Town OKs flood plain rezone

The Guilderland town board voted unanimously on June 20 to approve a rezone of the Normanskill Flood Plain.

The board entertained a lengthy public hearing before the board decided to vote on the issue.

The public hearing was the second held on the rezone and was needed because since the last meeting Town Planner Jan Weston made minor revisions to the plan, eliminating 11 properties that would be affected by the change of zoning from residential (RO-40) to rural agriculture (RA-3).

The desire for the newly zoned area came after applications for subdivisions of the land came before the planning board earlier in the year, said Weston.

Supervisor Ken Runion said that RA-3 zoning has aspects within it that ensures land with environmental issues is developed in a more environmentally sensitive way.

Both non-residents and residents alike spoke at the second public hearing, and the majority of those favored the rezone, citing everything from traffic worries to environmental concerns as their reasoning.

Two landowners spoke out against the rezone and both said the new zoning would lessen their ability to develop or sell the land as they wish.

Shelley Lupe, whose family owns more than 200 acres along Church Road, was one of those who spoke out against the rezone.

I think it will become worthless if it's rezoned, said Lupe. The new zoning prevents her family from developing a thin strip of land, 2 acres wide by 3,500 feet long, the way that they would like.

Runion said that the Lupe property, an environmentally sensitive area, is loaded with obstacles, including a wetland, that would make development tough regardless of how it may be zoned.

"It's just a very difficult piece to develop," said Runion.

George Harder, who said his land is under contract to be purchased, said that he can't recapture the amount of his investment.

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