Story by Katie Bisaro
The Village of Warwick Board of Trustees announced a slight change in the meeting schedule for 2019 going forward at their Board meeting on Mon., Mar. 4. The Board currently meets on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7:30 p.m.
Work Sessions Scheduled Each Month
Beginning in March, the second monthly meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The first half hour will be a 30-minute work session with Village counsel to go over meeting details. The public is invited to attend the work session. The 2019 meeting dates are posted on the calendar link on the Village website at www.villageofwarwick.org.
Planning Board Requests Meeting Schedule Change
George Aulen, Chair of the Village of Warwick Planning Board, has requested a change in that Board’s meeting schedule. The Board currently meets on the third Thursday of every month.
Aulen requested a change in the meeting day, beginning on Tues., Apr. 9, moving it to the second Tuesday of every month.
Elm St. Project Concerns Continue
During Privilege of the Floor, Patrick Gallagher, of West St., once again, spoke to the Mayor and Board of Trustees regarding the Yesterdays restaurant project at 16 Elm St. in the Village.
Gallagher provided photographs to the Board of the area on the Elm St. property where trees had been removed as part of the construction process. The neighboring residents contend that those trees were taken down in violation of the approved site plan, eliminating the “buffer” between their properties and the new restaurant.
Gallagher expressed his frustration over the “broken process” of working with all parties involved.
“We have a broken process here in the Village of Warwick. Contradictions and a situation where interpretations of the rules abound, evidence [of violations] keeps piling up,” stated Gallagher. “The neighborhood deserves a say, with clout, in resolving this. We very much hope that you guys [the Village Board] are going to help us with that.”
Mayor Michael Newhard reminded Gallagher that at the last Board meeting, when the tree removal situation had been brought to the attention of the entire Board, it was determined that a meeting would take place between the Mayor, the Village Engineer, and the project Landscape Architect to come up with a revised plan that would “answer the issues of what had happened.”
Gallagher would like to ensure that the “impact” from the point of view of the residents is considered and taken seriously.
Newhard commented that, for his part, he will “definitely have the neighborhood very much in [his] mind.”
Municipal ID Program
Alfredo Pacheco, representing the advocacy group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, asked the Village Board for an update regarding the proposed Municipal ID program. This program would allow residents who do not have a driver’s license or state-issued non-driver identification to have a form of ID for such activities as obtaining a library card, filling prescriptions or picking up children from school. The identification requirements for a Municipal ID are less stringent than those required to obtain a driver’s license or a non-driver identification card.
Stakeholder Meeting Held
Trustee Eileen Patterson recently met with several community stakeholders regarding the feasibility and need for the proposed identification program. Community participants included representatives from local pharmacies, police department, school district, library, hospital, and merchants. Patterson reported that all those involved in the meeting from the community said that the Municipal ID was not necessary for their business or organization, the forms of photo identification currently used are sufficient.
“What I learned is that we actually have a very compassionate and welcoming group of leaders in our community, of these stakeholders who we pulled together,” stated Patterson.
Panel Will Answer Questions, Address Concerns
It was decided that a panel would be created, consisting of representatives from the various stakeholders, that would hold a forum, open to the public, to have a discussion regarding acceptable forms of identification needed for their business or organization. This would allow the interested community members to ask questions they may have about necessary identification and discuss situations they have encountered.
Mayor Newhard reported that he had a meeting with Warwick Immigrant Neighbors (WIN) liaisons, Terry Mack and Liz Holton-Smith, to discuss what the community should work towards beyond the Municipal Identification program.
“Our focus group came to understand that everybody’s working hard, but maybe there are things that we can work harder at. Maybe there are things that are, from our point of view, we’re doing a good job, but from another point of view there is fear or a lack of understanding,” said Mayor Newhard.
Trustee George McManus, who was also part of the stakeholder meeting, mentioned Greenlight NY, a program that would allow driver’s licenses to be issued to undocumented residents. Pacheco commented that he is aware of that program but that it is a slow process; a similar program in California took 10 years to pass.
“It all depends on the support of the community,” Pacheco said.
Warwick Playground Dreams
Warwick Playground Dreams was granted permission to hang a banner along the South St. fence at Stanley-Deming Park to recruit volunteers for the playground Build Week. Additionally, the group is asking the community to lend tools for the project.
Hannelore Chambers, director of Warwick Playground Dreams, thanked the Mayor and Village Trustees for their sponsorship of one of the pieces being installed in the playground. She also thanked the Dept. of Public Works for their efficient job of removing the old playground equipment and preserving the fire truck and spiral slide to be reinstalled elsewhere.
Warwick Community Showcase
The annual Warwick Community Showcase will take place on Sat., May 4 on the Railroad Green and throughout the business district in the Village. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a rain date of Sun., May 5. Parking spaces on both sides along Main St., from Riehle Opticians to Railroad Ave. will be closed from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. for the Showcase.
The next Board meeting will take place on Mon., Mar. 18 at 7 p.m. in Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick. A work session, open to the public, will take place from 7 to 7:30 p.m. followed by the regular meeting.