town of franklin

Town of Franklin Board Meetings

Special Town Board Meeting - Infrastructure
Monday, March 24, 2008 - 7:00 pm

The Town of Franklin Town Board held a duly noticed Special Town Board Meeting on Monday, March 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm at the Franklin Town Hall in Vermontville, NY.

Board members present:

    Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
    Councilman Walt Kretser
    Councilman Allen Berg
    Councilman Clifford Smalley
    Councilwoman Janet Ordway

Others Present:

    Town Clerk Sandra J. Oliver, Kahlil Bair - Architect, Jean Baltzly, Roger Symonds, Jonathan Gorgas, Derek Romeo,Brad Merrill, Richard Jarvis


    Supervisor Keith called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm; the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and the Town Clerk called the roll, stating the full board was present.

    Supervisor Keith stated the purpose of the meeting was to review and discuss aspects of the Town's infrastructure project and introduced Kahlil Bair, the architect retained by the Town. The scale model of the proposed structure to be constructed at Kate Mtn. Recreation Park was displayed. Mr. Bair indicated he would be pleased to entertain questions during his presentation.


    The Town's buildings are too small and in need of refurbishment, especially the Garage. The cost of fuel for heating has risen drastically over the past decade, and in 2007 the Town spent $15,000 just to heat the Garage. For the past decade the Building Committee held meetings to discern the best use of space and possible alternatives for the Town. The NYS Legislature, in behalf of the Unified Court System, passed an unfunded mandate regarding space requirements for local Courts. In 2006 the Town contracted with Yellow Wood Associates to perform a survey of Town infrastructure needs, in contemplation of utilizing environmentally friendly building methods and materials. Yellow Wood confirmed the conclusions of the Building Committee and recommended that all infrastructure improvements be considered one large project. YW recommended overhaul of the Garage, utilizing the entire Town Hall building at Vermontville as office space, and in order to accommodate the Town Court and social gatherings, construction of a new building at Kate Mtn. Recreation Park. The construction materials and building methods were to be in conformance with environmentally friendly standards set by NYSERDA (NYS Energy Research and Development Authority) and application would be made to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program) certification. If obtained, the LEED certification would reimburse the Town's costs during certain phases of the new construction. In 2007 the Town Board contracted with Earth Science Engineering ("ESE") to analyze the infrastructure project, develop a plan of action and a budget of less than $1 million. ESE recommended immediate overhaul of the Garage and eventual construction of the Rec. Park edifice, excluding the Town Hall building in Vermontville. The proposed budget is approximately $945,000. The Town has nearly $160,000 saved in its building fund, and applications for grants are being made. Thus far, the Town has been awarded two grants for records storage and new furnaces.


    The proposed structure will be 2500 sq. ft and consist of 2-storeys with sod roof and solar panel and stepped-out buttresses. It will be sited facing south in front of the pavilion and may be located where the present parking lot sits. Court chambers will be on the second floor, and the community center will be on the first floor with handicapped access via stair lift or small elevator. The building will seat 140 people, and have kitchen, storage, and bathroom facilities. A porch surrounds the structure and can be used for community gatherings. The wastewater will be filtered through reed beds.

    The design for the shape of the building evolved gradually. Weight issue was a problem - notice the buttresses are stepped out to provide more support. In addition, the proposed budget had to be considered. The flat roof mirrors the lay of the land.


  • The Court will be located on the second floor and will be designed in compliance with the guidelines set by NYS Unified Court System.

  • On the first floor interior there will be a set of double doors creating a vestibule which can be used as a warming room. When the doors are opened, the area will seat about 140 people.

  • The windows can be opened to allow air flow in the summer months and work with convective loop. Works really well in the summer. Lots of attention in the Adirondacks is paid to winterizing structures, but the heat of the summer also needs to be addressed.

  • Ramps for handicapped access are present; these can be covered if necessary.

  • How about a second grade handicapped access?
    • Perhaps the Court could be moved to the first floor

  • Will there be electronic opening doors for handicapped?
    • Yes, there should be.


    The use of sod for roofing is found in Iceland and in Scandinavian countries. It will enable the structure of the building to last longer; it reduces heat island (an effect where sun charges a dark roof); creates its own atmosphere during the year - a cool bubble during summer - and is an easy way to control storm runoff. The low pitch will keep the snow on the roof for insulation. The sod will filter air and water.

  • Is there a membrane under the sod?
    • There will be a 2-fold subfloor, a layer of real beeswax to close all penetrations like nail holes and "Aluma-Seal", a wonderful product with load-bearing of 100 psi. Aluma-Seal will last the lifetime of the building - longer than rubber or petroleum. In addition, the thermal break will be venting below the subfloor.

