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River zoning changes debated

Property owner Buck Moorhead discusses proposed zoning changes with the Delaware Town Board.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
July 17, 2013

Proposed zoning changes to parcels in the river corridor were discussed at the Delaware Town Board meeting on July 10, with some disagreement regarding the regulations that will govern the parcels. Gerald Euker, chairman of the planning board, said the changes were proposed because some of the parcels in the corridor were split between two districts: the Delaware River District (DR) and the Rural District (RU). Several of them are to be rezoned so that they will now exist entirely in the RU.

Property owner Buck Moorehead noted that the DR has eight special uses that could be created on the properties, while the RU has about 40 special uses and includes such uses as “Manufacturing and Industry” and “Natural Resources Processing.”

Euker said that uses for the parcels, or portions of parcels that are located within the river corridor, must still be compatible with the River Management Plan (RMP).

Moorhead said the guidelines in the RMP are discretionary at some level, as they’re not regulations.

But, said Euker, they are guidelines “which are going to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the planning board.”

Moorhead suggested several times that uses for RU properties that are situated within the river corridor should be better defined. He said, “We clearly don’t want Manufactured Home Sales. Why is that even here?”

Former candidate Steven Lundgren asked why the parcels were moved entirely into the less restrictive zone rather than the more restrictive zone.

Euker said, “Because we don’t agree with making something more restrictive than it was before.”

After the meeting, Moorhead said that his concern was that someone could go to the planning board and request to create one of the less compatible uses allowed in RU, and that use might not be addressed in the guidelines in the RMP, which were created in 1985. Or, he said, “the planning board could choose to say, we think it still is in substantial conformance with the RMP because it’s discretionary; the guidelines are not regulations. And they might approve something, and there would be a battle over it between the town, the Upper Delaware Council and the National Park Service.”

Supervisor Ed Sykes said he was in favor of scheduling a special meeting of the board to adopt the zoning changes, which include more than just the parcels in the river corridor, rather than waiting until next month’s meeting. However, the town has not yet received the review of the proposed changes from the Sullivan County Department of Planning.