Murray votes against zoning amendment to create senior housing district

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2020 at 9:49 pm

MURRAY – The Town of Murray voted against changing the town ordinance to allow for a senior housing district for people 55 and older.

Town officials in a meeting over Zoom said there isn’t an application for a project yet. Local resident David Paul has pushed for the zoning change so he could pursue senior housing for land on Gulf Road. The zoning amendment would have also included land for senior housing on Lynch Road; Route 31, east of the Village of Holley; and on 31, from the Fancher Curve to Paddleford Road.

Paul told the town during a March 5 hearing the senior-only housing district would appeal to seniors and allow boost the town’s tax base.

During that hearing several residents on Gulf and Lynch roads voiced concerns about a high-density senior housing district in the rural community. Residents said the housing would take away from the wildlife resources and also wasn’t a good fit near a business district on Fancher Road.

Some residents also felt there was already a lot of traffic on Lynch Road, which leads to the junior-senior high school. One resident said many children walk along Gulf Road.

The Orleans County Planning Board on Jan. 23 recommended the town make the zoning change to allow for a senior housing district.

Normally, it would take a super-majority vote, at least 4-1, to override the county. But town officials said because it was a legislative action, and not a land-use action, a simple majority vote was enough.

Town Board members Paul Hendel and Lloyd Christ voted for the amendment change, while it was opposed by Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio and board members Randy Bower and Mike Mele.

In other action at this evening’s Town Board meeting:

• Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio said Murray needs to reduce water leaks in the water system, getting the water loss down to 10 percent.

The town could hire a contractor to help identify leaks in the system, Sidonio said.

The town highway and water employees are also working to identify sources of water loss.

• The town voted to start having monthly workshop meeting the second Wednesday each month at 7 p.m. Sidonio said he would like to make a plan for reducing water loss a priority at these meetings, as well as a plan for reducing town expenses due to the economic downturn from Covid-19.

• The town will have a public forum on June 2 about how to better capitalize on recreation and tourism opportunities in Murray. That meeting will be through Zoom videoconferencing with more details to be posted on the town website. The forum will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with assistance from Labella & Associates. Sidonio urged residents to attend the meeting through Zoom and share their ideas.

• The board appointed Town Councilman Randy Bower as Town Board representative to Assessor’s Office and Youth Commission.

• Town departments were urged to develop safety precautions for the reopening of the town hall, once Murray gets that approval. Town Clerk Cindy Oliver said she already has plans for emphasize social distancing of at least 6 feet in the building, wearing of masks or facial coverings by employees and visitors to the town hall, a hand sanitizer station and other precautions, including a possible Plexiglass barriers at the clerk’s office.

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