by Rachel Hunter
The Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees at its May 21 meeting did not proceed to amend a proposed local law to restrict parking on Church St. in Gouverneur to accommodate the movements of the St. Lawrence County Public Transit around the bus stop at the village park.
Faithful readers of the Gouverneur Tribune Press will recall that SLC Mobility Manager Frank Doldo arrived at the April village board meeting to explain the necessity of the Church St. parking restrictions (on parking spaces from the bus shelter toward Grove St.). A preliminary study, conducted by Mr. Doldo, showed that it would not impact parking at the village park, and would provide a much-needed service in the local community as well as in St. Lawrence County.
The topic of amending the proposed local law was raised by Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall as an item of old business, following the “next steps” that the village board informed SLC Mobility Manager Frank Doldo that the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees would need to take in order for the local law to be adopted.
Mayor McDougall first gave the floor to Attorney Henry Leader of Case & Leader, LLP, in Gouverneur who said the following: “I think it is a decision for the board. I know the board has had discussions the past couple meetings, and also you have had the presentation from Mr. Doldo. So then, the question is if the board wishes to have a bus stop in that area, and then secondly, under what parameters? Will the board desire to have hours for the parking? Or what would be the requirements that the board might have if it wishes to proceed?”
Mayor McDougall then reminded all in attendance that Trustee Rick Wood could not be in attendance. He then continued to comment as follows: “At least as far as I know from Frank’s presentation, it’s Monday to Friday at this time. So we should frame something, Monday through Friday and we should have hours, not 24/7/365. I don’t know what the hours might be, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. but I am not sure if that would do it or not without getting into more details… The last transportation meeting was on the same day as the workforce development meeting, so I did not attend. But the next one is June 20 in the Best Western in Canton, but I am not going to wait that long to talk to Frank. I’ll try to get hold of him and see what his suggestions are, and not only what he has now but what he anticipates in a year or two for bus runs and times.”
Mayor McDougall then asked if any of the village trustees had any comments that they would like to add.
Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine then spoke up, saying the following: “Not to correct you, Henry, but I don’t think the village has a choice whether or not it wants a bus stop there. It has already been erected. I think the only choice the village has is if they want to restrict parking in this area in certain times. That would be the only discussion I have. Other than I don’t think there is a reason to entertain this motion again. The public told us what they wanted the first time that they did it.”
Mayor McDougall then said, “Henry, we’ll get together and try to draw up something that meets to everyone’s pleasure. Then we will vote on it in the not-too-distant future. We’ll have to have a public hearing in that regard.”
Deputy Mayor Newvine then asked, “Is that what this is tonight? In front of us is Local Law No. 1 of 2019. Do we need a motion to approve that local law or are we still just discussing it?”
“We have one, but we certainly want to amend it,” Mayor McDougall said.
“So, you are proceeding then?” Attorney Leader asked.
“It is my recommendation that we don’t need proceed with this local law,” Deputy Mayor Newvine said. “I think the public spoke for itself when we had the first local law, and it didn’t even receive a motion. I understand where Frank is coming from, but the bus stop that is there serves its purpose and to be frank about it, they didn’t abide by anything the local taxpayer has to do to erect a sidewalk or canopy or bench. They just proceeded to put it up in a spot that isn’t the most ideal location for a bus stop, at least parking-wise.”
Mayor McDougall then asked the village trustees if anyone felt any differently. Upon hearing no comments to that regard, he moved on to the next item on the meeting agenda.
While this discussion occurred at the local level, all were reminded by Mayor McDougall at the village board meeting that SLC Mobility Manager Doldo had made a presentation to the SLC Board of Legislators. On May 6, the county legislators voted to adopt the SLC Coordinated Transportation Plan, which includes plans to establish an intra-village bus shuttle service in Gouverneur. Mr. Doldo told the village board at the April meeting that a six-month study started on March 25 toward this goal. For more information about the SLC Coordinated Transportation Plan, visit slcnypublictransit.com.
The next regular monthly meeting of the Village of Gouverneur Board of Trustees will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 7 p.m., in the municipal courtroom.