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Wbg. leaders weigh new zoning laws, shift in streetlighting costs

Jaclyn Hakes (rear), former principal planner for Saratoga Springs, presents proposed zoning changes Feb. 8 to the Warrensburg Town Board (foreground). The changes are expected to make the hamlet more conducive for small-business development as well as streamline the permitting process.

Jaclyn Hakes (rear), former principal planner for Saratoga Springs, presents proposed zoning changes Feb. 8 to the Warrensburg Town Board (foreground). The changes are expected to make the hamlet more conducive for small-business development as well as streamline the permitting process. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Development of light commercial enterprises and home-based offices are to be encouraged in the Kings Addition neighborhood, according to suggested zoning changes presented Feb. 3 to the Town Board.

The proposals are an outgrowth of the recently completed town Comprehensive Plan which outlines various strategies for economic and job growth, community revitalization and hamlet sustainability.

Jaclyn Hakes, former principal planner for Saratoga Springs and now with Elan Planning, presented the zoning map to Warrensburg town board members.

The zoning changes — which include reducing the number of districts from 11 districts to seven as well as including provisions intended for more land-use flexibility — are subject to public hearings set for 7 p.m. March 7 and March 14.

The Comprehensive Plan, developed by local citizens over two years, calls for encouraging the development of apartments in second stories above downtown storefronts, fostering home-based businesses, establishing downtown architectural design guidelines, and boosting access to local recreational resources.

During the meeting, the town board debated dissolving the lighting district, which provides street lights through most of the hamlet. The action would shift the cost of the street lighting, $85,000 or so annually, from just the district residents to all property owners in the town.

Now, district residents pay 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the lights. If the district were dissolved, all residents would pay 24 or 25 cents per thousand for the lighting through the general town tax.

Town board member Linda Marcella, who owns property several miles north of the hamlet, said the proposal was flawed.

“Should people who receive no benefit from from the lighting have to pay for it?” she said.

Board member John Alexander responded that the street lights are boost public safety for all town residents, as everyone travels through the hamlet, or conducts their business there — and the streetlights minimize nighttime traffic problems.

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