CLAVERACK — The Town Board has approved a revision to the town’s zoning law, a change that’s been over four years in the making. The revised zoning law is a major step in conforming local zoning with the town’s Comprehensive Plan, completed in 2008.
The zoning code changes include measures to protect Claverack’s “rural character”; preserve “scenic views, open spaces, natural resources, and the overall environmental quality of the town”; and prevent overcrowding of land or buildings “to avoid undue congestion of populations.” There are also provisions in the new law that open up certain areas to small businesses, encouraging economic development in the town to create jobs.
The new zoning code encourages development of housing to provide residents with more affordable housing options.
Changes to the law include the redistricting of the town in an effort to promote economic and housing development within the hamlets, while preserving the agricultural open space outside the hamlets. The town has met with opposition from residents on Maple Avenue during previous public hearings. This neighborhood is now being redistricted to encourage more business development.
The new districts include: Rural Conservation, Rural Residence, Rural Agriculture, Hamlet Residence, Mobile Home Park, Highway Commercial, Hamlet Business, Hamlet Business-1, and Commercial – Industrial Park.
Town Supervisor Robin Andrews said the town had been working intensely over the past month to get the law completed. A committee has been working on the revised law since 2008.
“I think it’s time to put our John Hancocks on it,” said board member Cliff Weigelt.
According to Town Attorney Robert Fitzsimmons, any pending applications will be subject to the old law. New applications going forward will be subject to the new law.
Also at the December 13 board meeting:
•The board discussed the County Courthouse’s upcoming move to the Claverack School during renovations to the courthouse in Hudson. The town has received the county’s application, but since there will be no meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals during December due to the holidays, the county would have to wait until the end of January for action by the ZBA. This would pose a problem, said Ms. Andrews, because the county would like to move to the school building at the end of December, while court is on vacation.
Attorney Fitzsimmons said there is a way to get around the problem by conducting a Monroe Analysis.
“In a Monroe Analysis, the Town Board will look at nine different factors to determine if allowing the county to move in would be okay,” said Mr. Fitzsimmons. He said that if the board does this, it would exempt the county from going through the zoning process, allowing the court staff to move in sooner.
Ms. Andrews said she is willing to entertain that, but would like to give the residents in the area an opportunity to comment. She set a public hearing date of Thursday, December 20 at 7 p.m. to discuss the County Courthouse move to the Claverack School
•The board approved a resolution to purchase a new dump truck at a cost of $219,016. The town will borrow $169,016 with bonds and appropriate $50,000 from the town budget
•Ms. Andrews announced that Russ Pomeranz, chair of the town’s Historic Committee, will resign as chairman but remain on the committee as a member. Also, Town Historian Sal Cozzolino is resigning, so the town will be looking to fill that position.
The next Town Board meeting will be its annual organizational meeting Thursday, January 3 at 7p.m.