Red Hook resident Norman Greig is one step closer to obtaining formal approval for his private airstrip after the town Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 in favor of granting him a needed setback variance Wednesday night. The zero foot variance will allow him to build across the property line dividing his two lots, located between Rockefeller and Pitcher Lane.
Zoning Board chairman Nick Annas was very clear in stating that the ZBA was in no way approving the construction or operation of an airstrip, but rather only ruling to allow Mr. Greig to build across his own property line in general. Mr. Annas emphasized that permission to run an airstrip falls outside of the Zoning Board’s purview and that the Planning and Town Boards will also have to rule on relevant issues.
While that vote was very straightforward, there was a great deal of confusion pertaining to the other variances requested. These variances would have allowed him to build 50ft from the road, rather than the 300ft normally required for airstrips by the town zoning code.
The Board refused to rule on this variance because no determination had been made by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on safety issues. The DOT, in turn, had not issued a report because it had not received an authorizing letter from the municipality. The municipality had not sent an authorizing letter because the Town Board claims to have not received the necessary documentation from Mr. Greig. However, Mr. Greig states that he handed all documentation, including large topographical maps, to the Town Clerk several weeks ago for consideration by the board.
Due to this confusion, Mr. Greig chose to drop the application for those variances. This means that the completed airstrip will have to be constructed 300ft from all property lines.
Several residents were on hand to offer comments on the proposed airstrip. 222 Pitcher Lane resident Matthew Nucci expressed concerns that the flight path of the aircraft would be too close to his house. However, Chairman Annas refused to engage with this and other similar complaints due to the only voting issue of the night being the zero foot variance and not the general construction of an airstrip. He added that such issues would be better presented to the planning board at their relevant public meeting.