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Ti board mulls downtown building moratorium

TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga town board is expected to adopt a "commercial business moratorium" at its meeting July 9.

The moratorium would ban the conversion of existing business space in the downtown area to residential property.

A public hearing on the proposal is slated for 6 p.m. July 9 at the town hall. Supervisor Bob Dedrick said he expects the town board to adopt the measure following the hearing.

The moratorium is needed, Dedrick explained, because downtown business owners are converting their property from business ventures to rental units, which will limit Ticonderoga's downtown revitalization efforts.

The proposal would affect buildings along Montcalm Street and its side streets.

The Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in August 2007, has been working to revitalize downtown Ticonderoga. It has used a $125,000 grant from the National Trust Main Street Center to develop a four-point plan to restore the economic viability of the area.

"We've been working the last 2 1/2 years on the revitalization of Main Street," Dedrick said. "The grant allowed us to develop a plan; now we're ready to bring it to fruition."

That plan, however, depends on having commercial space in the downtown area. That space is rapidly disappearing, the supervisor said.

"It's happening," Dedrick said. "You can see the buildings being converted into residential use."

The proposed moratorium would be in place one year, Dedrick said, long enough to allow downtown revitalization plans to take affect.

Ticonderoga trustees realize the moratorium will impact downtown property owners, Dedrick said, so the proposal allows for some flexibility.

The moratorium would allow downtown commercial space to convert a portion of a building to residential use, he said.

Also, a "hardship clause" would allow building owners to appeal to the town board if they feel residential conversion is absolutely necessary.

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