STATEMENT OF MAYOR NOVICK AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES
ON LAND USE AND ZONING STUDY
After careful consideration, the Board of Trustees has decided not to take any further action with regard to the Land Use and Zoning Study prepared by VHB.
The Board engaged VHB in April, 2018, to undertake a review of the Village’s comprehensive land use plan, including the Village’s zoning laws and zoning map. The scope of VHB’s work included making recommendations for appropriate updates and changes to the Village’s comprehensive land use plan given numerous factors, including demographic and socioeconomic trends, infrastructure requirements, patterns of development both within and outside the Village, vacant and underutilized land, community character, visual quality, community facilities and services, the need to stabilize the Village’s tax base, and the preservation of environmental resources.
New York State law encourages local municipalities, including Villages, to periodically review its municipal zoning code and comprehensive plan to determine whether the existing plan continues to serve the current needs of the municipality. Over time, needs and requirements change. Therefore, it was appropriate, and consistent with the guidance of New York State law for the Village to undertake a review of its comprehensive plan.
As we all know, the Village’s zoning code and map primarily provides for predominantly single- family residences on various, large sized lots, as well as institutional and recreational uses, such as country clubs. Recognizing this, the Board had, in fact, adopted changes to the Village Code in 2016 to allow for more flexibility in the alteration of existing homes, and the construction of new homes, by revising various Code provisions relating to volume, setbacks and similar bulk and area restrictions. Those changes had the positive impact of encouraging appropriate building activity to better meet the needs of the Village’s residents.
VHB’s work was thoughtful, deliberative, and comprehensive. VHB spent much time researching the history of land use and zoning in the Village, and studying the Village’s character and resources. The Board always contemplated, and, in fact, required community input and engagement as part of the VHB process. In that regard, VHB made a presentation of its work and study in January, 2020. Village residents attended that presentation, and provided useful comments on the scope of VHB’s work. Notwithstanding a short pause in VHB’s efforts due to Covid, in February, 2021, VHB provided the Village with a draft Land Use and Zoning Study. The Board received the draft, and held a public informational meeting on March 9, 2021, by Zoom, to receive public comments on the draft. Based on the public’s comments on the draft, as well as the Board’s own comments, VHB provided the Village with the June 2021, revised version of the Land Use and Zoning Study, which was the subject of the public informational meeting held on July 28, 2021.
It is important to emphasize that the Board never considered any particular changes to the Village Code. No laws have ever been written to change the Code, or to implement any of the recommendations of the VHB Study. The Board has not held any public hearings on the Code, or zoning changes, or on any proposed, new land use developments in the Village. The recommendations in the VHB Study remain solely that – recommendations only. The Board has not acted upon them, or taken any steps to implement them.
Having given very careful consideration to the VHB Study, and all public comments, and having taken a hard look at the various analyses and information available, the Board has reached the conclusion that further action is not warranted. The Board will certainly utilize the information and data contained in the VHB report in the future, as appropriate, when dealing with the overall needs of the Village. This information will be helpful to the Board, and the public.
The Board is grateful for the public’s interest, comments, and concerns. The Board has always welcomed community involvement. The Board has always been guided by the best interests of the Village and its residents, and will continue to do so in all its actions.