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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Solar Energy Proposed Text Amendment discussed at Planning Board meeting...

The final item on last night's Planning Board agenda was a recommendation to the town board for the proposed solar energy zone text amendment.

After a few minutes of discussion, the Planning Board recommended to support the text amendments as written for Local Law Introductory "I" of 2017 Solar Energy Systems.

The next step is for the town board to hold a Public Hearing to give residents an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the current solar energy town code.

At the last town board meeting on November 8th, Councilman Reynolds recommended that the Public Hearing be scheduled for the next town board meeting. The town board voted to adopt a resolution setting the Public Hearing date for December 13, 2017.

After the Public Hearing is closed, the town board can discuss further and either adopt, change or deny the new text amendment.

For those residents interested in solar energy, here are before and after copies of the solar code for comparison:
If you have an interest in solar energy, plan to attend the public hearing on December 13, 2017 to voice an opinion or comment before the town board makes their final decision whether or not to adopt the law.

Here is the portion of the Planning Board meeting with the discussion of the proposed changes to the solar law:

2018 Town of New Hartford audit suspense...

Submissions which were received for the recently advertised Request for Proposals for the 2018 audit were discussed at the November 8, 2017 town board meeting.

Three proposals were received...EFPR Group, LLP from Williamsville, NY; The Bonadio Group from Clinton, N.Y.; and D'Arcangelo & Co. from Rome, N.Y.

D'Arcangelo has been auditing the town's finances since Tyksinski became supervisor eight (8) years ago; Tyksinski has always insisted on it.

As was the case in previous years, there seemed to be some objections from Tyksinski for the 2018 audit.

Dan Dreimiller said that EFPR Group was a good firm, but didn't go to any farther detail than that; their proposal came in about the same as the proposal from Bonadio. However, Tyksinski wondered whether using Bonadio might be a conflict of interest problem because Heather Mowat works for Bonadio and she is also President of the New Hartford Public Library.

Ha! Ha! Ha! What a General Municipal Law, Tyksinski! There is no conflict of interest with Bonadio doing the town audit. Dreimiller even said that two (2) people from the Albany office of Bonadio would be doing the audit. Got to do better than that excuse for once again hiring D'Arcangelo, Tyk!

Hmm...the suspense! What excuse will Tyksinski come up with to get the board to vote for D'Arcangelo again? Why is Tyksinski making up excuses in the first place? Will it work this time?

Hopefully, we will find out at the next meeting on December 13 which should be the last meeting conducted by Tyksinski.

In the meantime, here is the video of the November 8, 2017 town board meeting.

Friday, November 3, 2017

There seems to be some confusion... to why the solar energy law changes have yet to be adopted by the New Hartford Town Board.

Rather than "buy" into the "blame game" which seems to be the rule during this election cycle, I thought it might be helpful to educate everyone as to how a proposed zoning code change becomes a local law; putting blame on any one individual board member is ridiculous and shows a lack of understanding of NYS zoning laws and town code.

There are three (3) ways to amend the current zoning under the Town of New Hartford code:
  • By the Town Board upon its own motion.
  • By resolution of the Planning Board, filed with the Town Clerk, wherein certain changes to or repeal of specific provisions of this chapter are recommended
  • By a petition duly signed and acknowledged from the owners of 50% or more of the acreage in any district or part thereof requesting an amendment along with a $5,000 fee according to the updated town code during the Tyksinski regime.
Fortunately, in the case of the change to the solar energy code, the proposed law was brought to the town board based by Councilman Reynolds who sat at several zoning board meetings listening to residents being turned down for a solar use variance.

If you recall last Spring, Councilman Reynolds asked the town board to allow him to form a committee to recommend changes; prior to that, the solar energy zoning was discussed at several zoning board and town board meetings; Tyksinski made no bones about the fact that he did not want solar in HIS town.

At the August town board meeting, Councilman Reynolds presented the town board with recommended changes to the town's zoning code. I wrote about it on my September 15th blog, Solar Energy...I don't want it, therefore, you can't have it!

At that town board meeting, neither the town supervisor or the town attorney advised the councilman of the several steps to be followed for an amendment change including sending the recommended changes to the Planning Board, so nothing was done; the proposed changes never left the town clerk's office.

Councilman Reynolds brought the subject up again at the September 13th town board meeting; however, this time he knew the process to be followed for changes to the zoning code.
All proposed amendments, supplements or changes originating by petition or by motion of the Town Board shall be referred to the Planning Board for a report and recommendation thereon. In undertaking such review, the Planning Board shall make inquiry and provide recommendation...

If applicable, the Town Board shall transmit a full statement of any proposed amendment, either map or text, that meets the referral requirements of § 239-m of the General Municipal Law to the Oneida County Department of Planning for its review and recommendation.
A resolution was unanimously adopted at the September 13 town board meeting declaring the town as Lead Agency and referring the recommended changes to the Planning Board (Resolution No. 189 OF 2017).

There are a couple of caveats in the town code however:
The Planning Board shall submit its report within 45 days after receiving such referral. Failure of the Planning Board to report within the required time shall be deemed to be a recommendation of approval of the proposed amendment.

No action shall be taken by the Town Board on such proposed amendment until a recommendation has been received from the County Department of Planning or 30 calendar days have elapsed since said Board received such full statement.
Therefore, unless the town clerk failed to do her duty regarding sending the proposed law to the Planning Board, or Oneida County Planning has held up their recommendation to the town board, by my calculations, the window for review of Councilman Reynolds proposed changes to the solar energy law is now closed.

It now falls on Councilman Reynolds shoulders to bring the proposed law back to the town board table and request a public hearing; the final step in the process before the town board votes to adopt or deny. The Public Hearing is an open meeting and residents are free to make their statement for or against the changes. The board then needs four (4) members of the board to adopt the local law.

There is no reason to doubt whether the proposed changes will be adopted after the public hearing whether Tyksinki likes it or not.

Should the entire town board know the process for changing a local law? Sure they should; there is no question about it! But blaming one board member does seem a little judgmental.

Here is a copy. of the New Hartford Town Code regarding making zoning amendments.