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Take a look at zoning laws

September 25, 2012
The Leader Herald

As demographics and technology change, municipal documents and guidelines such as zoning ordinances need to be updated.

The city is a vastly different place than it was a few decades ago, when several tanneries were in operation. But there are some things residents want to protect. That's why we think it's a good idea for Gloversville officials to take a look at the city's zoning laws.

We like the fact they are giving themselves a timeframe to complete this analysis by proposing a nine-month moratorium on issuing building permits for multi-dwelling development. There would be no moratorium on commercial development, according to the proposed law, which is the subject of a public hearing at 6 p.m. today at City Hall.

Is nine months the gestation period for development of a new plan to prevent the unsettling Kinderhook saga from happening again? We hope the city will be the proud parent of an updated zoning code by then.

The city and many residents battled to keep the Kinderhook housing project from being constructed atop a hill behind the Lee Avenue and Northern Terrace neighborhoods - two quiet dead-end streets off North Main Street in the city's 6th Ward.

Residents who lived there, including a city supervisor, claimed the project would worsen groundwater problems in that area.

The other fear is that when the development fills up, it will significantly alter the characteristic of the neighborhood. Already, some have said the noise and dust from construction has invaded their once-peaceful backyards.

Whether you believe their fears will come true, the battle to keep the development from construction cost the city money and time as it moved through the court system.

City officials say they want to enact the moratorium because of vacancy rates in the existing multiple-family dwellings in the city. Officials say the city is reviewing the effect those buildings have on the city's infrastructure and the character of residential neighborhoods.

We think the temporary moratorium could give the city time to figure out, via its zoning code, how to preserve nice neighborhoods.

At the end of nine months, we're hoping the city will have a clear plan for dealing with new housing development.



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