The DPW: Follow-SEQRA Petition sign now

The Petition for Dutchess County DPW to Follow SEQRA Law

Law Demands It; Clinton Hollow Residents Deserve It

Dutchess County DPW Should Follow SEQRA Law and Hold Type 1 Review Public Hearing on Changes to Hamlet of Clinton Hollow

Clinton Hollow is a Town-Designated Critical Environmental Area Protected Under State Environmental Quality Review Act

Norene Coller, Clinton Conservation Advisory Council Chair, sent this letter below on January 31st to Greg Bentley, Director of Engineering for the Dutchess County Department of Public Works, asking that SEQRA law be followed and the hamlet of Clinton Hollow's Critical Environmental Area designation be respected as well when it comes to the DPW's proposed changes at the intersection of county roads 14 and 18 (Hollow/Centre/Clinton Hollow)-- namely, a full public hearing with Type 1 review is required by law in this situation.

We asked our county's Department of Public Works several times last year to join us for a public hearing here in Clinton on this important issue, unfortunately to no avail thus far.

However, this is an important issue, so our efforts continue.

Do you agree with Norene and us on this?

If you do, please read her letter to this effect below, sign on to the petition, forward it on to all you know on your email lists, and contact the four public officials below on this:

Michael Murphy, DPW Commissioner: [email protected] (486-2121)
Greg Bentley, DPW Director of Engineering: [email protected] (486-2925)
William Steinhaus, County Executive: [email protected] (486-2000)
Ray Oberly, Clinton Town Supervisor: [email protected] (266-5721)

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, N.Y. 12580

[Note as well-- improvement of sight distance at the 14/18 intersection is possible-- without the county ripping away part of Jane Dembicki's property a bit north on Centre Road.]


Dear Mr. Bentley:

As residents of the Town of Clinton and recipients of the letter of January 14th from your office, we have major concerns about the plans outlined by your department to place a blinking light at the corner of Hollow and Centre Roads. First, the intersection of concern is located in a Critical Environmental Area (CEA), so designated by the Clinton Town Board in 1989, reaffirmed by the Town Board in 2001. The seven CEAs in Clinton were mapped and recognized by Clinton in an effort to protect the historic fabric of the town, which still reflects the 18th and 19th century rural land use patterns. Clinton Hollow was the location of a mill built in 1766 on the Little Wappinger Creek, as well as a post office and two general stores, that served the farms and associated craftsmen (black smiths, barrel makers, wagon makers, etc.).

As a Critical Environmental Area designated under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) any major change in Clinton Hollow would require a Type 1 review with full public hearings. This would allow residents of Clinton to express their concerns about the safety of the intersection and the proposed response of the Dutchess County Department of Public Works.

As you know, Clinton has no traffic lights. Generally, the traffic in our community does not require traffic control devices which might be more appropriate in congested areas. We have read the analysis of your engineers and their concerns about the safety of the traveling public. We, too, have concerns about the safety of the traveling public. We propose that an interim solution should be attempted with a four-way stop, improvement of sight distances and sufficient caution and warning signs. The analysis of that solution will provide information to your department and to residents of Clinton to determine whether safety concerns could be addressed without a major impact on the visual integrity of our rural community.

It seems that the majority of Clinton residents oppose construction of blinking lights with the major land clearing and road construction required. This would seem to be "overkill" in our rural community, not to speak of the major cost to Dutchess County taxpayers. A simpler, less costly solution might solve the problem.

Yours truly,

Dick and Norene Coller


Ray Oberly, Clinton Supervisor
Barbara Seelbach, Clinton Town Board
Dan Budd, Clinton Town Board
Michael Appolonia, Clinton Town Board
Frank Venezia, Clinton Town Board
Theron Tompkins, Clinton Highway Superintendent
Bill McDermott, Clinton Town Historian
William R. Steinhaus, Dutchess County Executive
Michael P. Murphy, County Commissioner of Highways
Charles E. Traver, Director of Construction and Maintenance
Joel Tyner, County Legislator
Margaret Duke, NYSDEC Regional Permit Adminstrator
Michael and Christina Lee Kaplan, Salt Point, NY


More on this issue...

