Woodstock’s Housing Oversight Task force is seeking comments on proposed zoning changes and other recommendations to create more long-term housing, members told the Town Board during an update.
With stewardship of the environment going hand-in-hand with creating more housing, the panel has received comments from the town’s Tree Committee and Woodstock Environmental Committee.
It has also received input from the Complete Streets Committee and others.
“We’re very excited about the amount of comments that have come in, and we encourage them to continue,” task force co-chair Kirk Ritchey said at the July 19 Town Board meeting.
Co-chair Deborah DeWan highlighted the general thread of questions and noted affordability was a concern in addition to the lack of housing inventory. “So we are going to be looking at that and looking at ways to further that goal, which of course comes out of the Comprehensive Plan,” she said. “The other issue that sort of emerged, as a prominent issue was about density. People have concerns about how much more building the zoning will allow them what the current zoning allows…And we are examining that. We’ll look to see if there’s anything else we can do to improve the potential for affordable housing, along with having the appropriate level of density established throughout in various parts of the town. And there are ways that we can do that.”
Other comments emphasized the importance of the environment and protecting resources.
“So the land use proposals had, alongside them environmental criteria for how to evaluate what goes on a piece of land, and that’s such as the net buildable acres and conservation subdivisions, and there’s a lot more detail associated with that,” DeWan said.
Some had questions about how understandable the process is and the analyses behind the recommendations. DeWan said the task force delivered a red-lined version of the zoning code with its recommended changes.
“We started with a comprehensive plan, which was our charge, and the existing code and all the districts in town, and then what had already been done in Woodstock, along with the current best practices and land use planning for communities of our size and character,” DeWan said. “So we’re looking at urban communities and rural small towns in the region and throughout the state, and then we also utilize all the previous work by the town that you’ve approved and the resources that you’ve already invested in and use that as a starting point.”
Supervisor Bill McKenna addressed ways the town can tackle affordability.
“We’re looking at ways to adjust assessments and give tax breaks that way in order to get affordability,” he said. “So the zoning law may not necessarily be able to dictate affordability, but there are other ways that we can work on that.”
McKenna added the town is going to add another round of review. When the task force brings back a revised version of its recommendations based on input, those will be sent back out to all the boards.
Links to recommendations and proposed zoning changes are at https://townwoodstock.digitaltowpath.org:10111/content/Generic/View/55, or by visiting woodstockny.org and following the “Zoning Updates” link on the bottom left of the website.
Comments can be sent to email@example.com.