Gaines supervisor says town moving forward with zoning updates after inaction in recent years
I am saddened by the letter of Mike Grabowski that was published recently. I also find it utterly ridiculous. Let me tell you why:
The Town Board, as a group, unanimously passed a resolution at the February meeting directing the ZBA conduct a review of the current configuration of planning and zoning in the Town of Gaines, including a report on what changes are needed to the zoning ordinance, why we only have a Zoning Board of Appeals and no Planning Board, and how we comply with zoning best practices in New York State. Rather than take a measured approach and provide recommendations, Mr. Grabowski used the March meeting to berate the board about the resolution, tell us the entire zoning ordinance needs to be rewritten, and throw accusations at the board, supervisor, and town attorney.
Two ZBA secretaries have quit. That’s true. You’ll have to ask them why, but the overarching reason is that they did not feel the treatment they received from the Zoning Board was worth the pay. Not being told meetings were cancelled or having no feedback on meeting minutes until the day before a meeting, with no other communication from the chairman, tends to frustrate people.
Mr. Grabowski told us at the March meeting that the zoning ordinance isn’t in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan that was done in 2015 and needed to be heavily revised. My question for Mr. Grabowski and everyone else is: Why wasn’t this done in 2016? Why wasn’t this done in 2017? The proverbial can was kicked down the road. I am not sure why, but it needs to be fixed. Indeed, Mr. Grabowski demanded it be fixed.
Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Grabowski has not returned a single email or phone call to me. Not one. I tried multiple times (precisely, 2 separate emails and 2 attempts at phone calls) to inform him of the plan to move forward with the consultant. None were returned. Whose fault is that?
The Town Board and the attendees at the last board meeting enjoyed a very informative presentation and discussion by LaBella Associates. Some questions were asked by both the board and the audience, but there was absolutely zero negative feedback. Once again, the board unanimously voted to move forward with using the services of LaBella to help the Town revise our planning and zoning processes.
Mr. Grabowski’s letter is a perfect example of what’s wrong in Gaines. I don’t have any allegiances to anyone on “the other side” of the zoning and planning argument. I’ve had Gaines residents express to me that the board should have immediately formed a planning board in January to go back to the way it was before 2012 when that board was eliminated, and they aren’t happy that hasn’t happened. Rather than do that, I feel the proper approach is a measured and thoughtful one. It is very clear to me, and is certainly evidenced by the venom in Mr. Grabowski’s letter, that the Town of Gaines absolutely needs an outside party to advise us on a path forward. Not only do we have a Comprehensive Plan that was never used to update our zoning ordinance, we have new topics of importance, such as solar farms, that must be addressed properly.
All of this information is available on the town website. Meetings of previous minutes, the remarks made by Mr. Grabowski at the March meeting, the discussion about the consultant at the July meeting, along with the actual proposal from LaBella Associates to do the work. Please take the time to look them over if you have interest.
It is time for all interested parties to stop throwing accusations and talking about conspiracy theories and start working together to get this project completed. There will be a call for Gaines residents to be involved in the process that LaBella Associates will walk us through, and I would encourage anyone with interest to get involved with this.
I am excited that we are taking this project on, and that we are proceeding like we are with assistance from professionals. Together we can prepare the Town for the future, and with teamwork, start to bury some of the ridiculous animosity that exists over actions taken by previous elected officials.
Town of Gaines