Parisi asks for rezone reform in Rotterdam

Rotterdam Town Board member Gerard Parisi said he would like to see more transparency when it comes to rezoning properties, but Supervisor Frank Del Gallo said Parisi's proposed resolution to that effect would create more hassles for those looking for zoning changes.

Parisi, the lone Republican on the board, is proposing the Rotterdam Rezone Reform Act of 2010. The resolution, which has yet to come before the board officially, would require rezone applicants to disclose any personal, business or political relationships with town officials in their applications.

Parisi said that in the town of Rotterdam, rezones are historically decided on the connection of the applicant to a Town Board member's business, political or personal interests. He said Rotterdam has been a "developer's town," and that he is pro-development, but when done with the right planning.

"I don't know if this will completely stop this, but it will give transparency to the process," he said.

Although Parisi's proposal faces an uphill battle in getting passed by a board made up of members of the opposing political party, he said he hopes they keep an open mind about the proposal.

"I think it is a good law, and they will see that it is helpful," he said.

In a draft of the resolution, any individual, association, organization,

partnership, firm, corporation or entity applying for a change of zoning request must disclose any connection within the past five years to a town official or employee that "could affect of give the appearance that it could affect the judgment of a town officer" as part of the application process.

Parisi stated that while the relationship to a town official or employee may not create a conflict of interest, it can sometimes be an inappropriate influence that is not known and affects the residents in the town.

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