Claverack eyes relaxed rules for business zones

CLAVERACK–Town officials are looking into revising the zoning code to encourage more business growth. Economic Development Committee Chair John Lee suggested the changes in a letter to the Town Board, which was read by Town Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons.

“The Highway Commercial zoning district in the town of Claverack requires revisions to accommodate commercial growth in the zone,” Mr. Lee wrote, adding that the recommended changes would “encourage new business and allow expansion of existing businesses” in the district. There are nine separate areas in the Town of Claverack that are zoned as Highway Commercial districts.

Mr. Fitzsimmons said the proposed changes include allowing a truck terminal transfer station as a permitted use with a site plan review; allowing storage of fuel, liquids and tanks to a permitted use as opposed to the current special exception use; changing footprint limits; and changing the maximum height of a building to 50 feet.

Some portions of Highway Commercial zones are located in the Wellhead Protection Overlay district, which is set up to protect public groundwater. Mr. Fitzsimmons said another recommendation made by the Economic Development Committee is to allow “the storage of chemical de-icing compounds, hazardous substances if they’re packaged for individual residential use by resale” in the Wellhead Protection Overlay district.

Town Supervisor Cliff “Kippy” Weigelt said the proposal will be sent to the Planning Board for review.

Also at the January 8 board meeting:

  • Supervisor Weigelt charged Councilman Brian Keeler with the task of rounding up the heads up each fire company in Claverack for a meeting with the Town Board to see whether there is any help the board can offer.

“They do a great job, but I want to see if we can help them further,” said Supervisor Weigelt. He said there is grant money available for the town to use to help the fire companies obtain adequate resources to perform their duties

  • The supervisor said letters have been sent to the supervisors of the Towns of Greenport and Taghkanic to request meetings to discuss the possibility of sharing services with Claverack.

“They’re having some issues in their towns with salt sheds and different things. We’re offering to talk to see if we can do shared services,” he said. “It might be beneficial for our town to do shared services, which the governor wants everybody to do,” he added. Mr. Weigelt said there could be tax relief for the town as the result of sharing services.

  • The town has received a complaint about a property on Thomas Road, though the town does not have responsibility for that property. Supervisor Weigelt said he and Zoning Enforcement Officer Dennis Callahan investigated the property and found it looked “like a landfill” and was a “terrible mess.” He said they took pictures and will be following through on the matter
  • The board approved various appointments and reappointments as part of the organizational meeting also held January 8. They include: Stephen Hook, deputy supervisor; Stanley Koloski, building inspector; Mr. Callahan as ZEO; Michelle Fuchs, budget officer; Louis Lamont, park superintendent; Jean LaPorta, historian; Brian Goodrich, Planning Board Chair; Reginald Conklin, dog control officer. Peter Reiss, John Lee, and Ian Nitschke were reappointed chairs of the Agricultural, Economic, and Historic Advisory committees, respectively.

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