The public hearing lasted all of six minutes, with only three people having anything to say. One of those people was Kristal Heinz. In the past, Heinz has expressed objections to proposed Local Law No. 9 of 2017, which would have allowed preexisting commercial buildings in residential districts to have new commercial uses and be renovated or even expanded, provided the expansion did not exceed the lot on which the building was located. Her past objections seemed to arise from concern about the impact Local Law No. 9 might have on R-5 zoning districts. Last night, Heinz expressed support for Local Law No. 5. Michael LeSawyer, who lives across Fairview Avenue from Stewart's and in the past has expressed opposition to Stewart's expansion, declared the zoning amendment "not a problem" but went on to say he didn't think he should be subject to restrictions that Scali's and Stewart's were not. (Scali's and Stewart's being the only possible beneficiaries of this zoning amendment.)
I expressed my puzzlement that, in light of letters from former city attorney Ken Dow and former Third Ward alderman John Friedman, which defined substantive problems with the proposed zoning amendment and, in the case of Friedman, suggested an alternative approach to addressing the problem, and the recommendation from the Planning Board, which the Council waited months to receive, it appeared the Council was moving forward with the law without making any revisions to it. Council president Tom DePietro informed me that the Council had never received the letters from Dow and Friedman, implying that since the letters had been addressed to the Planning Board instead of the Council, the Council was free to ignore the problems with the proposed law identified in the letters. The recommendation from the Planning Board, however, was addressed to the Council, and it seems, unless the Council intends to disregard it completely, the proposed law needs to be revised to include some reference to SmartCode principles if the Planning Board is to be empowered to prevent a sprawling, incongruous, suburban-looking gas station from being built at the corner of Green Street and Fairview Avenue.
|The Stewart's in Chatham, which is very like what has been proposed for Hudson|
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