MIKE O’TOOLE PROPOSES PUBLIC ACCESS ANDES RADIO STATION ZONING REVISIONS COMMITTEE PRESENTS UPDATE ON THEIR WORK–January 2024

By Peter Calvert

Town of Andes Board, December 12, 6 pm.
Present:
Supervisor Bud Gladstone; Councilmen Ritchie Gabriel, Dale Cole, and Thomas Hall. Town Clerk Carol Ames, Code Enforcement Officer Al Mohr, Highway Superintendent John Bouton (Excused).

In the Town Hall:  Peter Ames, Mike O’Toole, Robert Abbate, Eric Van Benschoten. Elizabeth DeFalco, The Reporter; Peter Calvert, Andes Gazette.    Zoom: Jason Frank, Howard Kipnes, Vinnie Lopez.

  Privilege of the Floor: Robert Abbate, Chair of the Town Zoning Laws Revisions Committee (and Zoning Board of Appeals member) presented an update on ZLR’s work. Ritchie Gabriel has agreed to take over the appointment to the Committee to represent the Town Board, vacated by the recently deceased Shayne Moshier. Eric Van Benschoten, Planning Board, and Al Mohr, Code Enforcement Officer, are the others on the ZLR Committee. They noted the work is complicated and will take months to update all of the provisions in the current zoning regulations. The last major revision was in 1993 and certain codes relating to historic designations in the Hamlet predate those revisions. The Committee requested a two-year moratorium on construction within Greenspaces exceeding 5 acres in the the Hamlet. This would be in place until they could complete their work and get zoning codes brought up to date. They suggested this might apply to projects such as solar field farms, Dollar General stores, storage units, and campsites. It was also discussed whether it would apply to the Town of Andes beyond the Hamlet. The Board Supervisor said he will send this proposal for review to the Town Attorney. A question was raised from the floor as to when this proposal would be more defined as to scope and scale and allowed to be discussed in a public hearing by potentially affected members of the Hamlet. No decision was passed at the meeting.

  Privilege of the Floor: Mike O’Toole proposed a Public Access Radio Station of 100 Watts for Andes. The station could be located within a modest-sized shed on either the Dirty Girl Farm or the Andes Hotel and would have limited hours of operation, 7:30-9:30 am, weather and traffic, as the debut. FCC application is due in 24 hours and the Town would need to sponsor the application. Non-political, the station would be run for free by Mike O’Toole and could provide an educational resource to the Andes Central School down the road. He would provide the equipment and expertise to get it rolling. Town agreed to be the sponsor for the application to see if the access to the airwaves is granted.

Further on, it might have DJs and additional programming and be linked to the internet.

Supervisor’s Report: Bud announced StreetScape reports the Town bench repairs are progressing. Bud and Peter Ames reported that the Kiosk on Main Street is being updated with MTC Wi-Fi coverage and a new map of the area. Available will be a QR code that links current active businesses and enterprises and their actual hours of operation through the newly consolidated town website under a new .gov address. T-Mobile (and Verizon again!) are both interested in the Town cell tower project. May the best corporation win.

Andes Pool: The Andes Pool has received an anonymous and very generous donation from a former resident of Andes of $18,000 earmarked to facilitate essential repairs so the Pool can be ready for reopening next summer. The donor has fond memories of the Pool and wants future generations to enjoy sunny, splashing summers.

Highway Department: Equipment continues to be maintained. Winter plowing commenced in November and then 8 inches of heavy snow came down Monday morning December 11th. Numerous branches and limbs were cleared along with roads and lanes.

Town Code Enforcement: CEO had 5 in-office conferences and drove 176 miles. 12 Permits, 3 Cs of C, and 2 Cs of O were issued by the CEO. He did 23 Inspections, 2 Municipal Searches, 1 Renewal, and issued 2 Violations. He also handled 56 Cell Phone Calls, 14 Text Messages, 2 Complaints, and numerous Office Calls.~