March 7, 2013
Cortlandville seeks zoning plan
Engineering firm to examine land use in wake of proposed housing complex
CORTLANDVILLE — The Town Board Wednesday authorized Clough Harbor & Associates to create an updated land use plan for the town before making a decision on a proposed senior housing project on Common Avenue.
The Albany-based engineering firm will examine the town’s entire zoning map, Town Supervisor Dick Tupper said. It will be paid $25,000, he said.
The town is running out of building lots, said Councilman John Proud, citing the planned Byrne Dairy yogurt plant at the Finger Lakes East Business Park on Route 13.
It is premature to go forward with anything until a plan is developed, Proud said.
Clough Harbor & Associates is expecting to take four to five months to develop a final land use plan, Tupper said.
“I would suspect that’s probably a minimum,” he said.
The plan to hire Clough Harbor & Associates was first brought up during discussion about a zoning change requested for property at the end of Common Avenue, where Jim Reeners and his son Michael want to build a senior housing complex that would have 81 apartments, including a two-story, 32-unit residence and duplexes and cottage homes on about 20 acres of land.
“I’m not surprised that this is the direction they’re (the council) taking,” said Jim Reeners at the meeting.
Reeners was confident the engineering firm would show there are no building lots zoned appropriately for his project.
Reeners would like the board to create a new zoning designation, known as R-4, that allows only residential housing, for his project.
Other zoning designations allow farm buildings, schools and professional offices.
Town officials are concerned his request would constitute spot zoning.
Amy Bauer, of nearby Westmore Lane, read a letter to the council from residents of Westmore Lane, Kinney Gulf Road and Quail Ridge, that cited concerns over spot zoning, heavy traffic and water runoff.
Bauer said the spot zoning was “arbitrary and capricious” and the only hardship from the current zoning laws were financial and self-inflicted by the Reeners.
“That is not grounds for new variances,” Bauer said.
Bauer also called for a feasibility study to see if there really was a demand for senior housing in the area at the price point Reeners would offer. There was also no guarantee that the apartments would only be used for senior housing, Bauer said.
The board also unanimously passed a resolution calling the New York SAFE Act unconstitutional, and decided to send a copy of the resolution to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and other state officials.
A previous resolution calling for no further infringement on gun rights was passed about six weeks ago, said Councilman Ron Rocco.
That resolution was rescinded in favor of the resolution contending that the act is unconstitutional.
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