Town seeks APA approval for Land Use Program

This is historic in that weve been working on this for more than 10 years, said Johnsburg Supervisor Bill Thomas, referring to the current effort and two previous attempts to arrive at a local land use plan and gain APA approval. This is a big deal, added Board Member Sterling Goodspeed. Once the land use program is approved by the APA and then adopted by the town board, the APA will yield jurisdiction for Class B projects to the town Planning Board. With this plan, weve demonstrated to the APA that we can administer the APA act, said Mark Bergman, a planning board member who participated in the committee that developed the Land Use Program. Therefore theyve transferred jurisdiction to us. Bergman said he anticipates that the APA will adopt the proposed land-use program without significant modification. The committee worked closely with the APA and a consultant to arrive at the Land Use Program , which includes regulations in four areas -- zoning, subdivision regulations, on-site waste water rules and junk storage control. The program was developed to offer residents a simpler approach to gaining approval for their projects. You can think of it as one-stop shopping, Bergman said. What it really means is less bureaucracy for residents. The committee worked for three years to develop the plan, modify it and put it in a form the APA would accept. In three years, we conducted a pretty exhaustive review, Bergman said. Im not convinced that well ever have a law that is 100 percent perfect. But I can say that the law we have developed is a 100 percent improvement over what we currently are using. This is the third attempt at developing a local land use plan, Bergman said. Once the APA approves the plan and the Town Board adopts it, Johnsburg will become the 20th municipality out of 109 in the Adirondack Park to develop and adopt a local land use plan. This is what the APA envisioned in 1973, Bergman said. That each town would administer the APA Act locally. But I dont think the APA envisioned it would take this long. Now that the town has referred the plan to the APA and is poised to adopt it, the next step is to consider the enforcement aspect of having local jurisdiction. We start the clock ticking on that zoning enforcement officer job, Goodspeed said. We have to determine how were going to do that and how were going to pay for it.

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