of the Town of Poughkeepsie PD and the town attorneys who drafted their law and by all reports it has made a significant improvement in the frequency and proliferation of disruptive late-night parties they were experiencing.

Here is how the law would work:
If there is a gathering in the Village, great-no problem.

If the gathering features any of thirteen illegal acts or events, the gathering just became a nuisance gathering and would be subject to this law and its penalties.

Here are the thirteen acts or events

Disorderly conduct. (fighting- among other things)

Unlawful possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage, public urination or defecation

Unlawful sale, furnishing, dispensing or consumption of an alcoholic beverage.

Sale or furnishing of an alcoholic beverage to an underage person.

Unlawful sale or possession or use of a controlled substance.

Unlawful deposit of litter or refuse.

Unlawful damage or destruction of real or personal property.

Unlawful pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Standing or parking of vehicles that obstruct the free flow of traffic on the public streets or sidewalks, or that impedes the ability to render emergency services.

Trespassing.

Exposure of a person or public lewdness.

And here’s the biggie, and if these laws pass I’m sure this is the trigger that would be most common:

Violation of any section of Chapter 151, Noise, of the Village of Tivoli Code.

NOW-If a ticketing officer arrives and writes any/ one or more of these thirteen violations at a gathering they would also write the nuisance gathering ticket.

The fines are $250 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $2,500 for the third offense. These fines are tough and they are designed to be.

Now I want to explain, so everyone understands, what I refer to as the “landlord mechanism”.
If a tenant is convicted of a nuisance gathering, the Village sends a notification in writing, to the landlord of the property, informing them that a violation has occurred. If a second violation occurs at the same address, doesn’t have to be the same tenants, a second letter is
sent to the property owner. If there is a third conviction in a two year period the landlord will be ticketed for the amount of $250 and then $1,000 and $2,500 if the violations continue.

The idea here is that a landlord cannot turn a blind eye to the behavior of their tenants or the negative effects the actions of the tenants may have on the neighborhood. But, a landlord has plenty of time and plenty of warning so that they can address the situation, through
speaking with their tenants, or drafting a better lease, or otherwise taking action. There is little reason a conscientious landlord should ever have to get a fine. The idea is not to be punitive but to have a mechanism whereby the landlord must be responsible for- and has
a stake in what goes on at their rentals.

Also this law states that if a nuisance gathering is underway the police have the authority to break up the party and send everyone home who does not reside at the address. The party gets too loud and the party will end.

So those are the three proposed laws.

There is no reason anyone needs to get these tickets-provided they figure out how not to disturb their neighbors. Most of us are pretty smart and most of us can figure that out. The Village of Tivoli is too small not to take other residents into consideration when it comes to late night noise. My hope, if these laws are adopted, is that they will serve as a deterrent against the disruptive late-night behavior we have seen and certainly heard, too often in Tivoli in recent years. I hope they will put in place consequences adequately severe to make everybody think about where they are before and as they act.

It is my opinion that these laws promote personal responsibility, common decency, and community consciousness. Anyone who wants to revel in Tivoli, late at night will have two options, Option one, do your thing without disturbing your neighbors, go inside, do it early,
keep it small, keep it down. Be cool.

Or if you want to have a big rager with thumping music, kegs in the yard, band on the porch, dancing and hollering till the wee hours, you will have to find another place other than this Village. I realize that is going to be a big change, but that is the whole point. A big change is long overdue. A small residential Village is not capable of accommodating parties like that while other people are trying to sleep. But it is a very big world out there, and those more suitable places can most definitely be found.

Now quickly the ground rules for a public hearing.

First I have the responsibility of recognizing each speaker; I will call on folks who raise their hand to speak. There are a lot of people here, please be patient. I promise that everyone who wishes to will get a chance to speak.

Second, when you speak, it would be great if you could stand, please state your name and your address before you begin. If your name has a fabulous or uncommon spelling, please spell it so the clerk can record it properly for the record.

