Annexation Special Joint Meeting Monday, June 4th At High School
Tomorrow, Monday, June 4th, at 7:00 PM, there will be a joint public hearing of the Trumansburg Village Board and the Ulysses Town Board to discuss the proposed annexation of two lots owned by William Auble on Seneca Road, west of route 96, into the Village of Trumansburg.
You wouldn’t know this, though, by looking at the official governmental web sites of the Village of Trumansburg and the Town of Ulysses. There is nothing on either site that indicates that this meeting is taking place at all. The Village government calendar shows that there will be no public meetings on June 4. The Town of Ulysses web site shows nothing either.
There was an article in the Ithaca Journal which mentions the June 4th meeting, but there is nothing published about the meeting in the most recent issue of the Free Press, Trumansburg’s paper of record – not a calendar listing, and not a public notice.
I got word of tomorrow’s meeting through a phone call from another village resident, and from an email sent by another resident, Dorothy Vanderbilt. The body of that email reads,
Dear Fellow Trumansburg residents,
I just found out last night about an annexation meeting regarding development of property along route 96 just past the fire station (proposed strip mall from what I’ve been told). I have to admit I do not know many details but I plan to read the attached Annexation document (PDF) and attend the meeting next Monday, June 4, 7:00 PM in the H.S. auditorium. I hope you all can attend as well! It is my opinion–and I hope many of you agree– that this type of development will further degrade Trumansburg!
SPREAD THE WORD!
Attached to that email are two electronic documents: A Microsoft Word version of the legal notice you see below, and a PDF version of the petition submitted by William J. Auble. That petition shows that the document was submitted to both Tammy Morse, Trumansburg Village Clerk, and Marsha Georgia, Ulysses Town Clerk. Please look at the documents yourself.
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that a petition pursuant to General Municipal Law Article 17, has been received by the Town Board of the Town of Ulysses, Tompkins County, New York and the Board of Trustees of the Village of Trumansburg, Tompkins County, New York, for the annexation of the following described territory situated in the Town of Ulysses to the Village of Trumansburg: William J. Auble owner/petitioner Tax Parcel # 11.-2-7.1 consisting of 38.56 acres fronting in part on Route 96 and Tax Parcel # 11.-2-4 (Trailer Park) consisting of 59 acres, 4380 West Seneca Road.
NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN, that on the 4th day of JUNE 2007, at 7 p.m. of that day, a joint hearing upon such petition will be held by the Town Board of the Town of Ulysses and the Board of Trustees of the Village of Trumansburg, at the Trumansburg High School Auditorium, Main Street, Trumansburg, New York. At such time and place all persons interested in the matter may be heard. Objections based on any of the grounds set forth in General Municipal Law Section 705 (1) (a), (b), (c), or (d) shall, in addition to oral testimony thereon, be submitted in writing.
By Order of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Trumansburg
Notice is hereby given? To who?
The Microsoft version of the document shows that the legal notice you see above was created on May 10, 2007 at 8:58 AM, and was printed out at the same time.
Where did Dorothy Vanderbilt get these documents? They’re not available for download on either the Trumansburg or Ulysses web sites.
Has there been a politically-motivated selective release of these documents by a member of the Ulysses Town Board or Trumansburg Village Board, or a member of the supporting staff? How come the Trumansburg Free Press didn’t get the legal notification in time to publish last week, but Dorothy Vanderbilt did? Why didn’t Tammy Morse or Marsha Georgia make the petition available to the public online?
I have many questions about the selective publicity for the annexation meeting tomorrow, and very few answers. One thing, however, is crystal clear: The interaction between the Town of Ulysses and the Village of Trumansburg on the one hand and the public and local media on the other hand is not functioning adequately. Maybe it’s the fault of the board members. Maybe it’s the fault of the clerks. Maybe it’s the fault of the media. Maybe we in the public just aren’t showing enough interest to provoke adequate notice of public meetings. I don’t know who’s to blame, but wherever the problem lies, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
The issue of the annexation of William Auble’s properties is too important to let these public hearings go without adequate publicity in time for residents to plan to attend. Personally, I won’t be able to attend, as I’ll be on business in Texas on Monday.
The annexation needs to be carefully considered partially because it’s being requested by Bill Auble, who, as I understand it, is no longer a Ulysses resident. Auble has also written some rather rude things about Trumansburg in a letter to the Free Press. Among other things, Mr. Auble claimed that people in Trumansburg don’t know each other or wave to each other on the street anymore. That’s a ridiculous claim, as I know scads of people already here in the village, and have only lived here two years. I wave to plenty of people on the street, and they almost always wave back, or stop and have a conversation. Trumansburg is a very friendly place, and how would Mr. Auble know otherwise, given that he doesn’t even live here any more?
Local legend has it that, when he didn’t get his way in the past, Mr. Auble spitefully set up a pig farm on the property he now wants to be annexed, with school buses buried in the ground, in order to create a literal stink in Trumansburg, along with an eyesore. I don’t know if this story is true, given that I didn’t live here at the time. If the story is true, Trumansburg ought to be very careful in dealing with such a person.
In his petition, William Auble says that the annexation of his property would enable “economic development” and “would allow for the creation of jobs and the availability of needed goods and services”. How? If Auble does not plan commercial development of the property, how would the annexation provide jobs and needed goods and services? I haven’t seen any proof that a strip mall is in the planning, but I can see how Dorothy Vanderbilt would come to suspect as much.
The proposed Water District 5 would be thwarted by the annexation deal, and that might be a good thing. Certainly, any Water District 5 proposal that depends upon the inclusion of people who already are receiving municipal water is not worthy of consideration.
However, members of the Village Board would do well to consider how this annexation will affect the balance of power in Trumansburg. How would the people living on Auble’s property vote in village elections? Would their votes be enough to change the political character of the village, and impact the lives of those currently living within village limits?
Before the annexation is accepted, all these questions should be asked, and answered, at Monday’s public hearing.
If you’re able to attend, leave your comments here and let me know how it goes.