Confusion reigns at Sullivan ZBA

Members of the Sullivan Zoning Board of Appeals didn't seem to have a good handle on what they were supposed to do about Local Law No. 6 for 2008 last week. In fact, it didn't appear they knew that was the law, in fact, they were supposed to interpret.

The Dec. 11 meeting opened with a public hearing dominated in large part by ZBA member Donald Henry, who delivered a fairly extensive history on the 1979 law that has been the subject of much debate in Sullivan the past two years.

Henry's history lesson only seemed to further confuse fellow board members and members of the audience.

A little background

Subdivisions Inc. and J.B. Quarry Inc. applied for a special use permit in 2006 to mine property on Quarry Road. Last year, then-Codes Enforcement Officer Lawrence J. Kinne was asked by the Sullivan Planning Board to determine two things: Whether the land in question was zoned agricultural or industrial and whether mining was permitted in an agricultural zone.

Kinne, who said he made his determination based on "the tools given to him by the town to do his job," determined the parcel was zoned for agricultural use and that mining was not a permitted use in agricultural zones.

The matter was moved on to the ZBA to weigh the merit of Kinne's decision, a process that was cut short after the town enacted Local Law No. 1 for the Year 2007. At a June 2007 meeting, the ZBA determined Kinne's zoning determination was correct, but the permitted use question was moot, they said, based on the newly enacted law.

In July 2007, the applicants filed an Article 78 proceeding in Madison County Supreme Court. The case was moved to Chenango County Court due to possible conflicts of interests. It wasn't heard until the first week of December last year. Judge Kevin Dowd reserved decision after arguments and had 90 days to render that decision.

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