GUILDERLAND: Board hears zoning input

The McKownville Zoning Committee met with the Guilderland Town Board Tuesday, Nov. 20, to discuss the committee's recommendations to improve zoning in the neighborhood.

The board created the committee in 2005 to come up with recommendations for improving the character of this heavily developed area of town.

The recommendations were based on the following guidelines: preserving current boundaries of Western Avenue, preserving residential properties and improving the attractiveness of McKownville gateways.

A broader issue is just as important in the long term, which is not to spread development, but to make it as residential as possible, committee member Stephen Harausz said.

Harausz said when the committee asked for public input, a concern was echoed that more attention was given to developers than residents.

"It was a matter of routine to give variances to developers," he said.

Harausz said the committee was not in favor of adding new bureaucracy to existing laws. The current zoning laws were good enough if they were strictly enforced, he said.

"We made recommendations to lend transparency to our zoning laws," Harausz said. "To codify rules and make people aware of the changes."

Appropriate and prompt notification procedures were discussed to inform the public about any future zoning changes.

Supervisor Kenneth D. Runion asked how they should notify those who wish to be notified.

"People may not want to get so much mail of this sort," he said.

Runion said residents already can use the town's Web site to answer many zoning questions.

"Our e-mail has sufficient notification if you subscribe to it. The Web site is more notification prone," Runion said.

Committee member Laura Whalen suggested that the town cooperate with the state Department of Transportation in lowering the speed limit on Western Avenue from 40 mph to 30 mph. She said there are a lot of accidents there that require attention and cooperation with the DOT.

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