Valatie eases zoning, tightens safety

VALATIE–The Village Board approved two new local laws, the first and second of 2014, at their meeting Tuesday. The new laws update the occupancy limits for apartments and change the language in the Business District zoning law so that property owners on Upper Main Street can choose whether to have commercial or residential spaces in their buildings.

After closing the public hearings on the local laws, which were continued from last month, the board held its regular meeting September 9, passing a motion to increase the quarterly water rates by $1 per 1,000 gallons over 7,500 gallons for in the village users. The rate is increased the rate by $3 for users outside the village.

Mayor Diane Argyle said she is meeting with the county Health Department this week to discuss solving the village’s ongoing water issue, which many require an expensive filtration system as part of increasing water capacity. She hopes the state will help find funding for the project. “Something has to be done,” she said. There is currently a moratorium on new construction projects in the village until the water issue is resolved.

The mayor also reported to the board that residents in the Business District in the Village of Kinderhook have started connecting to the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Valatie. “They were shooting for one or two a day,” said Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons of the Kinderhook connections. Over 30 properties in the neighboring village will be connected to the Valatie plant once work is complete.

As for Business District in Valatie, Mr. Fitzsimmons explained during the discussion of Local Law #2 that in 2005 Main Street was designated a special district and properties that had extensive renovations were required to add commercial spaces on the first floor. In 2008 another Business District was created that extended that rule to Upper Main Street/Route 203 out to Mechanic Street.

But when Habitat for Humanity approached the village a few months ago about building a two-family house in that second district, Mr. Fitzsimmons said, “We told them they couldn’t do that because of the language” in the law.

Mr. Fitzsimmons said that the new Local Law #2 makes it clear that in the second Business District property owners are not required to have any commercial space in their buildings. They may create space for businesses in that part of village but the board is not making it mandatory. Mr. Fitzsimmons said that if Habitat now wants renovate a building in that zone, the organization would be able to do it.

“You didn’t have a choice with the old law,” said Village Board member Frank Bevens of the restrictions.

The board made a change to Local Law #1 before adopting it at their meeting. The original proposal for the law increased fees on both landlords and tenants when a rental space did not have an inspection by the Code Enforcement Office when tenants change.

“The board has decided not to go after tenants,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said. With the change, only the landlord is subject to a fine of up to $500 if the apartment is not inspected.

Also at the meeting the board:

  • Announced that a Community Day will be Saturday October 18 at the Martin H. Glynn Building, during the Artisan Day events on Main Street organized by the Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association (VERA)
  • Announced that brush pick up will be on Mondays starting October 6 and running to December. There will also be a village-wide Cleanup on October 11. Residents can bring their trash to River Street, where the village will provide dumpsters. If seniors in the village need assistance they should contact the village office at 518 758-9806.

The next village meeting will be Tuesday, October 14 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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