(Left to right) A sitemap of the Burnham Hollow neighborhood showing the cul-de-sac (upper left) where new homes will be built and the formerly proposed road to the Ernst Road PUDD (in dark green). Image provided by Bill Chase; and an aerial view of the Ernst Road Planned Unit Development District (foreground) and the Burnham Hollow development in Wilton. Photo by Super Source Media LLC.
WILTON – At the Wilton town board meeting on May 3, there was a short public hearing focused on removing a road for the Ernst Road Planned Unit Development District (PUDD), so that a separate Burnham Hollow project could proceed.
Ryan Riper, the Wilton director of planning and engineering, said the cut-through road would have been private and not a town road.
Luigi Palleschi of ABD Engineers reviewed the Burnham Hollow project for the board members and the public, on behalf of North Manor Development. It consists of adding six houses in a cul-de-sac.
Riper called the town board vote a “legislative action,” adding that there is no current application pending for the Ernst Road PUDD. He said that project consists of two buildings each with eight apartment units, and confirmed that the PUDD was first proposed in 2009.
“There’s going to be a utility easement from Burnham Hollow into the Ernst Road PUDD, to allow water and sewer,” Riper said, upon questioning from a resident. The Burnham Hollow developer will grant that easement.
The board later voted unanimously to amend the Ernst Road PUDD, removing the road through the Burnham Hollow property. Construction on both projects is expected to start later this year.
Only one local woman questioned the board on the matter.
“The last thing I need now is another road on Ernst Road,” said Ilse Latour, a 29-year homeowner on Ernst Road.
“Traffic on that road is horrendous. They come around the corner from Route 9 and they fly down the road...You go out to get your newspaper and your mail, you’re lucky if you’re going to stay alive,” she added.
“Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I hold on to my mailbox, with the post, that I don’t get hit in case I can’t see a car coming. I shouldn’t have to go through this,” Latour said.
Latour explained that her husband passed away last year and can no longer speak up at Town Hall on such matters.
“Now, I’ve got to go over and fight by myself,” she said. “As long as there’s no other road, I think I can live with this.”
Wilton Supervisor Art Johnson pointed out that no new road would be created for either project.
In other business, the board heard from Joe Reinhardt who spoke on behalf of “a total of 17 veterans here in Wilton,” and questioned proposed changes to the “eligible funds veterans’ exemption.” He said it was passed in the 1980s and was different and older than the “standard” exemption for veterans.
“My main purpose tonight is to, really, make the board aware of the situation. By confronting this situation now, you’re going to save . . . a huge tax increase” for veterans. He said wants the town board to “craft the proper legislation.”
Wilton Town Clerk Sue Baldwin explained that the issue Reinhardt discussed involves changes to the Saratoga County property tax assessment (Wilton does not have a town tax). New York State is proposing a 25 percent reduction in that specific veterans’ exemption but the town board may consider a local law opposing it, she said.
“We certainly support our veterans, and we certainly want to make sure that you get whatever exemption you are entitled to. We will take the appropriate action to do that,” Johnson responded.