Changes to home business rules sent to town

On Wednesday, April 28, the Guilderland Planning Board approved revisions to the town's zoning law despite the objections of Don Reeb, president of the McKownville Improvement Association, over a provision dealing with the home business approval process.

The McKownville Improvement Association had long discussions about this proposed change, and would hope that you would not send it forward, and that the Town Board would, in fact, not approve it, said Reeb.

The Town Board is expected to approve the revisions following the public hearing Tuesday, May 4.

The revised law, which incorporated recommendations from the Zoning Review Committee, would allow greater flexibility in permitting mixed-use developments with both commercial and residential dwellings; however, it was the provision that streamlines the home occupation approval process that concerned Reeb.

Reeb said the density of McKownville, with 3,000 people in one square mile, increases the quality-of-life impact that more home occupations will have on the community.

Under the revisions, a minor home occupation, which by definition cannot be discernable from outside the home, would be a permitted use that will no longer require a special-use permit. The revisions also eliminate the site plan requirement for other home occupations and include a list of prohibited home occupations.

Reeb said that a number of unreported home occupations currently in McKownville have a major effect on neighboring properties.

"There are people in McKownville who now put traffic cones in their driveways because they are rather tired of having UPS and other trucking turning around in their driveways," said Reeb. "This is an annoyance, and it's a quality-of-life issue."

Stephen Feeney, chairman of the planning board, disagreed with Reeb's assessment of the law's effects. He said that current law governs home occupations through an open-ended definition that gives a lot of discretion to the Zoning Board, and the new law provides clarity.

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