Douglas Smyth of Schultzville Road recently submitted this letter below on this (excerpted):

"To assert that the overwhelming majority of the Town of Clinton want a flashing light at the 14/18 intersection is absurd...

I have not heard one other resident, either in public forums like the Town meeting, or in private conversation state that they would prefer a flashing light at that intersection. What is also very clear: virtually all of the people who live within sight distance of the intersection are vehemently opposed to a flashing light there. I have favored a stop sign at the intersection for a long time because my father had a bad accident there in the 1950's, and the head injury he sustained eventually led to his fatal stroke.

In fact, the reason a flashing light came up is because DOT seems to think that is the only way to deal with the intersection. It's not, as the full, four-way stop in Schultzville has shown. Before it was installed, there was clearly a problem. Since it has been installed, everyone stops: no problem. Perhaps DOT and some other people want the flashing light because installation would cost several hundred thousand dollars, and someone would make money on it, whereas how much are two more stop signs going to cost?"


"I don't think there's one person in this town that wants that light at that intersection."

Those were actually the words of G.O.P. Town Boardmember Barbara Seelbach at the close of a town board meeting a few months ago, referring to intersection of county routes 14 and 18.


Here are the folks who signed updated petition a while ago:

[update note-- Peter and Betty Olson of Hollow Road and William and Meg Hesher of Allen Road have contacted us within the last week to add their names to this petition-- please let us know if we can add your names to this list as well!]

Regina Anastasia of Shadblow Lane
David Budd of Sunset Trail
Dick Coller of Deer Ridge Drive
Robert Dahl of Skytop Ridge Road
Jane Dembicki of Centre Road
Alice Foster of Nine Partners Road
Larry Freedman of Oak Tree Road
Mary Guip of Fiddler's Bridge Road
John and Joanne Heitman of Centre Road
Suzi Hieter of Hollow Road
Annemarie Juliano of Centre Road
Nicholas Kazolias of Schoolhouse Road
Cynthia Lintel of Hollow Road
Nancy Morrissey of Deer Ridge Drive
Joe and Pauline Quattrone of Schoolhouse Road
Mike Robinson of Old Bulls Head Road
Carol Still of Fiddler's Bridge Road
Linda Stokes of Grissom Place
Lauren Van Dyke of Centre Road
Richard Whitton of Shadblow Lane

The wording of the petition, as drafted by Michael Kaplan, reads: "We, the undersigned, understand and agree that the intersection of county roads 14 & 18 are dangerous and many accidents occur there. We, however, do not want any flashing lights installed there. Instead, we call upon the Town of Clinton and Dutchess County governments to install a four-way stop intersection at the junction of county roads 14 & 18. We, the undersigned, live in the area-- some of us with property abutting or in direct sight of this intersection. A flashing light installed here would affect our quality of life. We do not wish to have a flashing light in our windows 24 hours a day."

Don't forget-- a four-way stop at that intersection should be more viable, as Town Board recently passed a resolution for speeds to be lowered in the intersection (after we suggested to the Town Supervisor back in October that this happen).


Again, credit is due to Betty Skidmore of Centre Road for pushing us to start a petition on this back in March of last year after we pulled together a forum at the Clinton Town Hall on the need for county DPW to address the dangerous intersection of Rt. 14 and Rt. 18 (Centre/Hollow/Clinton Hollow)-- but the dozens upon dozens of signatures we gathered from folks around town were NOT for a blinking light-- but for a four-way stop with warning signs(!!).

Big thanks as well to Gary and Linda Stokes of the Schultzville General Store for helping to get signatures at their store for a four-way stop at 14/1-- see

Honestly, we were happy initially back in the middle of July when we saw that the county DPW was addressing the issue, after months of lobbying from Betty, others, and ourselves.

