Boltonians object to commercial growth into neighborhoods

BOLTON LANDING Voicing concerns over commercial development, a crowd of local residents directed questions and aired objections this week to town officials over proposed changes to the towns zoning ordinance. Facing a raucous crowd, zoning town consultants Lisa Nagel and Lawrence Howard of Elan Consulting presented their case and fielded dozens of questions from concerned Bolton citizens at an informational hearing Aug. 6. According to Howard, the current zoning ordinances are not in compliance with the towns comprehensive plan. The task given to Elan, along with the Town of Bolton Planning Board, Town Council and a special zoning update committee, is to rectify the inconsistencies between the towns comprehensive plan and the zoning codes. We did not throw away the old zoning ordinances, Howard said. But they are in need of comprehensive revision. Among the many changes and revisions currently being proposed by Elan is the adoption of a new land use schedule as well as a consolidation of all the separate district use tables into a single table and an expansion of a mixed use model throughout much of Bolton Landing, Nagel said. The mixed-use classification, allowing commercial enterprises and residences to exist side-by-side, prompted the greatest contention among the gathered citizens. Areas which are currently zoned only for residential use, would be opened up for commercial development as well. According to Nagel, the side streets that lie west and perpendicular to 9N would be the most affected. Nagel said that this mixed-use model would expand business opportunities within Bolton Landing. Residents expressed their discontent over the concept. We just dont want this, said Walter Gavula of Bolton Landing, prompting applause from the audience. I just dont see why you insist on pushing businesses into the towns residential areas. Resident Dorothy Belair seconded Gavulas point You are just trying to push the homeowners out, she said. Ron Conover of Bolton said that the town codes definition of commercial was far too broad. He warned that over time businesses change ownership, which often is accompanied by a change in use. A business built within a residential neighborhood may be fruitful at first, but over time that situation could easily change to become negative, he said. What is the rush to become Queensbury? Bolton resident Charles McNulty said. My street just doesnt have the infrastructure for businesses where would people park? Many similar concerns, ranging from quality of life to infrastructure were raised by other Bolton citizens regarding the new mixed-use concept. Businesses would pollute the water that comes off the hill, said local resident Fred Lethbridge. I dont want a noisy auto garage next door, said John Whitney. There has to be some kind of reasonable use restrictions in the language. For their part, Nagel and Howard said that the zoning code changes are currently in draft form, and changes can still be made. This is why we are here, Howard said. We take these concerns very seriously. Once the new zoning ordinance is prepared, the document will be reviewed by the state Department of State, the Adirondack Park Association and Warren County, prior to a public hearing. If these hurdles are cleared, then the new zoning code is subject to vote by the Bolton Town Board.

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