Town Board to Revamp Event Planning Procedures, Members Discuss Route 22 Rezoning

The Town Board met on Wednesday, October 10, for its second meeting of the month at Town Hall. The session would address numerous agenda items, including a public hearing for the 2019 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a local law regarding temporary events, Route 22 rezoning, and events being held at Kirby Hill Farm. Board members would also set a public hearing for a new local law.

This year’s application for the Community Development Block Grant will see a continuation of the project proposed last year for sidewalks connecting to Murrow Park. Funds will also be used to complete work on bathroom facilities at the location. “It’s a good project to complete,” said Councilman Bill Johnson.

Councilman Phil DeRosa has also been working closely with a team from Dutchess County to discuss numerous pathways throughout the Town and Village of Pawling, including a bike path and connections to Lakeside and Murrow Parks. “We’ll be working with the Village to make a walkable community,” added DeRosa.

The Board then heard a presentation from Liz Axelson, AICP, about local laws for event planning in Pawling. Axelson represents the engineering firm Morris Associates and spoke at length about a proposed law for event planning in Pawling. “The intent here is to deal with temporary events,” explained Axelson. “The local law would create a new section of code that could be applied in any zoning district.” According to Axelson, the law would seek to define more clearly the language in the existing codes for events in Pawling, with regard to the number of attendees permitted, as well as provisions for organizations applying to hold multiple events. Major events are defined as those including attendants of 100 or more people and requiring extensive review, similar to site plan reviews conducted by the Town Planning Board.

With Axelson’s assistance, the Board is seeking to streamline the application process for temporary events. These procedures will still allow for extensive review of any planned major or minor events before approval. Officials stressed the need to review applications with regard to a number of areas, including event layout, parking, traffic control, rubbish disposal, lighting, ambulance and medical personnel, emergency response, and evacuation plans. “This draft has a lot of safety built into it,” said Axelson. The Board’s review of the proposed law is ongoing.

Councilman Bill Johnson provided an update on the current inquiry into the possible rezoning of property on Route 22, which includes three petitions. Councilman Johnson has been working closely with Mark Chipkin, a representative from the Hurds Corners Civic Association. During the ongoing dialogue, Chipkin has provided a number of questions to the Town Board, which Johnson addressed. At this time, Johnson explained, there are no estimates on the cost to hire the planner the Board intends to hire to help with a possible rezoning. Councilman Johnson stressed that the steps taken to address the three petitions for a potential rezoning have been in the interest of due diligence, and no decisions regarding the matter of rezoning have yet been made.

In other business, Councilman DeRosa gave an update on the local law establishing Chapter 67 of the Town Code entitled “Application Processing Restrictive Law.” DeRosa explained: “In short, what this means is that if someone has a violation on their property, they can’t go forward with petitions for zoning ordinances or variances, or applications for the planning board, zoning board of appeals, or building inspector.”

The Board voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on Chapter 67 at the next meeting on November 7.

Supervisor James Schmitt concluded the meeting by addressing the issue of events being held at Kirby Hill Farm. “This past weekend, Councilman Johnson and myself both received complaints that they were indeed holding another wedding,” said Schmitt. According to Schmitt, Kirby Hill Farm currently has a cease and desist order in place to prevent holding such events on the property. “We’re working to get it resolved,” Schmitt said. “But it’s not resolved at this time. They can’t be holding weddings whenever they want.” After discussion, the Board resolved to bring the matter to the attention of the Town’s Code Enforcement Officer. After consulting legal council, the Board decided to notify the Building Inspector to provide proper documentation of the violations.

The next Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall, 160 Charles Colman Blvd.