Before a packed board meeting, residents of DeWitt came out to speak their minds on the proposed changes to the zoning code. Twenty-four area home and business owners came to give the board their thoughts on the proposed changes and to suggest some additional changes before a decision is made. The town board held a public hearing on the zoning code update on Nov. 26.
Just before the start of the open floor, Trustee Kenneth Andrews spoke of the need to redo the code. Andrews said that the changes have been a long affair and that they have not been popular with everyone, but that the updates are very important and necessary. Planning Board Chairman Michael Lazar spoke about the comprehensive plan. Lazar said that this new code would be a simple document that will be accessible to the community. Lazar also thanked the board members and citizens for their work and input into the plan.
Jocelyn Gordon, senior planner at Peter J. Smith and Co., gave a short presentation highlighting the major points of the proposal. Gordon laid out the purpose and key objectives of the update. She focused on the ideas of protecting residential areas and an increased need for mixed-use land.
Prior to the start of public comments, the trustees read written comments by various local businesses and clubs. Opinions ranged from support for the new changes to pleas to allow business properties to stay under their current zones.
The majority of comments made Monday night were positive reviews and recommendations to pass the legislation. Citizens Bill Holmes, Paul Fowler, and Tom Kennedy all asked the board to pass the new plan stating needs for a new simple to follow document.
Of the complaints, the majority were about changing industrial to high tech. Owners of land currently declared for heavy industry used came out to ask that their land remain under the same category. Town Engineer Mike Kolceski and Byrne Dairy's Nick Marcella both asked that pieces of land they work for be left as industrial instead of changing to high tech.