On zoning, Chatham finds it wise to revise revised revisions

CHATHAM–The Town Board is still discussing proposed updates to local zoning laws. And at the regular board meeting April 18 the board also discussed broadband and the possibility of getting high speed internet service to remote parts of the town.

The board now has a newly updated zoning proposal that has been reviewed by the town’s attorney for land use, John Lyons, and Town Planner Nan Stolzenburg. Councilman Bob Balcom told the board that Ms. Stolzenburg suggested sending the latest proposed law back to the county Planning Board for its review again, since the town made changes after public hearings and several workshop meetings that focused on the issue of short-term rentals.

“We made some changes; they are substantial,” Mr. Balcom said, referring to the latest revisions of the zoning proposals.

After the Town Board reviews the changes members plan to meet with Mr. Lyons to review the latest changes, possibly as early as this week. The timeline now calls for another public hearing on the proposed zoning laws and adoption of the proposals later this spring.

The board has been working on changes to the zoning law for nearly three years. Previous town boards and committees began reviewing and updating the town’s zoning laws after the town’s Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2009.

Updates will be posted at www.chathamnewyork.us.

Also at the meeting, Town Attorney Sal Ferlazzo reported to the board that he and some board members had recently met with Spectrum/Charter and Consolidated Communications about cable TV franchise agreements, but he said they also discussed broadband internet service. Councilman Balcom has mentioned at other meetings that the cable companies are not offering high speed internet service to rural parts of the town, where there are too few customers to make the service profitable.

Mr. Ferlazzo said the cable companies did not want to announce where they plan to expand broadband but that they would share that information with the board. “We can share generally with the public,” said Mr. Ferlazzo of the expansion plans.

“They want to expand, they want more business,” said Mr. Ferlazzo, but he added that he was told that expanding broadband was expensive and that the high cost meant that extending the service won’t be happening soon if the companies had to pay for running the cable.

“They are always happy to charge you to bring the service to your house,” Mr. Ferlazzo told the board.

The board approved the five-year franchise agreement with Consolidated Communications with wording saying the company would share its broadband expansion plans with the board.

Also at the meeting:

• Highway Department Supervisor Joe Rickert told the board that the department has been hosting roadside clean-up week April 21 thru April 27. Trash bags are provided and can been picked up at the DPW, 865 County Route 13, Old Chatham, or the Town Hall, 488 State Route 295. Full bags will also be accepted at each location

• Mr. Rickert also said the plans for the traffic light over the Albany Turnpike Bridge in East Chatham are now back with the state after some changes were made. Town Supervisor Maria Lull said that work on that project should start this year

• Councilman John Wapner, who is on the town Parks and Recreation Committee, said the Children’s Garden, a summer program at Crellin Park, is now funded. CARP, the Chatham Area Recreation Program, raised the funding. The garden program will be part of the summer program offered by the town at the park. The committee is currently looking for a director for the program.

The next Town Board meeting will be Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email moc.r1558808023epapa1558808023ibmul1558808023oc@el1558808023adsae1558808023te1558808023

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