JOHNSTOWN - After two months of controversy involving a town farm, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently voted to include the property in the county Agricultural District.
The board was set Aug. 8 to consider approving inclusion of the property of Suzanne and Edward Weiner, 146 Oak Leaf Circle, into the district. But supervisors decided to gather more information and take a vote Monday at the County Office Building.
Two town of Johnstown officials, including Supervisor Jack Wilson, last month spoke out against inclusion of the property into the district. The property is zoned residence agriculture, and the town has proposed an R-1, or residential zoning, for that area. Town officials said inclusion of the Weiner property into the district would hamper the future ability to restrict certain uses in the area.
The state-designated districts protect property owners within them from various zoning issues.
The issue became controversial again Monday when the board's Environmental Resources Committee recommended, by weighted vote, the board approve three other properties into the district and not the Weiner's 19.6 acres of land. Those properties were: Joseph Kobas' 10.2 acres at 351 Smith Road, Perth; Maryann Mowrey's and Pamela Rogers' 18.8 acres at 3646 Route 29, town of Johnstown; and Teresa Westover's 41.2 acres at 275 New Turnpike Road, town of Johnstown.
Stratford Supervisor Robert E. Johnson Jr. and Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo thought the Weiner's property should be included in a final vote. DiGiacomo offered a motion to amend the resolution to include the Weiner's property in the list to be voted on and it passed 11-7 by regular vote and 292-208 by weighted vote.
Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Rooney said the "reason for zoning" is because future changes to the property can "damage a neighbor's property." He said changes sometimes are "not fair" to other residents.
Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said a person "down the road can put up a junkyard if they want to."
County Attorney Arthur Spring said if a property is zoned R-1 (residential), the owner can keep their horses, but the property doesn't have to be in the agricultural district. He said someone there in the future might want to "raise pigs," which might be protected in the district.
"This is not a zoning issue for this board," Wilson said.
Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan said all four properties, including the Weiner's, represent "viable agricultural land."
Former New Jersey resident Suzanne Weiner told the board that having her property in the district is the "right thing to do."
"The reason we came here was because of the land," she said. "We love being here."
The board passed the entire list of four district applicants by a 15-3 roll call vote.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org