Nelson town board approves one new law, holds second for May

Planning board and zoning boards can now have alternate members, land use and zoning regulation changes still under consideration

— What was expected to be a short meeting lasted nearly two hours last week as the Nelson Town Board held a public hearing, addressed two new town laws, considered the findings of its Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan and discussed how best to spend an extra $30,000 in highway department funding unexpectedly delivered to local governments from the state budget.

The board voted unanimously (absent member John Laubscher) after holding a public hearing on the issue to approve Local Law No. 3 of 2013 to allow alternates on both the planning board and zoning board of appeals. The change was made to ensure a full complement of each board when in session if a member is absent or there is a conflict of interest. The alternates, similar to alternates on a jury, will attend every board meeting, be subject to the same training and rules, but not vote unless needed, Town Attorney Jim Stokes has previously said.

The new law has been under consideration since January, after vacancies occurred on both boards in December 2012 and the board interviewed four candidates for two vacant positions. With the passage of the new law, the board will appoint Jeff Spaulding, of Erieville, as the planning board alternate and Eric Lints, of Nelson, as the ZBA alternate, said Supervisor Roger Bradstreet at the board’s April 11 meeting.

The second new town law under consideration by the board regards changes to the town land use and zoning regulations. The draft law was created in order to rectify some unforeseen issues that have arisen in the wake of the town’s land use regulations passed in 2011. In addition to the clarifications, which are available in full in the town board’s March meeting minutes on the town website, the board also wants to incorporate into the land use regulations some of the suggestions included in the recent Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan, Bradstreet said.

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