A business-friendly Rte. 7?


By Patsy Nicosia

With an eye to making the most of its Route 7 corridor-and making sure it's business-friendly-representatives from the Town of Cobleskill and its Planning Board sat down with consultant Nan Stolzenburg Monday to look at possible zoning changes there.
Now that town water and sewer is available from Shad Point to Howes Cave, said Supervisor Leo McAllister, current zoning there "may be out of whack," especially when it comes to allowed uses in the B2 zone or required lot size.
Codes Enforcement Officer Pete Irwin said some of the definitions of what's allowed may be too vague and both developer Mark Nadeau and Ms. Stolzenburg agreed that could be a problem when it comes to attracting projects.
"Developers prefer to see exactly what the requirements and expectations are and if they do one, two, and three, they're project is going to be approved," Ms. Stolzenburg said.
Mr. Irwin cited the example of two pending applications for commercial solar farms that are nearly ready to go.
Though the project developers could apply for permits as Planned Development Districts, Mr. Irwin said it would be better-and easier if the town decided where they'd best fit with existing uses.
Councilman RJ Mallery stressed any regulations need to be business-friendly.
"In the water and sewer zone, we're losing businesses-not gaining them," he said. "We just lost Caverns Palace...We need to make it easier for businesses to get in there. Easier to build."
Ms. Stolzenburg asked if existing zoning has been an impediment to growth.
Not necessarily, planners said, but echoing Ms. Stolzenburg's own words, they want to be able to come in, know what they need to do, and get it done.
The group agreed to determine what exactly they want Ms. Stolzenburg to do and what the Planning Board can do itself and move on from there.