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K’hook zoning proposals crafted in private


KINDERHOOK–The Town Board set a public hearing date to discuss changes made to the zoning laws at the regular board meeting Monday night. Two town residents spoke during the public comment section of the meeting asking why the changes were being made.

“I don’t see any public demands for the changes,” Marcia Anderson said at the October 20 meeting. The changes were made by the town Codes Committee and include changing the Home Occupation rules allowing small businesses to move into properties in residential zones and several other changes in language throughout the code.

Ed Simonsen, who as involved with making changes to the town’s comprehensive plan, said that the committee had not asked for input from the community when making the changes. He also said that the committee did not announce its meetings. Though the town was not required to publicize when the committee met, Mr. Simonsen said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

“You have people who say that’s shadow government,” he said of the committee having met without public notification. He also said that not inviting members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee makes the changes “look suspicious.”

Mr. Simonsen said the changes in the zoning laws expand the home occupation laws greatly in residential neighborhoods, relax the off-street parking laws, and remove some environmental protections, among other things.

Ms. Anderson said that changes include a section saying, “the Planning Board is hereby authorized to use its discretion.”

“It seems pretty open to me,” she said. “Things in the zoning law aren’t just suggestions,” she told the board and continued, “they are the laws of the town.”

“What was the outcry to make all of these changes?” she asked the board.

The public hearing for the changes is set of Thursday, November 6 at 7 p.m. There will also be a budget hearing that night at 6:30 p.m. and the regular town board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Also at the October 20 meeting, board member Patsy Leader said there have been break-ins recently in the town and she asked that residents call the police if they see anything. “We as a community need to learn that we should report any suspicious behavior,” she said.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com.

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