A much-anticipated public hearing will be held Monday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. at Village Hall, 43 Partition St. The proposed law would:
- Merge the five-member village Historic Review and Village Planning boards to create a seven-member Planning Commission which would have the oversight powers of both, including ensuring development within the village’s two historic areas (business district and south-side) is in keeping with the village’s historic character as outlined in its preservation ordinance. This has been opposed by those who feel the resulting commission would not be as knowledgeable about local history. Mayor Bill Murphy and board trustees say the board would enforce the same preservation ordinance more efficiently by sparing businesses from an additional round of review.
- Resolve the issue of the boundaries of the historic business district. This issue came up recently as a result of an application to demolish a home at 40 Partition St. The Historic Review Board asserted it had oversight because according to the zoning map used by it and other boards since 2004, the home was included in the historic district. But the village has concluded that the 2004 map was not filed properly with the state and a 1985 map, which does not include the home in the district, is the official map and its border should be used. (Also relevant here: Historic Review Board members previously said they would not approve the demolition, so the board having jurisdiction was considered tantamount to a rejection of the planned expansion of a parking lot by Sawyer Savings Bank.)
- Other zoning changes including: adding Clovelea (the Dragon Inn), its accompanying gatehouse and carriage house, as historic properties; the creation of a new business/residential zone on Livingston St. that will allow residential use on the first floor of a business, which previously was prohibited; and changing the zoning of a property behind the Village Diner from residential to business to permit the owner of the diner to expand a parking lot.
A vote on the law will probably take place at the trustee’s Dec. 15 meeting, according to the mayor.