Village adopts zoning amendments

The village board is expected to adopt zoning changes based on its new comprehensive plan Nov. 18. File photo

CATSKILL — Eight months after adoption of the new comprehensive plan in February, the village is looking to implement zoning changes.

The recommendations, which address building conformity, billboards, owning livestock in the village and more, have been reviewed at zoning and planning board meetings and are now before the village’s board of trustees.

Some of the recommendations come from past experience, Village Trustee Joseph Kozloski said.

“We’ve had some concerns in the past about livestock being so close to the property line,” Kozloski said. “Certain livestock could be smelly or have other problems.”

In one instance, a pig was being kept within the village, he said.

“In the past we had a pig in the village on a piece of property and with our laws the way they were, the only way we could try to have the pig removed was as a health hazard,” Kozloski said. “We had a lot of complaints from adjacent property owners with the smell and had to go to the health route to remove the pig. This will tighten up our laws to help us in the future.”

The amendments include requiring at least a half-acre parcel to keep livestock and all livestock fences and structures must abide by a 20-foot setback.

Zoning Board Chairman Patrick McCulloch said the topic of livestock was likely the biggest issue that came up in the public hearings.

“People care deeply on that issue, so we are concentrating on addressing that for them,” he said.

Another topic addressed is personal property obstructing sidewalks and streets.

“We have had issues in the past when somebody’s evicted and their stuff is thrown out on the sidewalk,” McCulloch said.

The proposed amendments do not permit a landlord to place the personal property of tenants or former tenants on public streets or sidewalks. Personal property that has been placed in these areas for more than 24 hours is subject to removal by the village.

“Costs incurred in said removal and disposal shall be a tax levy placed on the subject property, with a minimum levy in the amount of one thousand dollars,” according to the amendment.

Vegetation or debris in a front yard cannot inhibit emergency access and vegetation or structures cannot interfere with pedestrian traffic.

The proposed zoning regulations also take into account the character of the community, McCulloch said.

“We’re mainly concentrated on Main Street, it’s obviously the main thoroughfare through the village and also in the historic district,” he said. “To come up with design standards for the entire village is not feasible in my opinion. Every district, street to street, the houses are different. They all have their own character and feel. It’s hard to put into black and white how we want each street to look.”

The amendments proposed would require that any new buildings or renovations to existing buildings on Main Street follow either the “Italiante Building” style or the “Federal Building” style.

Villagewide, no building can be more than one story taller than an adjoining building, according to the recommendations.

In terms of billboards, the recommendations state no billboards will be repaired or replaced. Any billboards needing repair will be removed.

The village board will review the recommendations again Monday in the village courtroom, with adoption slated for Nov. 18, Kozloski said.

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