Town board talks infrastructure needs, public safety

Warwick. Bridge repairs, sewer upgrades, and much-needed road work were among the topics discussed, in addition to extra patrolling of area parks.

| 15 Apr 2024 | 12:50

The Warwick Town Board addressed the urgency of the Wickham Sewer District during the April 11 town board meeting. Warwick Town Supervisor Jesse Dwyer explained that the sewer plant was built in the 1980s and is in dire need of repair. He added that estimated costs for these repairs are between $12 million and $16 million, which the town is hoping to offset with the help of grant funding.

Despite the high costs, Dwyer stressed that failing to upgrade the Wickham sewer plant could be costlier for the town.

“We have found [costs] are generally double if not more when you’re trying to repair something under an emergency basis,” said Dwyer.

A public hearing on the proposed upgrades to the Wickham Sewer District is scheduled to be held on May 16 at Warwick Town Hall.

Jayne Street Bridge

In addition to seeking funding for the Wickham Sewer District upgrade, the town of Warwick is hoping to secure a grant for financing the long overdue repairs for the Jayne Street Bridge located in the village of Florida. Dwyer explained that the bridge has been closed for many years because of a failed Department of Transportation inspection. He noted that the Warwick Town Board has continually sought grant funding to finance repairs, yet these requests have been denied. The board submitted a new grant application this past January and expects to learn the results soon. Dwyer reported that, following a recent DOT inspection of the bridge, the department requested the town install fencing around the bridge to prevent people from walking over it.

Road repairs

The board was prompted to address the state of the roads, when Warwick resident Deborah Wittels voiced her displeasure with their conditions. Dwyer responded that the roads she was referring to were owned by the state of New York, which is also responsible for their maintenance and upkeep.

Although state owned, Supervisor Dwyer emphasized that the town is not dismissing the roads as “somebody else’s problem.” He said that the Warwick Town Board, along with the local mayors, have been pressing state officials to work on those roads. He also encouraged residents to contact their state representatives and voice their concerns.

Other business

The town board announced many actions aimed at ensuring local parks and recreational spaces can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Among these is a new policy thats requires the Town of Warwick Police Department to conduct checks of the public parks every day. Speaking with the Advertiser, Dwyer explained this means each time a new officer starts their shift, they will be required to travel to their designated post at each of the parks at least once per shift, resulting in every park being checked at least three times per day.

“This just adds one more layer of protection and interaction of our community-minded police force,” said Dwyer.

The Warwick Town Board addressed the importance of short-term rental regulations, when it heard from a short-term rental owner during her revocation hearing. The property, located at 21 Distillery, had its short-term rental permission revoked because it was promoted as an event space.

Speaking to the board, Robin Mazzoca, who owns 21 Distillery with her husband, explained that a relative had written the blurb for the Airbnb website, which had language suggesting the house could be used for events. She said that once she received the violation from the town, she changed the listing on the website to abide by local regulations. Mazzoca further explained that she and her husband had obtained the property last August and although the property was listed on Airbnb, they did not have anyone stay at the property outside of family. When the board sought clarification, she said only family members have stayed on the property, and they provided reviews of the property.

The town board asked Mazzocca to provide documentation showing the property had not been rented for profit and said that they would revisit the status of the rental. Supervisor Dwyer said he understood that mistakes happen and reminded the public of the importance of the short-term rental regulations.

“We are trying to be very strict with short-term rentals because a lot of people invest a lot of money into doing it correctly. We want to make sure that property values and neighbors are protected, and investments are protected.”