Village extends moratorium but loosens its grip

CHATHAM–The Village Board has approved extending by six months a moratorium on subdivision and commercial or industrial construction projects. But the extension adopted at the board meeting Thursday, October 29, is less restrictive than the initial moratorium that first took effect two years ago.

The moratorium was put in place while a Zoning Revision Committee appointed by the board reviews the village zoning laws to see whether it reflects the updated Comprehensive Plan. A more stringent moratorium was put in place while revisions to the Comprehensive Plan were being completed.

Mayor Tom Curran said during a public hearing on extending the moratorium, held before the regular meeting, that the new language of the temporary construction ban includes exceptions based on the square footage of construction projects and makes a distinction between commercial and private projects.

Mayor Curran said the new wording in the moratorium “really suits us and suits what our process is.”

Steve Piazza, a member of the Planning Board and the Zoning Revision Committee, attended the hearing and said that a six-month extension of the moratorium should give the committee time to review village zoning regulations. “A lot more has to be done, and it’s not complete,” he told the board. But he said that once the Village Board amends the zoning law to reflect the goals of plan there won’t be a need for a moratorium.

Meanwhile, the board has to find a new building inspector/code enforcement officer now that Walt Simonsmeier, who currently holds those posts, has announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Mayor Curran said the Village Board plans to hold discussions with the towns of Ghent and Chatham about sharing services. Mr. Simonsmeier is the currently the building inspector for both towns.

Also at the meeting:

  • The board approved authorizing the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $295,100 for repairs and repainting of the water tower. The work was recently completed but a final bill has not yet been received by the Village Clerk Barbara Henry
  • Board members decided to forgive the sewer bills for residents on Harmon Heights and agreed to restructure those residents’ bills. The five houses on the road use only the sewer, since they share a well. They have been charged $96 a quarter for sewer use since some time in 1990’s, according to an estimate provided by Ms. Henry. The residents will now be charged the minimum use rate for $21 for one bathroom and about half that for the any additional bathrooms

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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