But then, when a number of people started coming out of the woodwork to complain to us that the DPW's proposed solution to the intersection was NOT what they wanted, that we needed to raise our voice on this on behalf of them-- that's when we went to work further, trying to get a sense of what really is appropriate for our town.


Recall this Poughkeepsie Journal article a few months ago from Michael Woyton:
"Fixes in the Works for Risky Crossing: Flashing Light Not Popular in Clinton"

"After years of residents complaining about a dangerous intersection, Dutchess County is working to resolve the problem.

But while they welcome the renewed attention to the problem, some residents aren't happy with the proposed solution, which would include a two-way flashing red light.

People who live near the intersection of Centre and Hollow roads in the Town of Clinton long have complained about how dangerous it is.

''It's an intersection that's been the scene of accidents for a long time,'' said Douglas Smyth, who lives near Schultzville.

His father was injured in an accident there in the late 1950s, Smyth said, and it's getting worse because of increased population and traffic.

Centre Road, which is county Route 18, has a posted speed limit of 55 mph. The yellow cautionary intersection signs approaching Hollow Road, which is county Route 14, are accompanied by a suggested reduction in speed to 30 mph only from the north.

The engineering division of the Dutchess County Department of Public Works has announced a plan to improve sight lines, upgrade signs and install a flashing traffic light.

Some improvements already have been made, said Charlie Traver, director of highway construction and maintenance.

''We've put in high friction pavement on the east-west approaches for Hollow Road,'' Traver said, in addition to removing a tree to improve sight lines and installing an enlarged ''stop ahead'' sign for the west approach.

4-way stop suggested

Beyond that, Traver said, the engineering office is working on a blinking light for the intersection, which would be flashing red for Hollow Road and flashing yellow for Centre Road. The aim is to draw more attention to the approaching intersection.

But Clinton Corners resident Michael Kaplan said he and his neighbors would prefer a four-way stop and say it would be safer. And, he said, it wouldn't spoil the rural nature of the area.

''In the fall when the leaves are down, you can see for quite a distance,'' Kaplan said. ''A flashing light would be in our windows.''

Traver said a four-way stop would not be a good solution for this particular intersection. The high rate of speed on Centre Road would increase the probability of rear-end collisions.

County Legislator Joel Tyner, D-Clinton, is pleased the county is paying attention to the problem.

''It's one that's languished for many years,'' he said. ''People had given up all hope of anything ever being done on it.''

However, the residents he has spoken with don't like what's being planned.

''Just about everyone who lives near the intersection has expressed to me a real desire that the county not put a blinking light that shines right in their windows at that intersection,'' Tyner said.

County Executive William Steinhaus said input from the residents will be considered.

''While there is some discretion, there are also standards that exist from an engineering perspective where signage can be installed,'' said Steinhaus, who participated in a site visit to the intersection with members of the public works staff.

''Most of the time, I'm going to defer to the engineers,'' he said.


Credit on mobilizing town residents on this issue is due to Michael Kaplan for getting this letter to the editor out recently:

"I am writing on behalf of the 70 residents who have signed the petition opposing installation of a flashing light at the intersection of County Road 14 and County Road 18 in the Town of Clinton.

To this date, 70 people have signed, voicing their opposition to this project. They are not a few shouters, nor a dozen or so radicals. These 70 people are Republicans and Democrats; they are long-time residents and new homeowners. They are 70 individuals who are taxpayers and voters. And they are all against any flashing lights at this intersection.

The intersection in question has existed for many years with only two stop signs. Now, because of reckless driving and a disregard of the traffic laws, the residents of the area will be fined with flashing lights blinking in our windows; thus not only disturbing our quality of life, but also putting a Band-Aid on a problem intersection.

