Joe Gentile reports in today's Register-Star that the Greenport Town Board voted unanimously to oppose the Mental Health Association's plan to build Greenport Gardens, a 66-unit development for people with mental health issues and those with annual household incomes of less than $28,000, along Joslen Boulevard, just off Green Acres Road: "Town board rejects planned MHA development."
As the article points out, the opinion of the Town Board--the legislative body--is largely symbolic, since it is the Town Planning Board that must decide whether or not to approve the project. Gentile reports that residents asked why the Town of Greenport doesn't have a Zoning Board of Appeals. The simple answer is that Greenport is the only municipality in Columbia County that has no zoning ordinance, and without a zoning ordinance there can be no Zoning Board of Appeals.
Even though Greenport has no zoning, the Mental Health Association has had a rough time pursuing their projects in Greenport. Back in 2010, they wanted to relocate their group home from the historic house at 900 Columbia Street to a pair of duplexes on Arthur Avenue in Greenport. That plan brought protests of fear and indignation from the residents in the nearby Greenport neighborhoods, who believed the project would endanger their children. The opposition in Greenport allegedly forced MHA to stay where they were, in an area of Hudson where group homes are a permitted use--a decision that initially proposed and ultimately resulted in the demolition of one Hudson's oldest surviving houses. The protests of Hudson residents, who believed that a two-hundred-year-old house should be valued and preserved, fell upon deaf ears.
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