TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TUESDAY, 03/08/2022, 7:00 PM
MEMBERS PRESENT: PAT RICE PHIL STRAND
RICHARD JOHNSON WALTER GEIST
JOHN WARNER BRANDON VANCURAN (alternate)
Brad Lawson – Zoning CEO
OTHERS PRESENT: Stephanie Gibbs, Dick Sena, Don McCord, Kelly Johnson, Helen Emick
- PAT RICE OPENED THE MEETING AT 7:00 PM.
- Mr. Lawson gave Zoning Report.
- Mr. Sena gave Town Report (see 2/14/22 Town Board Minutes)
- Mr. Strand said he feels the property located on Magnolia where the old grocery store used to would be great as office buildings.
AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS VS. AG RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS
Mrs. Johnson said we need to be careful when redistricting because we don’t want to make it look to the state like we are blocking solar completely.
Mr. Rice asked the board if expanding the AR district is something we really need to do.
Mr. Lawson said there have been approximately 12 new homes built in the AR district in the last 20 years and most of them have been built above Route 394. He said the number of new homes in the AG district are over 200 homes.Mr. Lawson said there are 29 total farms. He said there are about 5 farms in the AR district, 24 farms in the AG district, about 15 farms beyond Open Meadows Rd. and about 14 on Open Meadows Rd..
Mr. Johnson said based on the numbers he doesn’t feel like it is enough to require a change to the AR district.
Mr. Lawson said he spoke to Lucas Faria from Galehead Development about the solar project they were trying to continue with on Open Meadows Rd. He said Mr. Faria said if they cannot not do a small scale solar, they would have to go bigger scale so the state could be the regulatory. He said from what he had read the town wouldn’t have much control over it.
Mr. McCord said the Siting Board at the state would still look at the towns regulations and consider them.
Mr. Lawson said Galehead Development plan on sending a letter to the Town Board.
Mr. McCord said there is a lot of money on the line for these projects. He said that there is a provision in the towns solar law that will help protect prime farmland. He said there are not very many areas to easily access transmission lines in the Town of North Harmony.
Mr. Sena said the property that Galehead Development is looking at was against our Zoning Code to begin with before we even developed the Solar Law.
Mr. Lawson said he is not in favor of changing the AG district. He said someone that lives in the AG district now, the uses allowed now will no longer be allowed. He said he doesn’t think there has been enough change to warrant changing the AG district.
Mrs. Emick asked if they have looked at the number of homes that would be affected if they decided to move the district.
Mr. Rice said that is something they still need to look at in each specific neighborhood to see if it was something they wanted to change.He said the reason he started discussing this is because there are some neighborhoods that are developing and may need protection.
Mr. Warner said the line for AR runs up between Carpenter-Pringle Rd. and Butts Rd. and they were thinking about swinging the line to Open Meadows Rd..
Mr. Rice said he changed his mind on that because there is a lot of undeveloped acreage between Carpenter-Pringle Rd. and Open Meadows Rd.. He said his thought was to look at the areas on Open Meadows Rd. that have been developed and just move the district to just protect those areas.
Mr. Lawson said on Open Meadows Rd. there isn’t a lot of active farms, but the land is being used to farm products such as hey and corn by other farmers.
Mr. McCord suggested having an AR1 and an AR2 districts then we can create a new district with their own uses and not disturb the current AR district that works.
Mr. Strand said he thinks an AR2 district is worth looking into.
Mrs. Johnson said if they want to make a new district, we are going to have to think of the uses we want to allow in that district.
Mr. Lawson said he thinks we need to look at lot size and distance due to sewer coming. He said he feels a whole acre and forty feet setbacks is a little much. He said he feels there can be some development. He said septic was the reason for the lot size change and with sewer coming we won’t have to worry about septic.
Mr. McCord said if they are going to reduce lot sizes, we need to have provisions for impervious surfaces.
Mr. Lawson said he is not saying we must change it, but we should look at it.
Next regular meeting scheduled April 12, 2022, at 7:00 P.M.
- ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. GEIST, SECONDED BY MR. JOHNSON AND NONE BEING APPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:15 PM
Deputy Town Clerk