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Stormwater law defeated in Guilderland

The Local Law establishing and setting a fee for the establishment and management of stormwater management districts on new subdivisions in the Town of Guilderland was defeated in a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, May, 4. The vote was the first time that Supervisor Ken Runion, along with Councilmen Mark Grimm and Warren Redlich voted together to defeat a proposed law.

Grimm and Redlich both opposed the law due to their belief that establishing the districts would create and additional layer of government in the town. Both board members said the town and the state need to reduce the influence of government in the lives of citizens.

Runion, however, opposed the law for different reasons. By creating storm water districts we are inviting [the town] to become overdeveloped, he said.

He said that by creating the district the town would impose a fee for the establishment and maintenance of a district, however, the town would have to absorb the costs if the district fails. He said a failure could cost the town millions of dollars, which he said is the case in the failure of the Blackberry Estates district on Curry Road.

Another concern of Runion is that stormwater from the districts would be diverted into a storage pond that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other nuisance causing insects.

"They become an expense because of those issues," he said.

Runion said that his decision to oppose the law did not come until after the public hearing. "When I initially thought about it I was leaning towards [establishing] storm water drainage districts," he said.

Runion's vote also came as a surprise to his town board colleges. "I'm shocked," said Councilwomen Patricia Slavick.

The lack of a law managing stormwater issues in the town would halt development on all projects planned on an area of six or more lots that present stormwater management issues.

After the Tuesday, April 6 Town Board meeting, when the public hearing was set Runion said "all of the easy developable land has been developed already" and that most of the remaining land in the town has some sort of stormwater drainage issues that would need to be addressed.

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