Critical Impact off the books

Rotterdam Town Board repeals contested law

— Businesses will no longer have to worry if the Rotterdam Town Board will pull out its red card and reject a project after lengthy approval process.

Board members followed through on its intentions to remove Article XXVIII of the town’s Zoning Code Sections 270-220, known as the “Critical Impact Code.” The law, passed in 2006, gives the Town Board final say over proposed development projects that include buildings of at least 100,000 square feet and residential developments of at least 75 buildings, among other stipulations. The proposed 248-unit apartment complex off North Thompson Street in the town spurred the effort to remove the law after representing attorney Andrew Brick said it impeded the process of larger projects and created another layer of paperwork.

Deputy Supervisor Robert Godlewski, whom opposed the law when it passed as a Planning Commission member, didn’t appear ready to immediately toss the code aside.

“Mr. Brick … said it was a slap in the face to the Planning Commission and I agree with him,” said Godlewski. “I’m wondering if the board has looked at this and said maybe it should be revised and the burden put on the Planning Commission instead of repealing it.”

Godlewski said there are some things in the code holding merit. If a future board wanted to put the code on the books again it would be harder to do than if the current board just revised the code, he said.

To not hold up the apartment complex project, he suggested the board pass a resolution stating the code wouldn’t be used against the project.

“The board could amend this to say we would not be requesting a critical impact permit for the little league fields and sports complex over there or the housing,” Godlewski said. “Then review the law that is before you and see if there is some things that we can take out and put onus on the Planning Commission.”

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