We urge Dutchess County to go back and re-address this issue and seek alternate plans. Whether it be a four-way stop or lowering speed limits or increased traffic patrols by the sheriff's department and state police. Speeding tickets given to reckless drivers will teach them traffic laws, bring in much-needed revenue, and make Clinton Hollow a safer place to live and drive in. "

These are just some of the dozens of folks from around the town who have signed on to the petition developed by Mike Kaplan and Jim Montross against a traffic light at the 14/18 intersection and for a four-way stop with warning signs:


[Michael K. adds: "There's a great deal of history here in the Hollow. My house was built in 1797-- it was the general store and post office. Cindy Benson's house was the millkeeper's ("Isaac Fraleigh's Mill-House 1785, 1845"). Terrence and Robin Hughes-Ghee's house was the blacksmith's shop. Up the road from them is a one-room schoolhouse-- still standing. The Marcheses' house (red house on the top of the hill) was a tavern and an inn; Mei's was the other general store."]

Michael and I also gathered these quotes below about a month ago from folks who actually live real close to the intersection:

William Curtis of 879 Hollow Road: "I have a major complaint with them putting a traffic light right at this intersection. Right down the road there's a four-way stop at the intersection of Hollow Road with Fiddler's Bridge Road and Nine Partners Road-- why can't we have that here? The bridge is a historic landmark-- people should slow down instead of the bridge being replaced."

Jack Persely of 18 Schoolhouse Road: "I'd like to take it step by step and initially try a four-way stop, with no blinking light. On the Hollow Road Bridge, certainly the historic value of it is important, and I'm in favor of keeping it."

Nancy Perseley of 18 Schoolhouse Road: "The reason why we live here is because we love the rural setting. I want to live in the country-- not Hyde Park. I hate what's happening-- there's building going on constantly."

Terrence Hughes-Ghee of Schoolhouse Road: "I'd rather see a four-way stop than a light at the intersection, and the bridge is over 70 years old-- we don't need to change the hamlet with something that's going to encourage speed demons."

Richard Marshall of 44 Schoolhouse Road: "Straightening that bridge is going to exacerbate speeds, and it's bad enough as it is; a blinking yellow light won't really slow people down."

Walter Whalen of 635 Clinton Hollow Road: "I feel the blinking light is an extreme measure-- an unnecessary expense. I don't see the need for it-- then they'll go sixty miles an hour."

John Severence of 625 Clinton Hollow Road: "I fully believe that the bridge should be fully preserved. There's no reason for replacing it."

Carmine Palumbo of 622 Clinton Hollow Road: "This whole road should be 30 mph-40mph-- people come through here like it's a raceway, cars up to 70, 80 miles an hour-- the speed limit should be enforced; the county sheriff's can catch speeders from my driveway any time they want. I also don't understand why there are passing lanes here in a residential area."

These three folks from around town also feel the same way:

Rev. Gail Burger of Creek Road: "This intersection should be "guarded" by 4-way Stop signs. A blinking yellow light on the corner of my street would make me crazy. Don't do that to my neighbors since an alternative is available."

Doug Smyth of Schultzville Road: "A 4-way stop would be more effective and less obnoxious and intrusive to neighbors than a blinking light."

Bill Hogan of Salt Point Turnpike: "I just a four-way stop with warning signs would be safer. I wonder if people would really slow down for a blinking yellow light."


Here are some more folks from around town who signed hard copy and/or online version of petition that started back in March on this issue-- for four-way stop with warning signs at intersection-- NOT a traffic light(!!!):


