The Cooperstown Village Board has scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday night – that’s tomorrow, Oct. 28 – on the proposed zoning code revisions.
Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said, “The law may or may not be adopted on Monday, depending on public input and trustee decision.”
It’s too soon. Cooperstown residents should show up and say so.
The zoning code has broad implications for the future of the village. Not enough people yet understand what those impacts may be.
Most worrisome is a “special permit” provision which, in effect, allows any use in any part of the village with the approval of a simple board majority.
For instance, all the homes Bassett Healthcare owns in the upper Fair Street vicinity of the hospital could, by a majority vote, be converted into multi-family homes.
For another instance, apartments houses could be place in any single-family neighborhood through a simply majority vote, as Pine Boulevard neighbors learned to their dismay over the summer.
Plus, the document that will be up for public hearing Monday night gives no clue as to what’s new – there’s no before and after.
The idea of zoning is to preserve neighborhoods and protect property values. This document, based on a revised comprehensive master plan that call for more multi-family and apartment housing in all zone, erases those protections.
Certainly, there’s room for more apartments in the commercial district, and on land in proximity to the village in the towns. But single-family neighborhoods need protections insufficient in this document.
Again, the public should show up at 7 p.m. Monday (10/28) and encourage the village trustees to wait.
The Village Board should then schedule two or three or four well-publicized public meetings where the changes in the new zoning code and possible impacts could be fully explained and discussed.
There’s no reason to rush the vote. The zoning code should reflect community values and common goals. It’s unclear if this document meets those mandates and should be delayed until that’s clear.