Lewis County schedules five public hearings

LOWVILLE — With very few people participating in most public hearings, the Lewis County Board of Legislators will be holding five simultaneously before its June meeting Tuesday.

One hearing relates to a new local law, three are concerned with Community Development Block Grant-funded projects, and the last is to determine the fate of an “unsafe structure.”

In each case, there is a resolution on the docket for board approval. Beginning in 2020, the board now approves the bulk of the resolutions on the docket as a slate in a change from the clerk of the board calling out each resolution to be approved individually. Legislators can and do indicate if there are certain resolutions up for vote about which they have questions or want discussion.

Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts or ask questions about the following topics in the hearings:

A proposed local law authorizing 12-year-old and 13-year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer in season with a firearm or crossbow under the supervision of an adult licensed hunter.

This new law opts the county into a state pilot program authorized in the 2021-22 state budget, which goes in to effect on Tuesday as well.

The three-year program authorizes the young hunters to use rifles, shotguns and muzzle-loaded firearms and crossbows for deer hunting in the proper seasons for each of those weapons.

The youth must be with a licensed hunter who is at lease 21 years old and are not allowed to hunt from trees or stands.

While this program is slated to expire in 2023, the state Department of Environmental Conservation could take steps to make the practice permanent.

— The submission of an application for a Community Development Block Grant from the state for up to $1,000,000 to be used to improve broadband infrastructure in the county.

This money will be added to the $1.5 million of federal stimulus money that will also go to bringing high-speed internet via fiber and wireless technology to areas of the county not served or underserved.

Using information from an intensive survey completed by the Development Authority of the North Country, county leaders plan to address the still massive gaps in internet available at speeds that allow residents to work from home, go to school online, receive telemedicine or other services when those needs became clear because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This block grant opportunity comes from 2020 Cares Act funding.

The county has also applied for a grant of up to $1,000,000 from the Northern Border Regional Commission grant to go toward this project.

— The use of the $489,510 Community Development Block Grant awarded to the county for the Direct Homeownership Assistance Program resulting from an April 2019 application by the county. People who attend the hearing can ask for more information about the program’s progress, any activities completed with the funding and any success in reaching stated objectives and goals.

— The effectiveness of the county’s administration of the $718,200 Community Development Block Grant for the Housing Rehabilitation Program through the state Office of Community Renewal.

“This hearing will provide persons with the opportunity to review the amount of CDBG funds that were made available, the activities undertaken, and progress toward program goals and objectives,” according to the required legal notice published about the hearing.

The Housing program is designed to benefit people with low to moderate incomes.

The hearing fulfills a requirement of the state’s Citizen Participation Plan.

— A building in the town of Watson owned by the estate of Bruce Normander, deceased, inspected by a county code enforcement officer who came to the conclusion that it is “unsafe,” recommending that it be torn down and removed after pest control services have been performed.

According to a resolution about the structure introduced in the May board meeting, “the structure is a 1982 manufactured home, which is filthy, rat infested, lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, has a deficient roof system, is beyond repair and a danger to anyone who may attempt to enter.”

It has been condemned by the code enforcement department and the estate administrator has been asked to appear at the hearing to address the required action, however, if he does not, the board will vote to demolish the structure, recouping costs from the value of the land.

The public hearings will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the board’s chambers at the county courthouse, 7660 N. State St.

Comments can also be submitted in writing to Cassandra Moser, Clerk of the Board, 7660 N. State St., Lowville, NY 13367 or by calling 315-376-5356 until June 3.

The meeting will also be live streamed on the Lewis County YouTube.com channel.

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