Chatham dusts off village goals and pit bull ban

CHATHAM–Members of the village Comprehensive Plan Committee attended the Village Board meeting last week to discuss the preliminary plan. “We are pretty close to releasing it for public review,” Matt Rogers, the committee’s consultant to the committee, said at the February 12 meeting.

The committee will host a public hearing on the proposed changes to the plan in March at the Tracy Memorial. Copies of the plan will be available on the village website,, and at the village offices. Board members also discussed having copies available at the Chatham Public Library. The board plans to set the date for the public hearing later this month.

“The village had a 1995 plan that was very successful,” Mr. Rogers told board, but he said that comprehensive plans should be updated every 10 to 15 years. The plan deals with goals of the village and often leads to changes in local zoning. The plan will look at the use of land, economic development, housing stock and the impact the village has on surrounding towns. Mr. Rogers said that one of goals is to focus on attracting new businesses to the village. He talked about the use of the gazebo on the village green and the historic train station, which is now a Kinderhook Bank office, for events. He talked about keeping the village pedestrian friendly, which involves maintenance and cleanup.

He said having a plan puts the board in a better position when the municipality is looking to fund projects to enhance village services. Mr. Rogers said that changes can be made to the plan after the public hearing next month, when the proposal is handed over the Village Board for approval.

Also last week the board discussed an old law that is received a lot of attention. Mayor Tom Curran said that a 1989 law banning pit bulls as pets in the village had triggered a call from Ron Perez, president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society. And the village has gotten several comments on its Facebook page, and well as one letter in support of the law, which was read at the meeting.

“This is something we’ll look at,” Trustee Lenore Packet said, referring to the law.

Mayor Curran stressed that this was not a new law and that it was only recently brought to the board’s attention that it existed. “We can take the law off the books,” he said at the meeting.

The board would need to hold a public hearing on the law before voting on whether to repeal it.

Ms. Packet said the board might look at other laws that also may be out of date.

In other business at the meeting:

  • The board approved the fire company spending $3,475 to upgrade the firehouse’s heating system. Chief Paul Rideout said they firehouse spent about $15,000 on heating last year. He told the board that the new system would cut that bill substantially. “We talked about saving money and this is our first step, with more to come,” he said
  • The board authorized using the Government Payment Service so that the office of the village clerk can take credit and debit cards as payments for village services, including water and sewer bills, building permits and tax payments. A fee will be charged to the card user for using the service.

The next Village Board meeting will be Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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