Letters from the Community

Newspapers can only print so many “Letters to the Editor,” so we wanted to give you a chance to be heard and share your story with your friends, neighbors, and community.

How are you and your family going to be affected by these zoning proposals?

Let your voice be heard!

Please share your letters in the comment section below, or if you’d rather have confidentiality, you may also email your comments to us directly, and we’ll post them for you.

EMAIL US: chathamnycitizens@gmail.com

Letter from Concerned Citizen regarding changes needed.

Please read this letter from a concerned citizen who has read the zoning laws multiple times and has suggestions for the board on specific things to fix.


Open Letter to the Board from Ted Miner

To be clear, I am writing representing only myself, no others or 
organizations.

First I would recognize the overwhelming time and effort the Chatham 
Board has invested in the present zoning proposition.

Thank you.

Though you are not done.  It has become clear much of the town residents 
are unaware of a zoning change effort.  Once aware, they are not in 
agreement.  All this in three weeks, some would say “the eleventh 
hour”.  It is only through the efforts of a few Chatham residents has 
the proposition come to light to many of the populace.

Recognizing the tenure of the town board without criticism; A first term 
Supervisor.  An appointee.  Two once elected members. The last member to 
vote and move away, not to be a resident.  Five people.

Well aware of the legal right for the five to bring this to conclusion, 
I suggest this all encompassing proposition, (changing the aura of our 
town), is grand enough to be compared to a school’s budget.  Devised by 
a board it is then sent to the public for decision.  So it should be for 
this proposition.  

Referendum.

The board should otherwise be spending its valuable time educating.  To 
include, but not limited to; meetings, survey(s), flyers, internet 
notice(s), etc.  While I admire the ability of the board to make this 
decision, I admire the public’s more. There is plenty of time until 
November.

The second Tuesday of November, the moving board member will still be 
here, to vote and influence until the end.  Let alone all the rest.  We 
are all stakeholders in this town.  Here one day, one year, one decade 
or generation.  I don’t care if the family came over on the Mayflower, 
we all share common responsibility.

Come November, Yea or Nay.  We will all share the result.

Be well.  Ted Miner


Concerns from Karen and Sy Balsen

My basic feeling is that the Town Board should not vote on this Zoning Law but rather, either drastically reduce the very “un-rural” excessive controlling features or keep as is and put it up as an referendum for the entire town to vote on.

That being said. Here are my questions related to the most glaring inappropriate elements. I have tried to phrase all as questions (the bold and italic are my questions):

180-47. Offensive Use

(Pg 166)B. Specific acts constituting unreasonable noise. The following acts and the causes thereof are declared to be in violation of this chapter and to constitute unreasonable noise:4) Yelling, shouting or hooting at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort and repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.

The Town Board can learn from the children in Chatham. My grandson and a friend were exuberantly playing in a kiddie pool in my “front yard.” Their Hooting and shouting could annoy those adults who do not smile when they hear a child having fun. He wanted me to ask you if he will be fined and arrested?

180-26 EPO-2 Scenic Views /Ridgelines

B – Development Standards

1-d- Architectural Design (Pg 92)

1) Color and materials used for buildings should be compatible with the natural landscape.

Earth tone colors and natural materials such as wood, natural brick, tile or earth tone concrete shingles are recommended.

(2) The slope of the roof should be oriented in the same direction of the natural terrain and mirror the angle of the natural hillside.

(3) Windows should be of low reflectivity, large windows should be screened by native trees, and upper floor windows should be smaller so as to reduce visual impact to the maximum extent possible.

It makes sense to me that the plan and zoning supports the avoidance of building on ridgelines. This maintains the natural and beautiful views across our Town that we all enjoy. However, how does the Town Board justify the above listed, overly limiting and controlling, restrictions for architectural design elements? I see no justification for this and thus it should be struck from the zoning plan.

§180-36. Accessory Uses 

(pg 131) A. Accessory Residential Dwellings in an Accessory Structure. One accessory residential dwelling is permitted per lot, subject to the granting of a special use permit by the Planning Board as stated in Table 2 Why is it limited to one structure?, provided that the following standards are met:

(2) The accessory residential dwelling shall not be located in a front yard of the lot and shall only be permitted in a side or rear yard.

What is the rationale for preventing an accessory residential dwelling from being located in the “front yard?”

