continued He said that the planning board often calculated maximum density levels mathematically, rather than the board appropriately considering unbuildable lands, including steep slopes, wetlands or underwater acreage.
“A planning board must be allowed to make decisions and be flexible with aspects of the code in light of specific site conditions,” he said.
Vito said that the zoning board was granting “huge variances,” including allowing far more housing units to be built on plots, without requiring vegetative buffers.
Vito called for the town board to consider make the planning process more rigorous and tightening up their zoning code.
Vito also offered specific suggestions. She proposed that the boards require adjustments to development plans, including increasing setbacks, requiring plantings of side buffers near waterways, and mandating that drainage swales on developments be left unpaved so runoff could infiltrate the ground.
New town supervisor Dennis Dickinson, a professional engineer who has represented developers in front of the town’s planning and zoning boards, praised the board members’ diligence and expertise.
“We have very qualified planning and zoning boards, and all the members are interested in maintaining the health and well-0being of the town,” he said. “They are doing a yeoman’s job.”
Dickinson suggested that many of the concerns they aired could be answered by examining the planning and zoning regulations and re-drafting them if necessary.
In campaigning for office last fall, Dickinson called for revising the planning and zoning codes to allow new developments with updated features be constructed to boost the prevailing quality of properties surrounding the lake.