The Tivoli Village Board of Trustees has passed a local law establishing a six-month moratorium on all building permits, except for one- or two-family dwellings, in the Residential Business District.
The temporary ban is meant to provide the board time to formally adopt new zoning codes that will bring village law in line with concepts laid out in the Village of Tivoli Comprehensive Plan, which was passed in 2005.
Basically, that means retaining the rural character of the district, which is actually the village gateway area along Route 9G, by emphasizing agricultural land use, preserving the scenic westward view and discouraging sprawl.
The Zoning Review Commission (ZRC), which prepared the new codes, has been active since the beginning of April and has produced a full draft of the proposed updates. However, the process of incorporating these recommendations into the law can be a long one. Public hearings will be needed for the zoning changes and Tivoli’s proximity to the Hudson River and Red Hook’s Historic Overlay District means a thorough environmental review process will also be required.
The ZRC believes that this six-month moratorium will be more than enough time to complete all needed steps.
The process of bringing the zoning codes into compliance with the Comprehensive Plan has been an intermittent one. The Architectural Review Committee updated the bulk regulations and other various aspects of the code. But there were 18 months between the dissolution of that committee and the creation of the ZRC to continue the work.
One major factor is cost. The work began anew this year largely because $7,000 was earmarked for it in the budget, including for legal consultation and engineering review.
The Residential Business District became the focal point of controversy at a late April public hearing for a proposed self-storage facility on Route 9G one lot north of Route 78/Broadway, the gateway to the village. Applicant Jack Grumet went to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) seeking a classification of zoning for “light industry” use because the facility would not be allowed under current village code.
One major concern brought up by residents at the April 23 hearing was the fact that the Comprehensive Plan, and its vision for the village, had not yet been included in village law.
ZRC member and village trustee Susan Ezrati, however, was careful to point out at the meeting that the ZRC and the town’s trustees were not reacting to the self-storage facility request by passing the moratorium. Ezrati said that updating the codes has been a long ongoing endeavor and that the decision to focus on the Residential Business District had been made before the self-storage proposal reached the ZBA.
Grumet withdrew his ZBA interpretation request after the moratorium was passed and in light of the proposed zoning changes and will reconsider once the new zoning is in place or the moratorium is lifted.