By Caitlin Croft

The September meeting of the Village Planning Board (VPB) opened with an addition to the agenda – 5 Park Avenue.  This project is petitioning to change the current zoning of the building from industrial to commercial.

Next in new business was SP-2017-02 – 34 Washington Street – Howard Hanna Real Estate. They are seeking to put up a projecting sign. Village Planner, Gary Palumbo, notes all criteria for the sign has been met and no public hearing is required. The sign will be the corporate Howard Hanna Sign. It will be made of High Density Urethane and Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), Kelly Fredrickson advises it is durable material, nearly indestructible by weathering and should not fade. The VPB made a motion to approve the sign with the following conditions; All parts of section 12-8-E of the Village Zoning be met and subsequent construction must be approved by the CEO. There was a second and the board approved the sign.

5 Park Avenue is a proposed All-Ages Skate Park with three residential units and commercial space. The current zoning has the property under industrial, meaning residential apartments are not an allowed use. Therefore, the potential proprietors, Christopher and Brenda Perks, have gathered the necessary items to petition the change in use from Industrial to VC2 (commercial classification). The Perks have been working closely with the Village Board and in this month’s meeting the VB has requested a recommendation from the VPB.

After brief discussion Chair, Nancy Rogan noted that a classification of VC3 had been previously adopted and specifically applies to changing industrial space to commercial space. In this section of the code, it is a more detailed pathway to renovation, and a plan must be in place to gain approval. The board will not arbitrarily recommend rezoning if the project does not have a clear and concise plan. Attorney Dan Spitzer noted it is similar to a Planned Unit Development.

The board advised the Perks they needed to see a Site Plan, Special Use Permit Application and a Short Environmental Assessment Form for next month’s meeting to make a recommendation to the VB. The VPB is excited about the project and thanked the Perks for working closely with both boards. Mayor John Burrell and Trustee Greg Cappelli were both present to speak on behalf of the project and what they needed from the VPB to move forward with their zoning change.

Next, there was discussion on Potential Zoning Amendments with the focus being on Short Term Rentals. First, Palumbo noted that there were a few edits that need to be made to the code that are simple typos from what was originally approved. Also, the Land Use Table was printed incorrectly from what was last approved. Palumbo will receive the original Word document and make these small changes after being looked over by the boards. Spitzer advised this is fine as it is just a correcting a typo.

Next, they moved to discussion on short term rentals and the issue that we have seven licensed homes in the village and technically all others are in violation. Also, there are some homes, due to zoning, that are not required to have a license and that need to be addressed as well.

Cappelli brought up concerns that we need stronger enforcement of current laws that are in violation and all agreed. The main concern, as always, is noise, along with, but not limited to, public intoxication, littering, public urination, vandalism etc. Mike Painter brought up the issue of what is truly a complaint because for years, complaints were counted only when a ticket was issued and he feels this should not be that way. All parties agreed that a solution must be made on how to handle short term rentals. Spitzer advised that you could send notices to all homes who are not properly licensed, advising they need to get licensed or there is possibility of fines. Spitzer also advised the best way to tackle this problem is to zone all properties to allow short term rentals, but then the owner must get a license to rent. With the license, there could be conditions to approval, such as there must be an emergency local contact or the CEO needs to inspect the home, etc. Spitzer advised he would collect the licensing information from other communities that have already addressed this matter so that the VPB and VB can work together on a Value Matrix for their licensing procedures.

The next meeting of the Village Planning Board will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the Village Hall.