Village considers leasing land to Amtrak

T he village is weighing whether to lease a small piece of land to Amtrak as the company prepares to make improvements to several of its train stations throughout the area.

Amtrak asked the village if they would be willing to lease an approximately 500 square foot triangular shaped piece of property adjacent the current train station parking lot and the dilapidated flat iron building for additional parking.

The company would like to add two handicap parking spots to comply with the American with Disabilities Act and need the additional space to add those spots.

However there are a number of issues with lease.

The lease agreement that Amtrak sent to Whitehall had a number of errors including referring to the land as town property instead of village property.

Trustee Ken Bartholomew also took issue with a few of the provisions in the contract, including a clause that would allow Amtrak to change the boundaries of the land.

Amtrak would have to get approval from the village within 30 days to change the boundaries, but if the village didn’t approve or decline the request within that time period, Amtrak would have free reign to go ahead and change the boundaries.

Bartholomew was worried that a new administration could overlook that provision and Amtrak might take more land than they should be entitled to take.

Village attorney Tony Jordan also said there a long term lease could be considered a discontinuance of village land and said the parcel would need to be deemed surplus property.

Bartholomew and fellow trustees Walt Sanford and Michael LaChapelle were in favor of keeping the land and designating several of the existing parking spots as handicapped.

The board declined to make a decision on the lease at the time and were expected to look into in more detail.

In other news, village forester Jim Allen gave a report on the ongoing logging efforts on village property. He said they have held off on logging some of the land because the price for most hardwoods has been declining over the last year.   

He said some species are beginning to come back or at least level off some and the board gave him permission to “test the waters” and determine some prices which the board would review in the next month and determine if it’s viable.

Bartholomew told the board that village has completed an evacuation plan for the area around the Pike Brook Dam and are now in compliance.

He said the plan found that no buildings would be affected if the dam broke and most of the water would be absorbed by the brook.

The five page plan cost the village around $10,000. The property remains for sale.

LaChapelle said he has received a number of complaints from local residents regarding local residents who allowed their dogs to relieve themselves on village property and wanted to remind people that it is unlawful to allow your pet to defecate within the village not pick it up.

Near the end of the meeting, Mayor Peter Telisky thanked the Department of Public Works and the local fire departments for the diligent service during the Tropical Storm Irene.

He said their efforts to keep culverts clear helped avert larger problems throughout the village.

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