(pg 132)C. Accessory Residential Dwelling within Principal Dwelling. A special use permit shall be required for placement of an accessory residential dwelling within a principal dwelling with the following criteria:

Why is this made so complicated? Either a single family home is located in a zone where it can be divided into more than one resident or it is not. 

(Pg 133)D. Accessory Structures

Except for accessory residential dwellings and farm worker housing, the following requirements shall apply to all accessory structures:

(3) There shall be a maximum of three roofed or otherwise enclosed accessory structures, other than agricultural buildings, permitted on any lot. Of these roofed structures, only one accessory structure shall be a detached private garage.

Does this mean that I cannot have a detached greenhouse, a garden shed, a garage, a storage shed or barn, and a playhouse for the kids on my 9 acres (RL2) property?

(8) No accessory use or structure, including garages, sheds, swimming pools and tennis courts, may be located in the front yard of any residential lot.

Why? Where are people to put an additional structure when their house is set far back on their property for views, etc., and thus the only place for additional structures is in their “front yard”?

Why does this document keep limiting the number of vehicles that someone can park at their home, and, in many places, issist on vehicles being hidden from view? 

Why does this document keep preventing people from putting anything in their “front yard? I can see how that could find its way into zoning in a suburb but it is inappropriate for a rural area.

§180-58. Individual Standards for Special Uses.

(pg 174)D. Bed and Breakfast

(2) The facility shall have not more than five rooms for fee paying guests and no more than 10 guests. Such rooms must be located in the main residential dwelling.

In an area where there are not enough beds for visitors, why would a B&B be limited to 10 guests?

(5) No meals may be served other than breakfast. No meals or beverages shall be served to persons other than those who are actual fee-paying guests or the resident/owner operator.

(6) There must be a common dining area, a separate dining area for guests only is not permitted.

Why does the Town Board consider numbers 5 and 6 above (re: B&B) to be a problem needing restrictions?

Why does this document constantly insist that the main building entrance face the “street?” When we build our house ourselves, we knew we did not want our front entrance facing north because that would be the side requiring the most work to clear in the winter.

(pg 178) M. Theater

(1) There shall be a minimum of 10 acres.

(2) No facility shall be approved for greater than 100 seats, regardless of whether indoor, outdoor or any combination thereof.

Why is the Town Board restricting access to the arts in our town?

(pg 179) O. Restaurant

(1) Parking is not permitted in the front yard setback unless the parking area is adequately screened to mitigate negative visual impacts.

Since, in most cases, the only available area for parking is in the front area of a business, why is the Town Board thwarting this type of enterprise in Chatham?

(pg 180) U. Museum or other Cultural Facility in Hamlet Districts

(1) Buildings shall be no larger in size than 125% the size of the adjacent buildings’ footprint and shall not exceed the size of the largest building in the hamlet. Parking shall be no more than 10% of the lot size.

Why?

Z. Short Term Rental Uses

It looks like a great deal of thought and time was put into this section to try to address potential impact on the town. However, since there are still many questions, can this section be removed and voted on separately?

180-38. Communication or broadcast towers or facilities

(2) This section does not apply to citizen band, short wave and/or two-way radio antennas for ordinary residential or recreational use and shall be no more than five feet taller than any structure within the zone. I assume you are saying that these antennas can be no more than 5 feet taller than any structure in the Zone.

Do you know that this is in violation of PRB-1 – 101 FCC 2d 952 (1985)? PRB-1 – 101 FCC 2d 952 (1985) § 97.15 provides that an amateur station antenna structure may be erected at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate effective amateur service communication.Also, what is the document referring to with the word “Zone?” Does it mean to say “district?”
Sy has a ham radio license and we have been thinking of putting up a tower.
Karen and Sy Balsen


Fair Housing Issue from Karen Burke

Ms. Lull,

Since there are proposed zoning changes in the works, I would like to make another suggestion to be added to the Town of Chatham Code = Fair Housing. After doing some research and seeing what other towns may deem important and/or have included in their codes, Fair Housing is a topic that seemed to come up often.

In my line of work, Fair Housing is a very hot topic, which is perhaps why it jumped out at me. Most towns seem to have the same basic wording to encompass all that Fair Housing means for community members. I have attached a “sample” that I would like the Town to consider. (View sample here.)

Thank you for your attention and consideration to this suggestion.

Kathy Burke


Anonymous Letter Regarding the Need for Reasonable Zoning, Not Restrictive Zoning

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