Third when recognized by me, a speaker is limited to three minutes. The 3 minute rule is not to limit comment. On the contrary, it is to expand comment by permitting the greatest number of people to speak. So please don’t go into a filibuster. We have a large crowd
this evening if ten people spoke for 6 minutes that’s and hour right there and I know about half this room wants to get over to Traghaven for trivia tonight. But seriously, please, 3 minutes if you can.

Fourth, and this is the most important and most unusual if you’ve never been to one of these before. All speakers will direct their comments to the Village board. You don’t turn and address other members of the floor. It is too easy to get into a nasty back and forth. We are elected officials; it is our duty and our pleasure to receive comments from the floor whether they are tender or toxic. Please direct your comments to the board.

So, raise your hand to be recognized, state your name and address, kindly keep it to 3 minutes and direct your comments to the board. Once again thank you for being here, thanks for caring about this community, OK Tivoli, First comment please.

Sam Williams – 52 Broadway

  • Will Local Law B apply to each tenant at a residence? The person or persons who are in control of the residence.

Jake Haisley – Kingston

  • When people leave a party, is the tenant still liable for them? What is the distance? It’s at the discretion of the officer

Stacey Rein – 92 Montgomery

  • Asked for clarification of fees for the nuisance law.
  • What are the penalties for not paying fines? An arrest warrant can be issued.

Alexander Smith – Kingston

  • What is the definition of disorderly conduct?
  • Fighting and tumultuous behavior, unreasonable noise, profane language and independently hazardous or offensive conditions that serve no real purpose such as public urinating and defecation.

Max Babigian– 39 Broadway

  • Read a prepared statement
  • Lack of organized communication between the Village and the Bard community
  • Wants to propose an official method of communication
  • What form it will take is unclear
  • Wants to take a leading role to work with the Mayor and other members of the community
  • Mayor will set a schedule of days to meet with students- perhaps on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month – is open to meet with any and all students
  • Come and talk to the Mayor and/or the Board of Trustees

Pete Mauney -78 Montgomery St

  • Has had to explain to small children why they are awakened by parties at 3:00 am on weekdays
  • Suspend laws on Friday and Saturday nights
  • Students should take an active role in the community

Alex Zane – 6 Friendship St

  • Approves of new laws
  • What are acceptable decibel levels?
  • They are at the discretion of the ticketing officer – decibel levels are just one tool of measurement and are often used for machinery that is run for a long period of time. The majority of the tickets are written under the reasonable man paragon, a state-wide legal term. If a noise is excessive to a reasonable person, including a police officer, a ticket may be issued.
  • Is drumming at 1:00 pm considered a nuisance? Mayor asked what is livable and tolerable? Perhaps try to be on speaking terms with your neighbors to resolve issues.

Matthew Kobalkin – Broadway

  • Is a musician
  • Loud music like drumming is annoying any time of day

Amy Cohen – 42 Broadway

  • She is an opera singer and cannot afford to rent a studio so she practices at home
  • Practicing does not go on for hours like construction machinery.

Melinda Lowe – 14 Memorial Drive

  • Children are awaken at 2:00 am by party noise
  • Sheriff does not come soon enough – state troopers come but cannot enforce the laws
  • She has experienced people trespassing, a drunken student trying to enter her home late at night, beer cans and trash in her yard
  • Skate park is being used at 9:30 pm
  • Basketball park is used at 3:00 am
  • Couple in the park behind the community garden having intercourse – sheriff responded almost one hour later

Patricia Dreyfus – Feroe Ave

  • Lawn mowing and weed trimmers are too loud
  • Let noise happen on the weekends

Slava Vukelic – 98 Montgomery Street

  • Used to live on Pine Street and witnessed 50 students coming from the park through the schoolhouse parking lot
  • Called the police when she heard a female screaming – thought there was violence – police did not come
  • Now lives at Montgomery Street and it’s quieter

Mayor Griffith

  • Call the Dutchess County Sheriff at 486-3800 to report incidents
  • Call 911 if there is an emergency
  • The police coverage is a large expense to control the late night noise

Philipa- 5 North Road

  • Music Major – studios are expensive – her house is the only place to practice
  • Are there curfews for practicing music?
  • Are there practice rooms at Bard that can be used? The rooms have limited access

Mayor Griffith

  • Noise ordinance is clear – quiet time is 10:00 pm to 7:00 am
  • The law is murky for the rest of the time. It will continue to be reviewed.
  • Use common sense – talk to your neighbors, close your windows, etc.
  • Practicing during the day is better than late at night.

