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Letter to the Editor: Local Land Law Was too Restrictive

Written By Cicero on 4/14/15 | 4/14/15

Dear Editor,

I write in response to a letter to the editor which recently appeared in the Times Journal.  The letter was signed by Jeremy Rosenthal, chairman of the Town of Schoharie Planning Board.  In his letter, the Chairman criticized the Town Board’s suggested changes to our proposed Land Use Law.  In particular, he criticized certain changes which I had suggested.

I am writing to explain why I have made those suggestions.  In the past 3 years that I have served on the town board I have listened to the residents of the Town of Schoharie- a population about 3,000.   Over the years many residents have asked me certain questions such as, why did the dollar general go to Middleburg instead of Schoharie? Why Hannaford didn’t come to Schoharie?  Why the New Holland tractor store moved out of the village of Schoharie? My short answer is, the Land Use Law, which was recently struck down by the Courts, was too restrictive on building designs.  None of those buildings would have fit our design standards.  It has been 10 years since the old law was put into place and a lot has changed.  As the Town Board is currently working to adopt a new Land Use Law, it is the perfect time to incorporate the changes that our residents desire.

Some residents have stated that they were concerned that the changes we were making are incompatible with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.  As the Town Board went over the Comprehensive Plan I voiced some concerns I had with the Plan, specifically the design guideline examples that are appended to the Plan as of Appendix A.  However, the consultants which the Town has hired to assist with the Plan’s review explained the “examples” included in Appendix A are not binding and the Comprehensive Plan acknowledged that appropriate design guidelines may be developed over time. We must remember it is just a map to guide our decisions and not the direct road that we must follow.

I listened to the majority of our Town residents before I made my decision to suggest the changes in the Land Use Law, not just one person or one opinion

James  Schultz
Town Councilamn     
Town of Schoharie
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