GRANBY — Granby councilors this week unanimously approved a change to the town’s zoning laws.
The zoning amendment removes one line at the bottom of the town’s use chart, which states, “Uses not specified shall require Special Use permit and Site Plan approval from the Planning Board.”
The use chart outlines various residential, general, business and light industrial projects that are acceptable in Granby. Uses may now be added to the list by the adoption of a text amendment by the town board.
“If someone has an idea that they’re going to bring a slaughterhouse in or a meat packing plant or whatever, it’s not on the chart but it could adversely affect the neighborhood. We would have to allow it because it said anything not on the chart you just need a permit for,” Granby Supervisor John Snow Jr. told The Palladium-Times. “By taking this (line at the bottom of the chart) out, if you have an idea that’s not on the chart, you come to the town board and we’ll have a public hearing. That way, the public gets to weigh in on what’s going on. Then we’d amend the local law.”
For Snow, the change means the public will now have more of a say in town matters because there will be hearings on what uses are allowed in the town and not just on specific projects.
“I believe this allows the community and the residents of the neighborhood to have a voice in the process,” Snow said. “Before the local law, an applicant could come in, and yes, there’s going to be a public hearing on the application, but the use does not have a public hearing, just the application. … Now, if it’s not in the use chart, there’s one more step.”
During its last regular meeting Jan. 8, the town board voted 4-0 on a negative declaration after going through the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, and held a public hearing on the local law. One person spoke in favor of the law.
The board received a letter from the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning recommending approval of the law on Jan. 14.
After years of fighting over a controversial motocross course in the southern part of the town, the town board hopes this change prevents a similar situation from happening again in the future.
The Granby Planning Board voted 5-0 to deny the application of Compound MX after several residents raised questions about noise, dust, traffic and other environmental concerns in June. In September, the Oswego County Supreme Court ruled the planning board “acted in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious, illegal, irrational and an abuse of discretion” and ordered the special use permit and site plan be granted subject to the imposition of reasonable and “appropriate conditions and safeguards and/or time limitations to protect the health, safety, moral welfare of the public and for the preservation of the general character of the neighborhood.”
The town board was split 2-2 as to whether to fund an appeal by the planning board during its meeting Jan. 8.
Town Councilor Linda Parkhurst said she believes taking out the line at the bottom of the use chart will prevent a similar issue from coming up again.
“A lot of the problems the planning board is having right now are because of the ordinance we had,” Parkhurst said.