By Connor Linskey
The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to adopt Local Law No. 3 of 2020 at their meeting last Tuesday. This local law extends the moratorium on the submission and processing of applications for land use approvals within the Village of Montgomery for three additional months.
The moratorium was originally enacted by Local Law No. 2 of 2020 for a period of six months. One of the reasons the moratorium was extended is to allow the village time to complete the amendments to their zoning law as contemplated by the comprehensive plan update.
“We certainly have cause because of the zoning amendments not being complete,” Village of Montgomery Mayor Stephen Brescia said regarding why the moratorium was extended. “So that’s the reason for the extension and we can always extend it another three months if they’re not completed by then.”
The village board also voted to adopt this law, as it will fulfill their obligations to protect and preserve the public health, welfare and safety of residents as well as to protect the value, use and enjoyment of property in the village by temporarily prohibiting the submission and processing of applications for land use approvals.
In addition, the village board voted to extend the moratorium because Trustee Walter Lindner and Chairman of the Village of Montgomery Comprehensive Plan Committee Kevin Conero noted that they require additional time to study the impacts, effects and regulation of development within the village. The extension would give them time to further consider the concerns of the residents and property owners of the village and to address their needs. The village board aims to preserve the resources and character of the village.
The village board also adopted Local Law No. 3 of 2020, as the previous moratorium set by Local Law No. 2 of 2020 expired on Dec. 30.
“The village board hereby finds that the moratorium should be extended for a period of three months duration, coupled with the existing hardship waiver procedure and mechanism for persons seeking land use approvals within the village, will achieve the balancing of interests between the public need to safeguard the resources and character of the village, the health, safety and general welfare of its residents and the rights of individual property owners, persons or businesses engaging in various development activities during such a period,” states Local Law No. 3 of 2020.
The local law shall take effect immediately upon filing in the office of the Secretary of State in Albany. For three months from the effective date of this local law, no new applications for land use approvals shall be accepted or processed by the village and no previously submitted applications for land use approvals will be further processed by the village. The village board could repeal this local law prior to its termination date if they believe that its purposes have been accomplished.
There are exceptions to this local law. One exception are applications before the planning board that have been issued final or conditional final land use approval before the effective date of the local law.
The village board may authorize exceptions to the moratorium imposed by the local law when it finds, based upon evidence presented to it, that deferral of action on an application for land use approval would impose an extraordinary hardship on a landowner or applicant.
During the public hearing regarding Local Law No. 3 of 2020, Village of Montgomery residents noted that they believed the moratorium should be extended longer than three months.
Don Berger, one of the founders of citizens group Residents Protecting Montgomery (RPM), wanted the moratorium to be extended for six months.
“I still contend that there is still a lot of work to do,” he said.
Karina Tipton, a member of RPM, noted that she believes the moratorium should be extended until the village’s comprehensive plan update is complete. She is a member of the Town of Montgomery Comprehensive Plan Committee and knows how time consuming updating the plan can be.