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Zoning changes require give and take with APA

After nearly three years in development, the plan was proposed to the town's citizens in March.

The fact that the APA proposal would have downgraded over 3,000 acres to more restrictive density designations, while 1,445 would have been upgraded - roused the local public and defeated the project.

The lands that would have been downgraded are located well outside of the hamlets, pursuant to the APA's mandated goal of channeling development to hamlet areas while limiting development in wild forests.

But for property owners located outside of the hamlet, the downgrades represent a devaluation of the land as they reduce the number of lots that a plot could be subdivided into.

Similar instances where map amendments have stalled after negative local reaction have recently occurred in Inlet and Johnsburg.

Following intense public outcry against the Johnsburg proposal, Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed has spent much of the week distancing himself and the town from the plan.

Johnsburg petitioned for the changes during the administration of former Johnsburg supervisor and current local APA Commissioner Bill Thomas.

Each proposed zoning revision was at the request of the town.

But for Lamb, the literal give-and-take is simply how the process works, and it is designed around the concept of limiting uncontrolled development.

"Instead of just having rural sprawl all over through the mountains, which would result in a highly developed area all over the mountains, the plan was to channel growth into specific hamlet areas," Lamb said. "The whole plan was designed to promote growth into the hamlet areas."

The town of Warrensburg is currently in the process of creating a comprehensive plan and hamlet expansion is one of the town's top priorities.

Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said recently that increased restrictions on outlying properties are expected.

"We're going to reach out to them; they aren't going to come to us. We will have to reach out and try to negotiate the best deal for our people," Geraghty said. "What we have to avoid is undue 'take' when we decide to do it."

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