ANCRAM–The Town’s Zoning Revision Committee (ZRC) has churned out its third package of recommended zoning ordinance amendments. This one deals with everything from the establishment of districts to non-conforming uses.
ZRC Chairman/Councilman Hugh Clark presented the latest package to the Town Board at its June 21 meeting.
Appointed in February 2010, the ZRC meets every Monday night to carry out its assignment to “bring the Town’s zoning and subdivision laws into alignment with the Comprehensive Plan” adopted in 2010. The land use laws the ZRC painstakingly reviews date back to 1972.
In addition to Mr. Clark, ZRC members are Vice-chair Barry Chase, Terry Boyles, Barbara Gaba, Donna Hoyt, Bonnie Hundt, Kyle Lougheed, Don MacLean, Bob Mayhew, Jim Miller, Bob Roche, Jane Shannon and Dennis Sigler.
In its newest recommendations, the ZRC calls for the designation of 10 zoning districts, an increase from the five general zoning districts, two special districts and the Scenic Corridor Overlay Zone that now exist. The new amendment states the purpose for each district type and provides an updated zoning map to define each district’s location.
Also recommended are 263 designated uses within each zoning district as opposed to the 90 uses that may or may not occur within each district now. Grouped in seven categories, many of the added uses did not exist when the current ordinance was adopted 40 years ago.
In his memorandum on the amendments, Mr. Clark wrote, “…the amended use table underscores the role of home occupations: those with low impact upon neighbors and the community are broadly permitted.” Business uses are “nudge[d]” toward hamlet business/residential districts. The value of small prosperous business is recognized and provided for in a Floating Business District.
Revised density control tables “implement three-and-a-half acre average density in the Agricultural District and allows half-acre lots in the hamlet business/residential districts subject to adequate water and septic.”
A new Density Bonus subsection provides incentive for the preservation of more than 60% of open space in a parcel, providing public access to recreational lands/facilities and for providing affordable housing.
The revised section on Special Use Permits authorizes the Planning Board to rule on special uses and sets forth a procedure for applying for and reviewing special uses.
The update of the Non-Conforming Uses, Buildings and Lots section, “clarifies and expands” many existing provisions.
The Town Board has so far adopted an initial revisions package in July 2011 and a second package in October 2011.
It will now review and consider the third package for adoption.
Mr. Clark expects to hand over a fourth revision package by sometime in August.
In other business the Town Board:
*Decided to wait until next month to adopt a revised local law on telecommunications towers after a 35-minute public hearing and much discussion. Changes to the revision suggested by the town’s Conservation Advisory Council and agreed to by the Zoning Revision Committee will be incorporated into the law. The setback requirement from habitable structures will remain at 500 feet and setbacks will be “measured from the edge of the tower base closest to the targeted property lines(s) or structure(s), not from the center of the tower itself.”
*Heard a proposal from Lynne Perrella and Jane Shannon that they be allowed to organize an Ancram Tag Sale and Bazaar at the Ancram Highway Garage in the fall of 2013. The idea is to “provide a fun event” at which local people can showcase and sell things they produce or tag sale items. Local organizations and businesses would also be invited to participate. They also asked the Town Board for not more than $3,000 in seed money for table, chair and tent rental fees; mailings to solicit participants and event publicity. Money from the rental of tables ($20 each) to vendors will offset the cost to the town. The women plan to present a budget for the event by November of this year.
*Heard that Ruth Thomas is stepping down as director of the Ancram Summer Camp so she can focus her attention on her and her husband’s operation of the Copake General Store. Jessica Dickinson is the new director.
*Heard that the town’s animal control officer Wes Powell submitted a proposal in response to a public notice posted by the town seeking someone to do a dog census.