Grady – 5098 Route 9G

  • Have a healthy relationship with your neighbor
  • Establish barriers with neighbors for both sides

Deputy Mayor Bruno

  • Communication is the key
  • Has a neighbor who plays drums and needs to practice

Kellan Rohde – 9 Pine St

  • Was given community service instead of paying a fine – was a positive experience. Will community service be given in lieu of fines?
  • Mayor stated that the judicial branch of the Village has the discretion for penalties

Martin Clarke – Tivoli landlord

  • Doesn’t want it to be Tivoli vs. Bard
  • It’s about civilized behavior

Mary – 5 North Road

  • Two incidents in the past two months where the same man threatened students with getting a gun and went to house and came back with a baseball bat – not civilized behavior.

Mayor Griffith

  • The actions of one individual does not represent one entire side
  • Has just begun to hear from students in the past few days
  • Saddened by incidents – if you are threatened, assaulted, or if there has been a criminal act against you, call 911.
  • Would like to hear about incidents also

Trustee Schneider

  • All persons in the community are accountable for their actions
  • Create community resolutions without the police

Barbara Eichin – 10 Friendship St

  • Does not have noise issues with Bard students on Friendship Street
  • There is a sense of entitlement – people believe they are above the law
  • Liaison is not needed – one on one is more effective
  • Need more people to come to meetings

Jessica Chetz– 5 Washburn

  • Wrote notes to neighbors after a party
  • Gave phone numbers to neighbors to call if the party is too loud
  • Will officers still come to loud parties if no one calls? Yes – if there are there are scheduled patrols and the officer hears the noise

Jacob Small – 65 Broadway

  • If officer is on patrol and hears the noise, can a ticket be issued? Yes the law can be enforced.
  • Doesn’t feel that this is right.

Liza McCrae – Tivoli

  • Doesn’t like the idea of fines
  • Wants offenders to have community service
  • Fines send a bad message-
  • Communication is being broken down

Amy – Kingston

  • Former resident and landlord
  • Punitive and punishing to the Bard students

Gwen Mooreland – not a Tivoli resident

  • There is eye rolling and sighing in the audience when people don’t agree
  • Be accepting and listen to everyone’s problems

Rory – 45 Broadway

  • Bard students cannot afford to pay fines
  • Students live off campus because of the cost of living on campus
  • Cares about the Village
  • Doesn’t want parties to get out of control – kids come and get out of control
  • If there are fines, will not be able to pay rent

Mayor Griffith

  • Host needs to call police if the disruptive parties won’t leave.
  • Lower fines have not worked – getting tickets is up to you

Rich Schiafo- Montgomery Street

  • Laws on the books don’t get enforced
  • Police don’t respond
  • Fines need to be considerably higher
  • Laws will not heal the divide between the students and the Village
  • Citizens need to be able to identify the complaint and file the complaint
  • People are going to take the law into their own hands
  • I have baseball bats
  • I will do what I have to do to defend my home for my right to peace and quiet in my home

Mayor Griffith

  • Disagrees that there is no law enforcement in the Village

Jessica Leigh – 41 Broadway

  • Cares about Tivoli – considers it to be her home
  • Wants to protect her home also without aggressive behavior

Karen Cleaveland – 72 Broadway

  • Always greets a passersby
  • Village is getting better each year
  • Not a Bard issue – young adults need to respect the people you live next to
  • It’s about caring and the Village does care

Collin Leitch -87 Broadway

  • Whatever the fine, you feel guilty for disrupting someone’s night or their children
  • First step of addressing an us vs. them mentality is happening now
  • Can these laws be made stronger or more strict?

