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After salary cuts, four on Chatham Zoning Board resign


CHATHAM–Four members of the town Zoning Board of Appeals have resigned from the board, leaving only two members on the seven-person board.

Supervisor Maria Lull asked Town Clerk Beth Anne Rippel to advertise the positions and to seek candidates for a volunteer town historian at a special meeting on Monday night, November 28.

The purpose of the special meeting was to pass a local law allowing the town to list funds for the North Chatham Library separately from the rest of the town budget on town tax bills. There is no change to how the town funds the library through taxes, just the way it is presented to taxpayers.

According to the local law, the change is pursuant to Real Property Tax Law and Municipal Home Rule Law. The new law passed unanimously with no public comment.

With the law adopted, Ms. Lull then turned to the topic of the resignations and talked to Ms. Rippel about advertising for new ZBA members. The board is also looking for a one new member on the Planning Board for 2017. Planning Board member Bonnie Schoonmaker will not seek reappointment when her term is up at the end of this month.

In the 2017 town budget, which the board passed on November 17, the position of town historian went from paid to a volunteer position. The new budget takes effect January 1.

At the November 17 meeting, Councilman Henry Swartz said that the current town historian would not be returning to volunteer due to the way the Town Board made the change without consulting her. “She was highly insulted,” Mr. Swartz told the board.

To balance the budget for the upcoming year, the board also cut the salaries for ZBA and Planning Board members. Currently each member of those two boards receives $2,655 a year, with the deputy chair paid $3,100 and the chairman receiving $3,700. The 2017 budget changes the compensation to $75 per meeting, or a total of $900 a year for members, and $100 per meeting for the chairman all based on 12 meetings per year.

In another change, the 2017 budget has funds for just six ZBA members instead of the current seven. The goal of the Town Board is to reduce the size of the ZBA to a total of five members over the next two years. The Planning Board will stay at seven members.

ZBA members Jeffrey Lick, Robert Leary, Mitchell Khosrova and JP Henkel sent letters of resignation to the Town Board. The term of ZBA Chairman David Everett expires at the end of this year. Mr. Khosrova term on the zoning board runs until 2020. Mr. Leary’s term ends in 2019; Mr. Lick’s in 2018; Mr. Henkel’s in 2017. ZBA members Adranus Ooms and Kandace Eaton will remain on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Town Board scheduled a workshop meeting for Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m. to discuss building permit fees.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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