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Schoharie Seeks Extension of Moratorium Until 2016

Written By Timothy Knight on 6/2/15 | 6/2/15

SCHOHARIE - Town board members in Schoharie agreed on Wednesday evening to seek a six month extension of the municipality's moratorium on heavy industry, solar farms, and other previously prohibited activities while the town continues to move through the process of implementing a new land use law. 

A public hearing was set for the regularly scheduled June 10th town board meeting so that town residents would have the opportunity to address councilmembers on the proposed extension.

Operating under a set of zoning laws dating back to the seventies because of the Supreme Court's February 2014 ruling that rendered the municipality's 2005 zoning laws null and void, the Schoharie Town Board has passed a series of moratoriums. The last of which was set to expire in July.

Town Councilman James Schultz expressed his opinion that "it is very important that we do not rush the process and that we make sure the land use law fits with the changing times and the needs of the residents and businesses."

Legislators made the decision to seek an extension to the moratorium after speaking to the town's zoning attorney David Brennan in executive session. 

Town Supervisor Gene Milone commented that the town board had received some new documents from Brennan, and that the final draft of the new zoning law is in the process of construction. Upon their completion, they will be forwarded to the both the Town and County Planning Boards for review.

Mr. Milone estimated that two to three public hearings are likely to be held on the draft zoning laws. 

Starting back in 2005 when the last set of regulations were adopted, Schoharie has been embroiled in a decade long fight with Cobleskill Stone Products, which operates a quarry within the township and has long sought to expand its operations. 

CSP argued in early 2014 that town officials had failed to properly follow environmental requirements set forth by SEQRA. A position that then Schoharie County Supreme Court Justice Eugene Devine agreed with. 

 Judge Devine stated in his February 19th, 2014 decision that Schoharie's 2005 zoning laws were "affected by an error of law."
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