A public hearing has been scheduled on a proposed amendment to a zoning law change that had the unintended consequence of adversely affecting one- and two-family homes in Newstead's commercial districts.
Last year, the Town Board adopted a zoning change eliminating one- and two-family residences as permitted principal uses in Commercial 1 and 2 zoning districts. As a result of the change, such homes in these districts became nonconforming uses, which made mortgage refinancing difficult and limited the ability to rebuild after a loss, such as a fire, or even to expand a residence.
Supervisor David L. Cummings and other board members noted at Monday's meeting that they had not intended to create a hardship for owners of one- and two-family homes in those districts. The proposed amendment will allow rebuilding such residences after a loss and will let owners expand the structures. The hearing is set for 7:50 p.m. April 26.
The board voted to allow a vacant house and former tavern at 13962 Bloomingdale Road to be boarded up for safety reasons, as long as the owners give permission as advised by Town Attorney Nathan Neill.
A hearing is set for 7:50 April 12 on a demolition order for the structures, which John Good, the town code enforcement officer, has deemed unsafe. Monday, he told the board that he has received information that unknown persons are illegally entering the properties and he fears the possibility of a fire. He said he contacted the owners, who said they were not in a position to board up the property. The town can take the action under its building code, and the cost would be added to the tax bill.
The board also learned that the state Emergency Management Office has approved a pre-disaster mitigation grant for stabilizing the Murder Creek embankment. The grant application now moves to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for action.
The town, which would do the project with the Village of Akron, has lost out twice in the past three years on its request for funding to secure the embankment along the creek, running from Buell Street to the entrance of the county park.
The embankment is below the Main Street retail area in the village and behind Brooklyn Street. It was badly eroded by the October 2006 snowstorm, which loosened trees and other vegetation.
In other business, the board awarded a $34,000 contract to Rehwaldt Builders, the lowest of three bidders, for Phase 2 renovations to the basement of Newstead Library on Main Street. The work will include installing a sprinkler system, doors, wall studs and drywall. Eventually, the area will provide a meeting space for community groups, an office for the town historian and storage room for archives. Much of the work is being paid for with grants.
The board also agreed to pay $108,988 to purchase a new 10-wheel dump truck for the Highway Department. Cummings noted the town budget already contains $60,000 as a down payment; the rest would be financed through a bond issue of less than five years.