Shelby’s proposed Overlay District is desperate attempt with negative ramifications for property owners

Posted 13 September 2016 at 9:01 am


Of all the discourse seen on the Town of Shelby’s proposal of new Local Law No. 2, a few questions haven’t been asked.

Did the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge ask the Town of Shelby or any other “group” for this kind of assistance/protection? There is a well-documented paper trail that shows the refuge worked closely with the DEC and Frontier Stone to identify issues of importance, which the DEC and Frontier addressed fully. That’s more than can be said for the Shelby Town Board. I suppose the refuge will be branded “negligent,” as was the DEC.

What was the criteria for the town’s 3,000-foot buffer in the overlay? Why not 5,000 feet? A mile? 5 miles? I can see by the map that the 3,000-foot mark just misses property owned by family members of the Town of Shelby’s Town Supervisor. A coincidence, I am sure.

What about the rest of the perimeter of the refuge? What does the town and those property owners have to say about those borders? I would think Shelby would have addressed this issue, seeing as they are so concerned about the refuge in its entirety. As it stands, it’s like locking the front door of a cattle barn that has three sides missing.

This is not so much an issue about the quarry – it’s a property rights issue now. If LL2 is passed by this Town Board, it will establish a precedent for a ban on new business and other activities in Shelby. If you allow that precedent to be set in one part of town, the board may not stop there.

Anything you may want to do, on land that you pay taxes on, could be prohibited by the Town Board in the future. The wildlife, Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers don’t just stay in the refuge, they’re all over Shelby. Residents and property owners could be banned from building a shed, digging a garden, or blasting the bedrock from under your property because you want a pond for your animals.

LL2 is a very ill-conceived concept that the Town of Shelby has come up with in desperation. Frontier Stone has jumped through every hoop and flame set before them and come out clean. The DEC and the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge are satisfied. The STAMP project is satisfied.  In the end, someone will be happy, someone will be sad. That’s life.

If enacted, laws like LL2 are a Pandora’s box. Anything you may want to do on your property could be subject to Town Board scrutiny in the future, just because someone who doesn’t own YOUR PROPERTY doesn’t think it should be there.

Taxpayers who own 68% of the land in Shelby’s proposed overlay district made it clear they do not want local government officials using taxpayer money to impose restrictions on them. The rest of the town should be mindful of how those same officials may use YOUR money in the future to limit YOUR use and enjoyment of YOUR property.

Patty Olinger