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Le Roy Town Board ends pact with village, creates own ZBA

LE ROY – In a move that took much longer than anticipated, the Le Roy Town Board will create its own three-member Zoning Board of Appeals, ending an agreement with the village dating to 2004.

The decision was made Thursday night, following a 15-minute public hearing that included comments from several residents questioning the need for the change.

Supervisor Stephen R. Barbeau, Deputy Supervisor Thomas Stella and Councilmen John Armitage and David Paddock voted in favor while Councilman John Duyssen voted against it.

“It is our belief that the elected Town Board needs to have confidence that its appointed boards and commissions will act objectively in the best interests of the town,” Barbeau said. “By withdrawing, we now are responsible for 100 percent of its (ZBA’s) membership and only responsible for our town code. This will lead to a more effective and more efficient ZBA.”

The new town ZBA will consist of Debbi Jackett, who chaired the joint ZBA, along with longtime LeRoyans John Rider and Robert Uberty. The terms have been set for three years. Matthew Gilligan was appointed as an alternate.

Barbeau said the appointments of Rider and Uberty “instantly give credibility to our new ZBA.”

“Both are highly respected in the community,” he said. “John Rider is a former town justice and Uberty served as a town councilman for more than 20 years.”

Rider and Uberty are registered Democrats, while three Town Board members (including Barbeau) are Republicans, one is a Democrat and one is a Conservative.

“Politics had no basis in this decision at all,” Barbeau offered. “We have had four to five months of discussions on this topic.”

Indeed, the board tried to break away from the agreement with the village last November, but was thwarted by Acting Supreme Court Judge Mark J. Grisanti, who ordered that the five-member joint Zoning Board of Appeals needed to make a decision regarding Frost Ridge Campground’s request to hold live concerts before any changes in the ZBA setup were made.

A public hearing on the Frost Ridge issue took place on Dec. 18, and the joint ZBA ruled in favor of campsite owners David and Greg Lueticke-Archbell on Feb. 17.

The action forces the village board to come up with its own Zoning Board of Appeals, something that will be on its March 23rd agenda, Mayor Gregory Rogers said.

“I wasn’t blindsided as Steve told me this is the direction that wanted to go in, but it is not particularly the direction I wanted to go,” Rogers said. “Still, I respect their decision and have no issue with the Town Board.”

Rogers said he will be contacting former joint ZBA members Thomas Spadaro, Robert Scott and Charles Van Buskirk to serve on the village’s new panel.

Barbeau said the board will forward the legislation, designated as Local Law No. 1 of 2016, to the Department of State within 20 days as required by law.