Court that was a school, could now be a business

CLAVERACK–The Town Board approved changes to the zoning law last week to add the old Claverack School building to the Hamlet Business 1 District (HB1). The parcel, owned by the Hudson City School District and currently being used as the county’s temporary courthouse, was part of the Hamlet Residential District.

The school district has had difficulty selling the property because the building is not suitable for residential use. Adding the parcel to business district opens up commercial possibilities for the building.

Last year, the owner of linens manufacturer Traditions Linens made an offer for the building asked the town to change the zoning for the parcel to permit her operations. But the sale fell through when officials realized that the 30-day public hearing notice requirement for the town would cause the school district to miss the deadline to include the sale as a referendum on its next ballot.

Town attorney Robert Fitzsimmons said there was more interest in the building “a few months ago,” but that has faded. Still, the Town Board wanted to move forward with the zoning changes this time around to make the building easier for the district to sell in the future. Town Supervisor Cliff “Kippy” Weigelt said the county expects to move the court back to the renovated courthouse in Hudson in October.

Michael Brandon asked whether the zoning change could open up the possibility for somebody to turn the parcel into a strip mall.

Planning Board member Gretchen Stearns said the zone would not allow that but could permit a “multi-use commercial building.”

Ms. Stearns also suggested to the Town Board that members consider amending the town’s Comprehensive Plan to describe how the town envisions that parcel to be used. She said many residents have strong emotional ties to the former school building because of its history and would like to see it serve as a central part of the hamlet. For example, she said, “one of the things allowed in a Hamlet Business 1 Zone is a commercial outdoor recreational space. I’d like people to think about that.”

The zoning change also adds the neighboring Peoples Bible Church to the HB1. Mr. Fitzsimmons said this was done in case the church ever wanted to sell the parcel in the future.

Also at the August 14 board meeting, the board:

  • Approved other zoning changes that Mr. Fitzsimmons described as “minor tweaks and corrections of typos.” He said it was “basically cleanup”
  • Adopted a resolution to ban lawn signs on the town property at the intersection of Routes 9H and 23 on the corner by the Claverack Market. Member Stephen Hook said it was an “unwritten rule” that political lawn signs are not put up at the corner.

“It doesn’t really look pretty with all those signs there right now,” he said. He made a motion to make a rule excluding the signs an official policy for the land there owned by the town; the policy prohibits all kinds of signs including political messages

  • Appointed Joe Singleton a member of the Planning Board.



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