Skip to main content

New zoning for the town of Chatham

August 2, 2018 05:15 am

To the editor:

If you have not heard, the Town of Chatham Board is considering new Zoning Laws. Public Hearing, 6 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Tri –Village Fire House.

Many have worked long and hard on the comprehensive plan, which was approved 10 years ago. Much of the new Zoning Law is sound and good for our Town and our Environment.

At the final stages a group of, in my opinion, self-interested people mobilized to include restrictions on dirt roads. I sat in on many a meeting when voices were raised and all civility was lost.

I urge you all to review the proposed Zoning laws Updated Zoning July 12 2018 as found on the town website home page. The related maps are on the top bar of the home page. Do not be intimidated, this is a large and complicate document. Of most interest are pages 44-56 of the document, the use table where all potential Town uses are clarified as to what will be allowed where.

I am deeply and profoundly concerned that the reality of the prohibited uses on gravel roads (“Must be accessible from State or County Highway” aka “ not on my dirt road”), ostensibly high intensity uses, create a number of questionable issues and motivations for such regulation. (+/- 388 Town parcels, almost 40% of all town lands will be impacted with these regulations.)

I recommend you review the following map which represents a rough visualization of the parcels on gravel roads affected by the proposed restriction of uses. Interestingly, similar uses related to horses are all allowed due to agricultural exceptions. Uses that will be prohibited on any gravel road include:

Day Camp, Health club, Membership Club, Recreation facility, outdoor (commercial)

Animal hospital/Veterinary Office, Brewery, Cidery, Winery, Distillery (not as part of a farm operation)

Child Day Care Center serving more than six children, Community Center, Continuing Care Retirement Communities including nursing home

I advocate for the elimination of the “Must be accessible from State or County Highway” restrictions and I recommend use restrictions that are based on each particular use and each potentially intense use in context to its own specific site conditions.

Not only do these restrictions potentially devalue property values or escalate property values but they also create exclusionary zones designated for “low intensity use” thus denying equal opportunities for all without considering specific site conditions for specific uses.

This will be, this is a contentious issue. I urge you all to be unbiased and actually consider the impacts of such regulations and the impact it will have on our Town’s future. Write a letter, a short note even, to the Town Board with your thoughts and concerns. Your voices are important; this is a serious moral issue for our future.

Wendy P. Carroll