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

— The board held a public hearing on the land use law at its March 14 meeting. It was to address the proposed law at the April 11 meeting but the legal paperwork was not yet completed, Bradstreet said. The board agreed to hold discussion of the issue and instead reconvene the public hearing at its May 9 meeting.

The board also discussed its Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, which was approved in December 2012 and for which the town board and planning board held a joint meeting to discuss on April 9 with their planning consultant Barbara Johnston, of Stuart I. Brown Associates.

The AFPP identifies locations in the town that consist of high quality agricultural soils that are suitable for agricultural production, and offers policies and recommendations designed to encourage the long-term protection of farmland, farm-friendly development regulations, agriculture-related economic development and tourism and increased public awareness of the importance of agriculture to the community. The plan began in 2010 in cooperation with the towns of Nelson and Lincoln, and was created with grant funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

At the April 9 meeting, questions were raised by the public about the procedure used to identify and rate high-quality soils in the town. Town Councilor John LaGorga, at the board’s April 11 town board meeting, said he thought those were appropriate questions that the board should ask about before taking any action based on the plan’s findings. The rest of the board agreed.

The AFPP “is like a starting point,” said Bradstreet. The Nelson planning board, zoning board of appeals and town board all will use it to help steer smarter town planning that helps protect and preserve farmland while also assisting in proper town development and economic growth, he said.

The full text of the AFPP is available on the town of Nelson website at townofnelson-ny.com/blog, on the right side of the screen under “Documents that can be downloaded.”

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