At their meeting on Thursday, the Montgomery Town Board adopted Local Law No. 4 of 2020, amending Local Law No. 2 of 2020 to extend the moratorium prohibiting the review and approval of applications for the development of warehouses and distribution centers in the Town of Montgomery for an additional eight months.
The Town Board previously adopted a six-month moratorium beginning on April 27, 2020 in order to allow for a proper review of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and to ensure that any updated zoning regulations that are deemed necessary based upon recommendations made in the Town’s ongoing Comprehensive Plan update are applied to future development in the Town.
Since the adoption of the initial moratorium on the development of warehouses and distribution centers in the Town, a Comprehensive Plan Committee has been appointed and has been working despite the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to the unintended delay from the COVID-19 health pandemic and the complex nature of reviewing the Town Comprehensive Master Plan, the Town Board has determined it is in the best interest of the Town to extend the subject moratorium for an additional eight months to ensure a proper review is performed by the Comprehensive Master Plan Committee,” the local law states.
All other provisions of Local Law No. 2 of 2020 shall remain in full force and effect during the eight-month moratorium extension.
No permits shall be issued for the permitting, construction and/or installation of warehouses or distribution centers in any districts within the Town without the approval of the Town Board, which approval will not be considered except in the event of proven hardship. The Town Planning Board shall not accept any application, grant any approval to, or continue the review of a subdivision plat, site plan, special use permit or other permit that includes the permitting, construction and/or development of a warehouse or distribution center in any districts within the Town or would have as a result of the enlargement, relocation, or modification of an existing warehouse or distribution center.
The Town Zoning Board shall not accept any application or grant any approval for a variance or other permit that would have as a result the permitting, construction and development of a warehouse or distribution center in any districts within the Town.
The Town of Montgomery Building Department shall not accept any building permit application or grant any Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Compliance for any warehouse or distribution center.
However, some warehouses or distribution center projects are exempt from the moratorium and may proceed with the usual permitting and licensing procedures as are currently provided by the Town Code.
Any warehouse or distribution center project that has received a Negative Declaration (Notice of Determination of Nonsignificance) from the lead agency charged with reviewing the proposed project pursuant to Title 6, Chapter VI, Part 617 of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Regulations (SEQR) or if said lead agency has accepted a fully completed Draft Environmental Impact Statement for review in the event that a Positive Declaration pursuant to the SEQR regulations has been issued.
Any proposed warehouse or distribution center having a maximum gross area of 40,000 square feet and no more than three truck docks is exempt from the moratorium. In addition, any proposed warehouse or distribution center that has received final project approval from the Town Planning Board prior to the effective date of this Local Law, provided that the property owner and/or applicant has received a lawful extension which has not expired.
Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher said that the town board always knew that the moratorium on large warehouses and distribution centers needed to be extended.
“We had always talked about extending the moratorium after its six-month period of time because we knew that the process for our Comprehensive Plan update would take closer to a year,” he said. “Our goal was to evaluate whether or not there were damaging market trends due to the moratorium and we did not see that there was a massive issue in terms of development and affecting the local economy, so that’s why we decided to continue to move forward with the moratorium on warehouses over 40,000 square feet, while we continue to update our comprehensive plan.”