The Tivoli Board of Trustees is calling for a six-month moratorium on new building permits in the Residential-Business district, which lies along the Route 9G corridor.
The moratorium, which would exempt one- and two-family dwellings, was requested by the newly formed Zoning Review Commission (ZRC), whose mandate is to overhaul village zoning codes in line with the Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2005. A moratorium would allow time for the ZRC, which was just created in April, to implement new zoning rules for the district and prevent any projects from starting the application process until that time.
A public hearing date on the proposed moratorium has been set for June 13 at 6pm in the Village Hall.
The Route 9G corridor, gateway to the village, has been the focus of much recent attention. Residents turned out in force at a Tivoli Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing April 26 to oppose a proposed self-storage facility one lot north of Route 78/Broadway. The property owner is seeking a classification of self-storage as “light industry” which is allowed in that district.
During the hearing, the gap between the Comprehensive Plan and the current zoning code became an important point. The Comprehensive Plan contains language that clearly would exclude industrial development of any sort, in order to preserve the area’s rural and agricultural identity.
However, because the zoning codes have not been updated to reflect the plan’s language, the ZBA is legally required to use the older, more-ambiguous zoning guidelines.
The ZBA has declared that it would not rule on the proposed self-storage facility before its June 25 meeting. But if the village board issues a moratorium on building permits while the code is being re-written, the ZBA’s decision could effectively become irrelevant.
The ZRC is making the Residential-Business District its top priority. ZRC member and village trustee Susan Ezrati said that the commission has been meeting every Tuesday morning for the past six weeks and is attempting to move very quickly to create the zoning amendments.
Mayor Bryan Cranna said that the moratorium and the ZRC’s activity are not a response to the self-storage controversy. “It is something that we have been talking about for a long time,” he said at the board meeting, “… and it is an ongoing process. It is not in reaction to anything.”
Ezrati pointed out that there are no permits being considered in the district at this time. While technically correct since the self-storage application was officially denied by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, the moratorium would prevent current appellants to the ZBA from re-applying for a permit if the ZBA agreed with the “light industry” interpretation.
Ezrati also said that the commission “is focusing on the 9G corridor and the gateway area, looking to the Comprehensive Plan, which has a very clear vision of what that should look like,” and that “the hope is to retain its rural character.”
The ZRC is chaired by former Tivoli mayor Tom Cordier. In addition to Ezrati, the other members are Martin Clark, Mark Bennett, Michelle Grieg and John Clark from Dutchess County Planning.