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Spafford adopts hydrofracking ban

Town board unanimously approves amendment to local law

— The Spafford Town Board added itself to a growing number of municipalities putting their foot down in the face of hydraulic fracturing with the adoption of Local Law No. 2 during the board’s meeting Thursday July 12.

Following a public hearing on the law, which was written to amend and supplement current zoning, the board unanimously adopted the regulations, ultimately banning hyrdofracking within the town.

“It’s more or less a public comment [period],” Supervisor Webb Steven said about the hearing. The board and attorney Neil Germain did not field questions from the community. “It’s been debated and written as the public has asked us to.”

According to Stevens, the amendment, an 11-page single-sided document, was written without an extensive amount of legal jargon so everyone can read and understand its purpose, which is to prohibit hydraulic fracturing within the town.

The local law confirms and clarifies “that any uses not expressly permitted are prohibited in all zones but the PDD Zone [Planned Development District]; articulating certain explicitly prohibited uses; removing certain exceptions; adding certain new definitions, and changing certain existing definitions; and modifying, clarifying, and adding to the provisions regarding special use permits, area and use variances generally, and use variances respecting explicitly prohibited uses, specifically.”

According to Germain, the town board has considered potential environmental impacts of the proposed legislation at length.

“The proposed action will not have a negative effect on the environment, and therefore does not require the preparation and submission of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement,” Germain said following the public comment period.

Approximately 20 residents attended the meeting, with only a handful speaking up about the law. All were pleased and showed their appreciation to the board for the work they have done to amend the zoning.

“I’m very pleased,” said resident Larry Hart. While he understands the need for gas, Spafford should remain unindustrialized, he said.

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