Bolton airs draft of proposed zoning ordinance

BOLTON A group of about 40 people discussed the proposed new town of Bolton zoning ordinance at an informational meeting on Jan. 30 and offered numerous comments. Lisa Nagle of Elan Planning and Design and Lawrence Howard, a land use attorney, offered a Powerpoint presentation outlining highlights of the draft ordinance and moderated a discussion at the conclusion of the presentation. Nagle stressed that the ordinance is a work in process. Its not over until its over, Nagle said. This is just a draft, ink on paper. We welcome any input and any questions. The town of Bolton adopted a comprehensive plan in 2002. Howard said its not unusual for a municipality to revise or rewrite its zoning ordinance to make it consistent with its comprehensive plan. He said that process typically takes time to accomplish. And technically, its legally required, he said. Other reasons for rewriting the towns zoning ordinance are that the prior ordinance is filled with numerous, uncoordinated updates and archaic language. The new ordinance will offer a new format including a more logical order, improved functionality and updated provisions, Nagle said. At the heart of the new ordinance are the changes from the previous ordinance including some new zoning designations, more precise definitions and use categories and a citizens guide to development that focuses on hillside development. An example of more precise definitions would be gas stations which have been broken into three categories: service stations, major repair facilities and convenience stores. The proposed zoning changes have a specific intent, Nagle said. The idea was to keep the focus of development along 9N in nodes and prevent sprawl, Nagle said. More intrusive businesses, those likely to foster more traffic, noise and other attributes, would be concentrated in three areas or nodes along 9N. The back-street areas in the hamlet of Bolton Landing are being proposed to carry an RCH (residential/commercial hamlet) designation that would allow some types of less intrusive businessessuch as offices, bed & breakfasts and inns, Nagle said. One resident attending the meeting questioned whether allowing any businesses in a residential area was wise. Im not sure youd want a business next to your home in a neighborhood like that, she said. Nagle added the RCH designation in the backstreets to the list of items to be reviewed for possible revision. Town Supervisor Kathy Simmes said its important to inform all the residents impacted by zoning changes and to make them aware of the opportunity to offer input. Id like to send letters to each of them inviting them to the next public informational session, Simmes said. The new ordinance offers both guidelines and standards for development. The guidelines are suggestions. The standards represent code or law. Tony Hall asked whether the guidelines will be used by the Planning Board as criteria for approval of a given project. I think its anticipated that both the Planning Board and the property owners would use them as they look at a project, Nagle said. Theyre a tool to evaluate and plan. By the end of the meeting, Nagle had a list of items to be reviewed for potential revision in the proposed law. Another public session is planned. Nagle stressed that public input is wanted and needed. The proposal will be need to be approved by the Adirondack Park Agency, the Lake George Park Commission and Warren County before the town can consider making it law. No date has been set to end public comment and move the proposal to the next step. Not until were ready, Nagle said. Were not putting a date on it. Residents may comment on the plan by going to the town website (www.town.bolton.ny.us) where there is a link for commenting on the proposal. A copy of the draft Zoning Ordinance is available on the town website as well as at Town Hall in Bolton Landing.

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