March 20, 2013 —
In a unanimous vote, two “grandfathered” parcels of land were approved for development by the Lumberland Town Board on March 13.
Comprehensive changes in the zoning law put in place last May left two developers scrambling to make sure their project was approved. At a public hearing, Ed Gavalla and Andy Mead, who were represented by attorney Jacob Billig, presented their case to the board and approximately 35 people in attendance. The subdivision, known as Glen View, calls for six lots on 24 acres. The lots range from two to six acres, but the zoning was changed and the minimum lot size for a home for that district is now five acres.
“My clients,” said Billig, “bought this property three years ago.” He said that there was one existing house and five additional houses that were approved by the zoning board to be built on the subdivision.
The public hearing focused on the fact that new zoning laws were put in effect May 1, 2012 and on whether or not the project would fall under the rules and regulations of the zoning laws prior to the changes.
Billig noted that the two lots “will not tax the school system or add any unwanted traffic to the area.” Additionally, he said, one lot would be zoned as a commercial property and, as such, will bring additional revenue to Lumberland. That lot will be used for Gavalla’s landscaping business.
The bottom line is that it will “add to the town’s tax base,” said Billig, of Billig, Loughlin & Baer LLP, a law firm based in Monticello.
Town supervisor Nadia Rajsz agreed with Billig and said, “We’re not a thriving community; we could use the extra tax money,” which prompted a round of applause from nearly everyone in attendance.
One member of the town board held some reservations about allowing “grandfather” status of the lots. Councilman David Leamon explained the reason he did not want to go ahead with the clause. “If we do it for this one, will we have to do it for others?” he asked. “If the board decides in favor of this,” he continued, “how do we turn down the next person who comes along?”
Akt was assured that there were no others in question who would be eligible for this particular “grandfather clause.”
After the vote, Akt said, “I’ve heard from the public and they’re in favor of this. As a board member, I feel it is my duty to represent the people and that’s why I voted in the affirmative.”
Billig said that vote echoed the sentiments of those in attendance and that his clients are in good stead with the community.
“This shows that the political process can work,” said Billig.
[This article was corrected on Thursday, March 21 at 12:05 p.m.]