Chatham leaves fate of village freeze hanging

CHATHAM–The Village Board has tabled a motion to renew a six-month moratorium on major subdivisions and commercial or industrial use. At a public hearing March 26 board members decided not to move forward with extending the moratorium until they talk to their attorney, who could not attend the meeting.

The moratorium was put in place a year and half ago to halt any large commercial construction in the village while a committee worked on updating the Comprehensive Plan. Changes in the plan, which sets overall goals for land use and development, will affect zoning regulations in the village.

The committee has presented a draft plan to the board and held a public hearing on the plan. In late spring the latest draft of the plan will be presented to the board, which will have to hold its own public hearing before the proposal can be approved.

Assuming the plan is adopted, the board can start looking at the existing zoning laws and how they might need to be changed to fit the goal of the plan.

“It’s a big public process,” Mayor Tom Curran said at the meeting.

Francis Iaconetti, the only village resident who attended the public hearing as a private citizen, said he supported the moratorium but questioned some of the wording and the dates. He believes the current draft might unintentionally allow more people with non-conforming properties to be grandfathered in–allowing their uses to continue.

Mayor Curran said that the board would review the wording and discuss the draft plan again at the next board meeting in April.

The board also held a public hearing on mayor’s 2015-16 budget, which must be completed by the board in May. Mr. Iaconetti said the public would have time between the release of the proposed budget online and public hearing to review the spending plan.

The board has scheduled several budget workshops in April and Mayor Curran said that residents could comment on the budget at those meetings. “We welcome comments,” he said.

The budget workshops will be Thursday, April 9, at 6 p.m. and Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall. A budget workshop was also scheduled for April 1.

On another matter the board discussed the Chatham Village Artesian Fair set for September 26 on the village green and at the gazebo there. “We’ll see who the interested people are,” said Trustee Lenore Packet, who is organizing the fair.

The next board meeting will be April 9 at 7 p.m. That meeting will also be the Village Board yearly organization meeting.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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