Robert Ackert of Longview Rd.
Wendie Adelman of Deer Hill Rd.
Cindy Benson of Hollow Rd.
Kathleen Boardman of Market Lane
Jane Brien of Hollow Rd.
Scott Brewster of Rhynders Rd.
Ron Bruce of Clinton Hollow Rd.
Marie Burns of Schoolhouse Rd.
Jessica Clark of Shadblow Lane
Andy Cooley of Pumpkin Lane
Bettyann Critelli of Centre Rd.
Kevin, Renee, and Janet Dominique of Clinton Hollow Rd.
Nina Doyle of Centre Rd.
William Drew of Fiddlers Bridge Rd.
Glenn and Debra Every of Fiddlers Bridge Rd.
Jaye White Frost of Lake Drive
Miriam Goldstone of Shadblow Lane
Stuart Griffin of Longmeadow Drive
Kevin Hanaburgh of Fiddlers Bridge Rd.
Thomas Hartley of Centre Rd.
Robert Hastings of Hollow Rd.
Rebecca Hicks of Salt Point Turnpike
Angela Hieter of Spruce Lane
Suzie Hieter of Halstead Rd.
Annemarie Juliano of Centre Rd.
Ed Lauricella of Bower Rd.
Kevin Lee of Browning Rd.
Robby Long of Maple Lane
Dan Madsen of Camp Drive
Daniel Melious of Centre Rd.
Jim Montross of Hollow Rd.
James Moon of Grissom Place
Eleanor Moore of Grissom Place
Richard Morse of Hollow Rd.
Rose Mowries of Centre Rd.
Alice Norkeen of Longview Rd.
Gerald Odell of Grissom Place
Maryann Russell of Seelbach Lane
Ruth Scharf of P.O. Box 159
Gerry and Diane Schoesser of Pumpkin Lane
Deborah Solnon of Schoolhouse Rd.
Nina Sommer of East Meadowbrook Lane
Timothy Sullivan of Lake Drive
Ron and Michelle Strollo of Hollow Rd.
Bonnie Starzyk of Long Pond Rd.
Theron Tompkins of Pumpkin Lane
Lauren Van Dyke and Jane Dembickie of Centre Rd.
Anthony and Debbie Venezia of Long Pond Rd.
J. Vonderlee of Breezy Hill Rd.

These quotes from others supporting a four-way stop...

James E. and Helen Ashton of Heritage Road: "I think a four-way stop
there is a very good idea and long over due-- it is a very dangerous

Gail A. Burger of Creek Road: "I have had a few near misses at this

Glenn Carlberg, who lives at that corner (on Hollow Road):
"I find pieces of cars all the time in the yard. There used to be a
huge maple tree on that corner of my property-- it was long ago
destroyed by car accident. I had to move my mailbox. It's just not
a safe corner."

Nearby resident William Curtis of Hollow Road:
"A four-way stop would be wonderful at that intersection."

Adam Deixel of Camp Drive: "I have seen cars on winter nights skid
right through the westbound Hollow Rd stop sign -- a 4-way stop is a
necessity at that intersection."

Linda and Edwin C. Faber, Jr. of Mountain View Road: "We have a
friend who had a serious accident there several years ago. We support
four-way stop signs at the intersection."

Nearby resident Les Ogles of Hollow Road:
"I've seen and heard so many accidents at that intersection-- just
about one every other month it seems. I drive a dumptruck, too, and
have to nose out into the road from Hollow because of the limited
sight distance. It's dangerous; a four-way stop should have been put
there long ago."

Nearby resident Jeanette Pulsifer wrote this letter to the Town
Supervisor literally five years ago (from county DPW files!):
"Simple stop signs erected at the County Rt. 18 intersection going
north and south would prevent any more injuries or death, and I could
be at peace, knowing I would not have to hear that familiar crash
sound and keep responding to the scene."

Bruce and Blanche Rubin of Schoolhouse Road: "We live a mile from the
intersection but can still hear the collisions when then they occur!
It's time to do the right thing."

Nearby residents Mike & Linda Terpening of Clinton Hollow Road:
"Frequent nights while walking our dogs, vehicles have been observed
traveling east and west on Hollow Road passing through the stop signs
at 30 to 40 mph. There is also a second problem with speeders
travelers south on Centre Rd leaving little to no time for vehicles
turning south from Hollow Rd. A 4 way would reduce accidents,
injuries, and surely keep death away from this intersection. My wife
and I have on numerous occasions been in our yard and heard
screeching brakes and crunching fenders. Thankfully there have been
no deaths or seriously injuries, but to allow a condition like this
to continue to exist is only inviting trouble."

Nearby residents Walter and Gertrude Whalen of Clinton Hollow Road:
"I've witnessed quite a few accidents there myself-- a four-way stop
is needed."

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