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As an Elma councilman, I would like to respond to the Dec. 11 letter, "Elma board ignores wishes of residents."

The writer states that despite residents' opposition, the Town Board rezoned 29 acres of residential/agricultural land to industrial. The truth is that 86 acres of property across the street is already zoned industrial and has been for 40 years.

The land that we voted to rezone was two separate requests. One was for 6.3 acres, which is fronted by commercial property on Seneca Street. The back was zoned residential C/agriculture, and is surrounded by high-tension wires and a mixture of commercial and industrial properties.

This land is owned by a 92-year-old lady who lives on the property in the house her father built, and is now thinking about her future. At her request, the portion of her land zoned residential C/agriculture was rezoned to commercial.

The other request at present has 9.7 acres of commercial and 10 acres of industrial. The 9.7 acres was rezoned to industrial. These properties are currently very well-kept.

Matters of this nature are never handled strictly by the Town Board, but rather by a complex procedure. First the request goes to the Planning Board, which is comprised of an impartial group of seven well-trained people who are appointed by the two major political parties.

The Planning Board recommended approval and the Town Board agreed, yet added more restrictions. Then a State Environmental Quality Review is sent to 19 government agencies and utilities.

Therefore, I am puzzled by the writer's comment: "The voice of the pocketbook is louder and stronger than the voice of the people."


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