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A singular hearing on a single planning issue

Mar 28, 2011 10:01 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Glencadia Dog Camp, as seen on the business' website."][/caption]A rare public hearing on a single planning issue will be taking place in the Columbia County Town of Stuyvesant on the evening of Monday, March 28, when that town's planning board seeks comments "from all interested parties" regarding review and possible modification of a prior site plan approval for Glencadia Dog Camp, a dog boarding business run for the past five years by William Pflaum of Stuyvesant Falls. Pfaum, who reportedly served the Town of Stouvesant notice that he has filed a 300-page federal lawsuit against it, citing violations of his civil rights, has also become a critic of the way town officials have used municipal laws, in his view, for their own purposes in the past year. A full planning board meeting will follow the hearing. The modification mentioned has been called a "revocation" of Pfaum's right to run his business, which planners are saying involves dog barking heard from half a mile away. Pfaum, and his attorneys, have said that actions by the town's code enforcement officer and planning board are in revenge for his having filed county ethics board complaints against town supervisor Valerie Bertram, who is also head of the County Board of Ethics. A closer look at past minutes of the Planning Board reveals that Pfaum's attorney requested the hearing as a means to address the number of dogs housed at Glencadia, and hours that those dogs will be allowed outside. The enterprise currently houses up to 75 canines over holiday periods, most for periods of about three days, which Pfaum would decrease to a maximum of 50 dogs at any time. Pfaum has said he's trying to address noise complaints and keep his business alive. What adds interest to tonight's hearing is that it's a rare case of a neighbor dispute being dealt with directly by a municipality, and involving it... as well as the underlying charges from all sides. Last month, Bertram changed the way town board meetings are handled by restricting the manner in which the board can be addressed, limiting the Public be Heard segment for public meetings, as recorded here from a February meeting by Martin Robey, who also plans to record the March 28 meeting.