Middleburgh zoning rewrite almost finished


By Patsy Nicosia

Work on the Town of Middleburgh’s zoning rewrite is nearly done.
Fred Risse from the Joint Planning Board reviewed the rewrite, two years in the making, for Supervisor Pete Coppolo and councilmen Thursday.
And though there could be changes and adjustments in the document after a public hearing June 13 at 7:30pm, the group’s work drew mostly praise and compliments even after Mr. Risse asked for suggestions.
“All of the work you’ve done on it, I don’t want to suggest changes now,” said Councilman Frank Herodes. “I think you’ve done a great job. Thanks for all of your hard work.”
Some of the changes in the update focus on language and definitions, Mr. Risse said, using “viewshed” as an example.
No one wants to see a home built on the Cliffs with three acres of trees cut down around it, he said.
“The same thing down in the Valley,” where the size of subdivisions is restricted as a way to protect agriculture and farming.
By defining better viewshed, he said, the Rewrite Committee hopes to help preserve both the valuable view and the valuable farmland.
Mr. Risse said proposed changes in the zoning law would also make it easier for farmers or anyone with a large piece of property to add a second home without going through the subdivision process as long as there was a separate driveway and septic and well requirements were met.
Codes Enforcement Officer Tom Loucks suggested the rewrite should allow more commercial uses without requiring special use permits, pointing out all projects would have to go through site plan review anyway.
He also pointed out that the sign section of the law has gone from two to about 20 pages. In part because there are so many more options for signs.
The proposed rewrite gives the town the right to pay to have someone clean up neglected properties or even mow the lawn and put the charge on the owner’s property taxes.
Mr. Risse said there’s been discussion over prohibiting additional junkyards in the town, but pointed out that while they can’t be prohibited outright, they can be restricted to certain zones.
The town will take comments on the updates at the public hearing June 13.
The revisions will also have to go before the County Planning Commission.
After that, if there aren’t any substantial changes in the draft, the next step would be to adopt it.
If the changes are more substantial, however, it will likely go back to the Rewrite Committee for more work first.