    • Water moves through the sod by relying on a sandy loam material of about 15" thick.

  • The sod on the roof limits the pitch.

  • Keep away from flat roofs - they don't work up here in the Adirondacks. Also, standing seam metal roof - needs to be addressed.

  • How does roof drainage work?

    • At bottom of pitch water gathers and will go into a dry well or into gray water.

  • That's an active system in this climate - high maintenance and high potential for failure.

    • It works the way it works. You control how the building sheds water and breathes.

  • How about sheet drainage?

    • Coun. Kretser responded that he had performed research, and sod roof systems are the most popular systems in Iceland and Scandinavia.

    • Mr. Bair commented that the problem with freezing actually is a problem with melt. It's an insulation issue. With proper insulation the gutters will not melt and freeze. Do proper vent or a "hot" or unvented roof.

  • Are there any examples of sod roofs being used locally? o Supv. Keith commented that the Golden Arrow Hotel in Lake Placid has or will have a sod roof.

  • Concern was expressed about maintenance.
    • Sod roofs need to be cut. The purpose of using sod is to underscore natural symbiotic living. Maintenance will be less than normal. You could not bother to cut it. You'll actually spend more time cleaning the gutters than cutting the roof.


    Used extensively in design and will affect cost of heating in the future; it is possible to sell unused energy back to grid.

  • What about more solar panels on the roof instead of sod?

    • Solar panels are very expensive

  • Is the solar panel adjustable to angle of the sun?

    • Yes. Solar panels will be mounted throughout the site with a tracking system.

  • Battery backup for solar?

    • No, too expensive. Backup will be diesel generator run on biofuel and inverter runs back into grid


  • Where do you have the building actually sited at the Rec Park?

    • It faces south in front of the pavilion and may be located where the present parking lot sits. It will not be squared with Route 3.

  • Where will parking be located

    • At the front and on the side. The building will not be squared with Route 3. It will be located to the right of where the parking area is now. The entrance to the Park will have to be moved. Parking is an issue no matter where the building is located.

  • Perhaps we could relocate the pavilion.

  • Parking should be considered first. You don't want to have cars driving around where children are playing or where snow will be piled.


    We plan to use solar hot water presumably from a well, then through hot water on demand powered by natural gas. Heating the building is accomplished with an "Earth Tube" - it's passive and has the ability to heat large areas. The tubing carries hot water - it has jacket of air around it. It is installed in concrete and the concrete stores heat. Done in subfloors and can be retrofitted in houses.

  • Justice Symonds noted the second floor is not heated, just vented upwards.
    • Warmboard is Teflon-coated plywood with grooves. Very expensive. I was looking at how heat can be kept. Vents through the floor work just fine.


    The wastewater system still needs to be designed around site - need percolation test. We want to use reed beds as a natural way to wash water. Chittenden County in Vermont uses reed system. Also, San Francisco Bay was highly polluted, but they put a reed bed in Richmond where oil is refined, and now the Bay is clean.

  • Are any reed beds currently in use in the Adirondacks? How large are they? Concerned about freezing.
    • I only know of Chittenden County Vermont. As to size of reed bed, ESE will design this to handle twice the amount of flow.

  • If not used during the winter and if it freezes, will the reeds grow back each year?
    • Yes. Reed systems are used extensively in Scandinavia.

  • What about drainage at Park? What is it -- fill?
    • Probably. This area might be in a flood plain.
    • Supv. Keith noted that the Park has been graded over the years


  • Of what materials will the beams and rafters be made?
    • Steel. We'll find the best sources for it. Glue-Lam would have to be shipped and would add to the cost. The plan is to use reclaimed timbers for framing which can be obtained from local companies.

    • In addition, siding will be made of PaperStone for about $13/sq. ft. We have the option of using some older structures in this area; perhaps an old house or barn is being torn down. The material can be recycled in this building.

  • What is the R factor in the ceiling?
    • Above 60

  • Projections should be steel and then you can reduce framing members.
    • I think we should keep all the framing members - but steel would be just fine.


  • What level of LEED certification are you going for?
    • Platinum - the highest level. LEED certification is expensive and must have a third party inspection. NYSERDA pays back $4/kilowatt hour. Will pay $4.50/kilowatt hour.


  • What is cost per square feet.

  • $200/sq. ft.

Coun. Kretser suggested Mr. Bair develop a site plan with Doug Ferris (ESE) as soon as possible, and then inquired as to the schedule. Mr. Bair responded that a short video presentation would be produced this week. Once that is finished, the master plan can be started. It is possible that construction at the Kate Mountain site could start this year, but the Garage is the priority in 2008. The Kate Mountain project would commence next year at this time.

