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Planner updates town on progress of zoning review


 

PINE PLAINS - Planning consultant Bonnie Franson appeared before the Town Board Jan. 31 to discuss her progress in the review of the proposed zoning law.

Franson, of Tim Miller Associates, was retained last year to work with the Town Board on that review, which she began in November. To start the process, Franson took a look at the town's objectives, especially in ensuring they kept in line with the comprehensive plan.

The next step was to meet with Town Planner Nan Stolzenburg, which she did in December.

"We discussed the history of the comprehensive plan and the thoughts behind the zoning law, and particularly the concept of the density being proposed, Franson said.

To some extent they also talked about the changes that have occurred since the beginning of the plan's drafting.

"Since December I've spent some time up here and I've really gotten a sense of your environment," Franson said, adding that that includes the agricultural environment, the amount of vacant land and the development pattern in the hamlet.

She also told the board that Stolzenburg provided her with some history and insight to the Carvel Property Development. Her priority remains, however, the town's zoning needs.

"This month my focus is on getting fully familiar with the zoning code," Franson said.

That code is what was proposed by the now disbanded Zoning Commission, which was formed specifically to draft zoning regulations for Pine Plains, the only town in Dutchess County without any zoning laws.

Franson said she wants to learn about the procedures and the organization, as well as the substance, of the code.

"Are there definitions in place and are they consistent?" was one question she asked of the board.

To help guide the town through her queries Franson said she will produce one report on the zoning law itself and two reports to address the review of the density formula that has been proposed. She said there's one basic question that needs an answer.

"Does the zoning as crafted achieve what the town wanted?" she asked.

The three reports will be submitted to Attorney to the Town Warren Replansky sometime this week. He will review them and if he finds them satisfactory the board will then hold its first real meeting with Franson.

"This is not a meeting," she said last Thursday. "This is just a report."

In January, Stolzenburg provided Franson with digital files to help her put a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) together.

"We're moving forward and going full steam ahead as far as the process goes," Franson said.

"There is a lot to do," said Councilwoman Dorean Gardner.

"At some point in February we're probably going to look at scheduling another meeting to talk about our findings and the law," town Supervisor Gregg Pulver said, as he brought the town up to date on the projected schedule for the zoning review.

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