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September 19, 2014
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Is a summer camp the same thing as a drug rehab facility? One candidate responds to citizen’s query

Fritz Mayer

It’s not really all that surprising that Liberty town officials ignore their zoning code, as they have done so often in the past. In the early part of the last decade, a summer camp next door to the new facility in question built a synagogue, a dormitory and expanded a staff building, all without public hearings and special use permits, which are required under town code.

The members of the town board could compel VanEtten to enforce the town code, but in the case of the new, controversial “summer camp” facility on Upper Ferndale Road, they have thus far chosen not to do so.

There are four candidates running for a seat on the town board in November. Each was sent a letter asking if they thought town zoning should be enforced in this case. Three of them, Brian McPhillips, Russell Reeves and Christopher Austin, did not respond.

The only candidate to respond was Constantine Chanov, who wrote, “I have lived in Liberty most of my life, raised a family and watched the town deteriorate both physically and financially. After high school I entered the workforce and decided to be a carpenter, which allowed me to work in many different towns in the tri-state area, and by doing this I have worked with many code officers. Once you get out of Sullivan County you tend to see more strict and well thought out zoning. If I am elected I will make it a priority to look at the zoning laws, work with the town supervisor and help the code enforcement officer enforce the zoning laws. I am a taxpayer and I want to be the eyes and ears of all Liberty taxpayers.”

In the arena of zoning, Town of Liberty officials can use all the help they can get.