The Board thanked Mr. Bair for his presentation, information and attendance. He then left the meeting.


    1. APPOINT DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT. Highway Superintendent James Rascoe is on medical leave, and the written resignation of Eric Merrill as Deputy Highway Superintendent was received on March 20, 2008. Under NYS Town and Highway Law, if five days elapse without the Highway Supt. appointing a Deputy, the Town Board has authority to appoint said Deputy. Supervisor Keith asked for a motion for resolution appointing James Perry Deputy Highway Supt.

    Motion for resolution (W.Kretser-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 17: ACCEPT RESIGNATION OF ERIC MERRILL AS DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT AND APPOINT JAMES PERRY, MEO/MECHANIC, TO COMPLETE TERM WHEREAS, Eric Merrill, Deputy Highway Superintendent, submitted his written resignation from that position on March 20, 2008; and WHEREAS, Highway Supt. James Rascoe has taken extended medical leave and is absent from his post; and WHEREAS, under NYS Town and Highway Law if the position of Deputy Highway Supt. remains unfilled for five (5) days, the Town Board has the duty to fill said position; and WHEREAS, James Perry, MEO and Mechanic for the Town is willing to accept the responsibilities of Deputy Highway Superintendent; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board accepts the resignation of Eric Merrill as Deputy Highway Superintendent; AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, James Perry is hereby appointed as Deputy Highway Superintendent for a term commencing March 24, 2008 and ending December 31, 2008.


      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway



    2. TOW-BEHIND SWEEPER. The specifications have not yet been received by the Highway Dept. However, Supv. Keith requested a motion to advertise for bids once the specs have been reviewed, rather than waiting until the next Board meeting.

    Motion to authorize publication of request for bids (A.Berg-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 18: AUTHORIZE PUBLICATION OF REQUEST FOR BIDS FOR TOW-BEHIND SWEPER WHEREAS, a new tow-behind sweeper must be purchased; and WHEREAS, in conformance with the Town's Procurement Policy, solicitation for bids must be advertised; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk is requested to publish bid solicitation as soon as possible for a tow-behind sweeper in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Albany Times-Union, Syracuse Post-Standard and Malone Telegram.


      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway



    3. RECYCLING OF ROAD SAND. Coun. Berg stated he had researched whether it was cost-feasible to recycle sand deposited on road during winter and discovered that the Saranac Lake Highway Dept. does not recycle its sand. Apparently it is too expensive to do so. Coun. Kretser suggested it would be best to sweep the sand in order to keep the culverts free. Coun. Kretser will suggest to Dep. Hwy. Supt. Perry that sand be removed from heavily populated roads. Supervisor Keith commented that summer in the Adirondacks is a short season, and the Highway Dept. has much to do.


EXECUTIVE SESSION - 8:25 PM - Motion to enter Executive Session to discuss personnel matter (M.Keith-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE

RESUME BOARD MEETING - 9:05 PM. No action was taken in Executive Session. Motion to resume Board meeting (W.Kretser-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

1. WAGE FOR DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPT. Motion for resolution setting hourly wage for Deputy Highway Supt. (J.Ordway-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 19: SET HOURLY WAGE FOR DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPT. WHEREAS, the Deputy Highway Superintendent is paid a stipend for assuming the responsibilities of the post; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Deputy Highway Superintendent James Perry will receive $17.24 per hour.


      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway



    2. REINSTATEMENT OF PERSONNEL AND WAIVER OF PROBATION. Motion for resolution (M.Keith-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 20: REINSTATE ERIC SUOJANEN AND WAIVE MANDATORY PERIOD OF PROBATION FOR HIM AND TIM REYELL WHEREAS, Eric Suojanen resigned from the Highway Dept. and then shortly thereafter made application to return; and WHEREAS, Tim Reyell has proven himself a steadfast and energetic employee; and WHEREAS, both employees have performed well in the past; and WHEREAS, the Deputy Highway Superintendent has requested Eric Suojanen's reinstatement and further probation for Eric Suojanen and Tim Reyell be waived; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Eric Suojanen is reinstated in his previous positions; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the mandatory period of probation for both employees is hereby WAIVED.


      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway




      There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm. (J.Ordway-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

    Respectfully submitted, Sandra J. Oliver, Town Clerk

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Town of Franklin
P.O. Box 209, Route 3, Vermontville, NY 12989
Tel: 518-891-2189 - Fax: 518-891-6389
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