Hurley seeks moratorium to slow pending projects, including conversion of school into rental apartments

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Faced with growing development pressures, including the proposed development of the former West Hurley School into rental apartments, the Town of Hurley is seeking to pass a moratorium on any and all multifamily dwellings for nine months. A public hearing on the proposal has been set for Monday, May 20, with Hurley supervisor John Perry saying this week that he expected the town board to pass the measure afterwards.

“With three potential developments before us, we felt the need to do something,” Perry said. “We don’t need any pressure as our planning board, zoning board and inspectors make decisions. We didn’t want to be left in a compromising position.”

The supervisor added that the proposed law was fully discussed with the town’s attorney, and sent this week to the developers at Cedar East Development II looking to turn the school into apartments, Kerry Danenberg and Kenan Gunduz, as well as to the Onteora Central School District, which is selling the school property. 

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“The town’s zoning is fairly outdated,” Perry said. “We want to ensure everything fits in with our recently-passed new comprehensive plan.”

In addition to the redevelopment of the school into 40 plus rental apartments, the other multi-family developments that Perry was referencing include the former St. Joseph’s Mission Church on Zandhoek Road, and what he called “the former Tappen House” off Spillway Road. 

The proposed law, “Moratorium on the Development of Multifamily Dwellings and Multiple Dwelling Complexes in the Town of Hurley,” was brought forth at a special meeting of the town board on May 9. In it, wording notes that the town, “finds that there is a critical and compelling need in the public interest to impose a moratorium on the development of Multifamily Dwellings and Multiple Dwelling Complexes in the Town,” based on their belief that since adopting a Town Comprehensive Plan review in 2006 “the board has determined that the zoning regulations are in need of amendment and that the current zoning statute does not adequately address the current land use practices…

“The Town Board finds that factors in connection with development or potential development of Multifamily Dwellings and Multiple Dwelling Complexes in the town may have a significant impact upon the health, safety and general welfare of the Town, its inhabitants and visitors, and upon existing uses, public services, traffic and the environment, in general,” the proposed law continues. “These circumstances require that the town board undertake, without delay, a focused review of the existing statutes as relate to multiple dwelling and multiple dwelling complexes in the town and, thereafter, determine whether these regulations should be amended or otherwise changed.”

Summing up, the new law hopes “to prevent interim development from frustrating the objectives of the town and its citizens” and “facilitate the adoption of a town comprehensive plan and related zoning and land use laws to protect and enhance the town’s natural, historic and cultural resources.”

The scope of the moratorium would bar the issuance of any building permits for multi-family developments for at least nine months. When asked about how this would specifically affect the school’s development, Perry pointed out that while a formal proposal was put forth on the project last autumn, there have been no actual plans submitted, and a closing on the property has yet to occur.

“The developers have called and I have to call them back,” Perry added. “I’m not looking to deter development, just making sure it’s the best thing for the town.”

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