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Letter to the Editor: Planning Department Vital but Should be Separate

Written By Cicero on 11/19/14 | 11/19/14

Just a few of my thoughts about the plan to dissolve the Schoharie Planning and Development department. Planning is a very important part of our counties government structure. It affects all privately owned properties both residential and commercial in every town in the county. The planning boards and zoning boards of appeal in our towns rely on the county department for help on many issues every year. Help writing laws, comprehensive plans, defining agricultural areas, preparing maps, gathering demographic information and many other needed services. Planning should be an independent department titled Planning and Zoning. It should never have been combined with development which is another important area that I know very little about but I think it should stand alone. All towns have zoning laws even those that reject zoning. The NY State Department, the Attorney General’s office and Bar Association all except the following definition of zoning. Zoning is any law or regulation that “regulates the use or development of real estate”. The town boards in towns that have voted down zoning still pass zoning laws. Towns that simply have subdivision regulations really have a form of zoning. Our county has some excellent planners in the present department Shane Nickle, Lillian Bruno and Zachary Thomson they are very good and work hard serving our towns. Regardless of who heads the department these people and others give great service to the hundred plus volunteer board members throughout the year. They serve our county well. Regardless of what the County Board decides to do about Mrs. Terry the planning department should be reorganized as a standalone department because every property owner in our county needs it.

 Peter Shulman
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