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ZONING CRITIC SPURS PANEL TO STUDY ISSUE

A longtime critic of townwide zoning persuaded the Town Board on Monday to form a committee to study the issue.

With the board's backing, Councilman Bill Kozak named three women to serve on a special committee to write a new zoning ordinance.

Kozak has said in the past that the board should approve all development in the town but has opposed townwide zoning. Last month, he said that there was little interest in establishing zoning and pointed out that no applicants had come forward to serve on a zoning committee. He then voted with three other board members to shelve the idea.

But Kozak said Monday that he believes there are businesses and activities that could be detrimental to the community and that he was able to find three people willing to draw up a townwide ordinance based on current town laws and past zoning proposals.

He named Pat Benz, one of two residents who last October spearheaded a petition drive that netted 242 signatures opposing zoning; his wife, Elana Kozak; and Bridget Holmes, a farmer whose mother is the town clerk.

He said the town could be regulated as a single zone instead of several and assured Councilman Carl W. Fridman that the 1997 draft ordinance, viewed by most of the Council as too restrictive, would be rewritten by the committee.

Resident Mark Rose, who began lobbying last summer for new land-use regulations to protect the town's property owners or for reconsideration of the 1997 draft, thanked the board for resurrecting the topic.

The committee's first work session was scheduled for 7 p.m. May 2.

In another matter, the board voted to increase the senior citizens income exemption at the request of Town Clerk Sue Holmes, who said the $17,500 level prevents five or six low-income elderly residents from receiving a 50 percent reduction in property tax assessment.

Under the new arrangement, residents who are older than 65 and whose primary residence is in Farmersville can receive the 50 percent reduction in assessment if their annual income is $24,000 or less.

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