Village approves speed limit change
WATKINS GLEN—At the regular meeting held Monday, Sept. 17 the Watkins Glen village board unanimously approved Local Law No. 2 for 2012, Traffic Regulations of the Village of Watkins Glen. With some exceptions, the law sets a speed limit of 20 miles per hour on village controlled streets. It will go into effect Dec. 1, 2012.
Trustee Scott Gibson explained that the law is the result of a “traffic evaluation review that has been going on for a long time.” The board thanked the previous board and all of the individuals involved in the study for their time and effort. The Dec. 1 effective date is designed to give the village a chance to install the proper signage and to ensure that the public is aware of the changes. Mayor Mark Swinnerton proposed that the village send a Code Red message reminder as to the speed limit change.
Trustee Kevin Smith said that, at least initially, he was “hesitant” about changing the village speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph and had instead proposed a 25 mph limit especially along Decatur Street. After discussing the matter with police chief Tom Struble, Smith said he better understands the reasoning behind the 20 mph limit. Swinnerton explained that 75 percent of Decatur Street is actually 15 mph during times when school is in session. Smith then asked how difficult it would be to amend the law should the need arise. Village Clerk Donna Beardsley said the process would involve the same steps as amending any other local law. Swinnerton was hopeful that if any localized issues arose they could be resolved without the need for amending the entire law.
The law was passed following a public hearing during which the only comment received was a letter from a village resident concerned about the speed limit change and suggesting that any speeding problems in the village could be alleviated by proper enforcement of the currently existing speed limits. Prior to the public hearing, residents of South Monroe Street commented that the proposed parking regulations would severely limit the available parking in their area. (Full disclosure: The REVIEW&EXPRESS reporter lives in this area and also offered a brief comment.)
Local Law No. 2 for 2012 is available for viewing at the village clerk’s office. The village speed limit will be 20 miles per hour unless otherwise specified: State Highways 329, 414, 409 and 419 will remain 30 mph along with Lee Road and Route 14. The school zone, which includes Clarence, S. Perry, S. Porter and portions of 12th and Decatur, will be 15 mph from 7 a.m until 6 p.m. on school days.
In other business:
• The village received a proposal for engineering services from Barton & Loguidice to inspect the foundation of the above ground water tank at Padua for an initial cost of $3,500. The tank, which was installed in the mid-1930s according to the proposal, holds 250,000 gallons and concerns have been raised as to the condition of its cement foundation. The board authorized utilities superintendent Mark Specchio to move forward with the inspection if he felt it was justified after his meeting with representatives from the engineering firm. Further testing may occur depending on the outcome of the initial assessment.
• Three village residents presented their concerns to the board about the conditions of certain private properties within the village. They said properties in their respective areas and around the village in general are poorly maintained and that the village should take steps to remedy the problem. Trustee Smith said that he had been in contact with Gordon Wright, the village code officer, who had been doing some research in an effort to find old local laws that might apply. A law from 1946 set a fine of $100 for discharging items, like grass clippings and possibly snow, into the village right of way, said Smith. Swinnerton said that he has asked Wright to come to a board meeting to discuss how the village handles complaints of potential code violations on private property.
• Superintendent Specchio addressed the public to inform them that the village had been nominated as one of Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns in America for 2013. He asked residents to visit budgettravel.com and vote for the village.
The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.