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Cochecton zoning needs some work

By Reid and Lee Badger
August 2, 2011

The Cochecton Town Board assured the capacity June 16 public hearing audience that it had gone over the proposed zoning law, and subdivision and comprehensive plans “line by line.” Why, then, do these documents contain so many errors and blind alleys? As currently written, whether for planners or citizens, these proposed documents are inaccurate, out-of-date, and, therefore, not useful for their intended purposes. For example:

1. Under §100.27 Renewable Energy Systems, the proposed zoning law refers to “this Section 618,” which has no explanation, definition or link. What is Section 618? Where can I find it? What does it mean? It certainly cannot be a section in the Cochecton Zoning Law, where all chapters are numbered 100.xx.

2. The proposed subdivision law, in Chapter 4.11, refers the reader to Chapter 4.11 of the zoning law, yet all zoning law chapters begin with 100. This is clearly a sloppy error that circles the reader back to a pronounced dead end.

3. The stated purpose of the proposed 2011 Comprehensive Plan is to “bring current” the 1998 Supplement to the 1972 Comprehensive Plan in terms of both data and recommendations. However, it is notable that on page 6 of the “current” plan, paragraph 5 does not even mention that there is now a quarry on Route 97. Further, Route 97, according to the “new” plan, is being “actively considered” as a scenic byway. It was, in fact, declared so nearly 10 years ago (2002) by Governor Pataki. How can such an out-of-date document pass the board or serve the people of Cochecton?

5. In the Land Use and Transportation sections of the same plan, identical items are indicated as (NEW) on both the old (1998) and proposed (2011) versions. How can it be both?

6. How can the board base an “updated” 2011 Comprehensive Plan on a survey conducted over 16 years ago to which only 2% (31 people) of Cochecton residents responded?

And so on. These documents are clearly not functional or useful as written. In addition, the board, despite being asked repeatedly both in writing and in person to do so, has not provided the public a single explanation as to why any changes were made, among the most notable being the relaxation of the requirements pertaining to slopes and wetlands. We, the residents of Cochecton, deserve greater attention to detail and response from our board and, once that is done, a public Q&A hearing.

[Reid and Lee Badger are residents of Cochecton, NY.]