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Kinderhook ponders new uses in old homes


KINDERHOOK–The Town Board discussed changes to the zoning law’s residency requirements for buildings that are older than the town codes.

At their regular meeting June 9 the board also set a date to host the countywide program that sheds documents for seniors. Locked bins will be placed at the Martin H. Glynn Building in the lobby of the Valatie Village Hall office on June 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26. All the personal materials and paper deposited in the bins will be fed into a shredder directly from the locked bins.

Board Member Patsy Leader also spoke about a Neighborhood Watch meeting held last month. She said representatives from the State Police attended the meeting and urged people to report suspicious behavior. “People just have to learn to call; and they don’t and it’s sad,” she said.

On the topic of the zoning code, the board decided to have the Codes Committee review a proposed change to the law that would permit certain currently restricted uses for structures that do not exceed 1,500 square feet and were built before July of 1978, when the Town Codes were enacted.

Ronald Wills came to the board in January asking about a property he owns on Route 9 near Cortland Drive, which was once the Niverville Firehouse. The building is an area zoned residential and Mr. Wills was asking the board if he could make the building into a small office for his own use. The Town Board told Mr. Wills at that time that he would have to go through the Planning Board.

At the June meeting, Town Attorney Andy Howard told the Town Board that the Planning Board discussed Mr. Wills request for five months and has suggested a “supplementary regulation” to the code to permit, or grandfather in, “home occupations” in the zone that includes Mr. Wills’ property. The change would authorize the operation of a small business in residences that predate the original zoning code adopted 36 years ago.

Mr. Howard said that limiting the change to older buildings “puts a cap on it.” It would allow buildings, like the former Town Hall, which is for sale, to be used for a small business as along with a residence. The change would not permit the construction of new offices buildings in residential areas.

Though the board decided to let the Codes Committee review the change, Board Member Paul Voltz said, “The alternative to this is more empty buildings.”

“I think it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have this looked at closer,” said Mr. Howard of the review by the Codes Committee.

Supervisor Pat Grattan recused himself from the discussion, since at one time he represented Mr. Wills as a lawyer in a different property case. But he said that the public would have more time to comment on the issue now as the committee reviews the changes.

Resident Ed Simonsen, who spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, said of the changes, “I urge you to think very carefully about this.” He went on to say, “We are going to change the zoning laws for one person.”

The Code Committee has not yet scheduled a meeting.

The Town Board will meet again on July 14 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email



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