DeWitt: New zones approved

In December 2007, the DeWitt Town Board tabled a proposal to rezone lands from Industrial to Hi Tech, mainly due to resident concerns and misunderstandings about codes. A committee was then formed to study zoning issues; public meetings were held and surveys were distributed for feedback.

At its June 9 meeting, the board unanimously approved the change, calling it Local Law 3 2008.

The main areas affected by the zoning map changes include the Interstate 481 corridor north of the railroad tracks and east to the town line with Manlius; a small area along Thompson Road near James Street, and three old quarries in Jamesville.

Changing a zone from Industrial to Hi Tech stops heavy industrial plants from coming to town, like the proposed Empire Synfuel coal gasification plant by Empire Synfuel in Jamesville. In addition to banning general-purpose manufacturing or production plants, a High Tech district also prohibits general purpose warehousing and transportation.

Prior to the vote, people opposed to the reform spoke up.

"The Jamesville hamlet district possesses the unique character of a 19th century mill town," said Jack Loveland, former town engineer and Synfuel supporter. "However, there is one thing missing: the mills aren't permitted anymore."

Adam Schultz of Gilberti Law Firm, present for two companies including Hansen Aggregates, asked the board to delay a decision.

"Recognize the Rock Cut area for what it is -- it's industrial," Schultz said. "This area, with its infrastructure, with its accessibility to transportation, has been appropriately, and should remain, an industrial area."

One resident, Sylvia Matousek, came forward in support of the project: "I'm not against industry and I'm not against creating jobs," she said. "I do think that high industrial areas need to be in industrial areas, and not encroaching on residential [neighborhoods]. We have more areas zoned industrial in the town of DeWitt than virtually any other town in the county The whole world is moving toward green areas and green technology."

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