Mayor Griffith

  • Public hearing is hear feedback before a final decision is made
  • Feels that fees are where they need to be
  • Reviewed similar laws and fees around the country

Peter – 89 Broadway

  • Should stay at $50 for the first offense
  • Doesn’t know where the line is

Mayor Griffith

  • The fine has been $50.00 since 1998.
  • Build communication, get the information out there and know the law beforehand
  • Final results of the laws will be broadly advertised working with Bard administrators to inform students
  • Has worked with Dean Bates from Bard
  • Need to get the word out – doesn’t want anyone to be surprised
  • Come to the Village meetings – meeting minutes are posted on the Village website
  • Village workshops are held every second Wednesday at 7:00 pm and at 6:00 pm on every third Wednesday. Regular board meetings are held on every third Wednesday at 7:00 pm.
  • Public may contact the Mayor or board members at any time

Deputy Mayor Bruno

  • Disturbing your neighbor is the threshold

Jackie Szatko – former Tivoli resident

  • Tivoli is a historical place
  • Join some committees
  • Find out why people feel so strongly about Tivoli
  • Pay attention to what’s going on – there is more to Tivoli than just partying
  • Enjoy Tivoli – discover where you live
  • Mutual respect
  • Visit the Historic Red Church and St Paul’s historic cemetery

John Jeworski- Tivoli

  • What happens if a neighbor wants you out without cause?
  • Are there defenses from trying to drive students out of the Village?

Mayor Griffith

  • Neighbors cannot write tickets – it will be the police officer’s discretion
  • Only the police can write tickets
  • In order to get the nuisance party ticket, the party has to have one of the thirteen other violations
  • There are proper controls in place

Bard Student Government Representative

  • Meeting with Mayor Griffith and Village of Red Hook Mayor Blundell
  • Trying to solve the issues
  • Wants to join committees

Pete Mauney

  • Try to avoid police interaction
  • Contact neighbors and let them know that you are having a party and give them your phone number

Vince DuBois – 90 Montgomery Street

  • Police have not been responsive
  • Broken bottles in the street after a party
  • Thursday night parties start at 10:00pm with loud music- people need to work on Friday mornings

Sam Williams

  • Can you be fined for both noise and nuisance?

Mayor Griffith

  • The host will face two tickets; second offenses will stay in the same categories and the range of fines.
  • Fines are at the judge’s discretion
  • Tivoli is not a great place for these parties- they need to happen somewhere else

Allie

  • People have a genuine concern about calling the police for parties because it takes a long time for them to respond
  • Police officer’s discretion is not always the most gentle- police are not the best people to address the problems
  • Wants to establish a neighborhood watch consisting of Bard students and the community

Mayor Griffith

  • Police officers have special training to deal with these situations that civilians and mayors do not have
  • Can create violent or dangerous situations

Jennifer Harris – 30 Montgomery St

  • Are absentee landlords contacted?

Mayor Griffith

  • The Village has the landlord agent law
  • Brings complaints to the Village Clerk’s Office

Melinda Lowe – 14 Memorial Dr

  • Bus stop is a concern – students are loud and trespass through her yard

Lieutenant Pearsall

  • Trespassing with no police officer to witness it
  • Three classifications: Felony, misdemeanor and violations
  • An arrest can only be made (if it is not in the police officer’s presence) if it is a felony or misdemeanor.
  • Response time will be quicker is there is a patrol on.
  • If you are a victim of an incident, call the police. They need a victim in order to charge someone with a crime.
  • Take an active role in reporting an incident and following through.

Tom Crisci – Montgomery St

  • Please don’t use the fire alarm to get help to empty a house of students at a party – it’s illegal and it’s considered a false alarm
  • Use the sidewalks in the Village for safety especially when emergency vehicles are coming through
  • Firehouse sign has been vandalized – security cameras are in place
  • Speeding on Montgomery Street when parents are waiting for the school bus with children
  • Vandalism and theft of property on Montgomery Street

Matthew Kobalkin – Broadway

  • Concerned with speeding on Broadway and loud motorcycles

On a motion by Trustee Majer, seconded by Deputy Mayor Bruno, the public hearing was closed at 8:40 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Linda Gonnella
Village Clerk &Treasurer