Residents Voice Concern About Rt. 22 Rezoning
The Town Board met on Wednesday, November 14, at Town Hall to discuss several important agenda items, including the establishment of a new sewer district, the enactment of a new local law, and the approval of new regulations at the town’s Transfer Station. During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents voiced objections to the proposed rezoning of land along Route 22 from residential use to a highway business designation.
To begin the session, Board members approved the establishment of Town Sewer District #3. Approval of the new sewer district advances development of the Planned Development District on property along Route 22 owned by the Castagna Realty Corp. Councilman Bill Johnson spoke on the approval of the project, saying “It’s a wonderful improvement for the town, and it can only enhance development.” Sewer District #3 will be operated by the Pawling Joint Sewer Commission.
In other business, officials enacted Local Law #2 of 2018. The local law amends the Pawling Town Code, adding a prohibition on processing applications related to properties upon which a violation exists, or upon which there are unpaid fees. Specifically, the new law prohibits anyone with an outstanding violation to apply for Zoning Ordinances, special permits, site plan approvals, signage approvals, and other applications to the Town Building Inspector.
Following an extensive review of rules and policy at the Transfer Station over the past several months, town officials approved several changes to rules and policy at the facility. Effective January 1, 2019, the station will operate from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Additionally, the Transfer Station will be designated for disposal and recycling of household trash only – no commercial building debris or garbage will be accepted.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” said Councilman Phil DeRosa. “We needed to find a way to limit it to residents for household garbage only.” Officials will also now limit acceptance to residential brush at a maximum of 4 inches wide and 10 feet long.
Furthermore, no annual transfer station permit will be issued to any applicant with a vehicle registered in the name of a corporation or other commercial business entity. However, in the event that a resident can submit proof that they have access solely to a commercial vehicle, they may petition the Board for approval.
During the public comment portion of the evening, a number of residents voiced their disapproval of the Board’s decision to re-advertise for the planner position for the proposed Route 22 rezoning. Mark Chipkin, speaking on behalf of members of the Hurd’s Corners Road Civic Association, read a lengthy statement to the Board outlining the concerns from area residents he had recently interviewed. Among the issues cited about the proposed rezoning were the use of taxpayer money to finance the planner position, the impact of commercial development on the area’s eco-tourism, and a variety of environmental concerns including animal populations, water supplies, and the Great Swamp. Chipkin claimed that 80% of the residents in the area surveyed signed a petition against the proposed rezoning, which involves roughly 14 acres of land on the west side of Route 22 just south of the intersection with Route 55.
Town officials emphasized that their actions have only been taken as a response to the rezoning petitions filed for seven parcels of land on Route 22. The Board also stated that the planner position will likely not be filled until 2019. “We’re not at that stage yet,” said Councilman Phil DeRosa. “We’re not just speeding this along.”
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Monday, December 5 at Town Hall.