December 22, 2011

Zoning changes delayed

I went to last night's Town Board meeting expecting to watch them pass the new zoning. Despite my serious misgivings, I encouraged them to proceed. The old random zoning isn't getting any better with age.

They closed the public hearing, but didn't move to a vote. At the end of the meeting, there was a surprise. The Town is rewriting what had been a Zoning Law to be a Zoning Ordinance - a set of amendments to the current zoning. Most of the changes involved require changing "law" to "ordinance", though there are a few things they have to drop, because they can't be done in an ordinance. (They can't change some penalties, nor can they expand the use of alternates for the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board.)

Why? This avoids a "changing horses in midstream" issue with the Anschutz lawsuit. It leaves the pieces Anschutz is contesting in place, without repealing the ordinance in which they are contained, but replacing almost everything around it.

Although the core of the zoning will remain the same, they'll have to hold another public hearing and wait for the county to review the zoning again, so it'll likely be February before anything passes.

Craig Anderson asked if this might be an opportunity to pass the Subdivision Law changes at the same time as the zoning since they really go together, and the Board sounded like they liked that idea. I agree it's a good idea, but suspect the timing will only work if the Board passes the current version without much consideration of what it contains. I think a lot of the most toxic parts of the zoning migrated into the Subdivision Law and need much more review, but doubt I'll find support on the Board for that position.

Maybe they could give the new ordinance a politically exciting name - the Home Occupation Liberation Act, or something. (Yes, it pretty much does that, shattering a lot of old limitations if you're willing to live where you work.)

Posted by simon at December 22, 2011 9:52 AM in ,
Note on photos