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June 27, 2020

Douglas H. Purcell, Jr.
Town of Caroga
P. O. Box 328
Caroga Lake, NY 12032

Town of Caroga Planning Board
Attn: Al Kozakiewicz
P. O. Box 328
Caroga Lake, NY 12032

Dear Planning Board Members:

In accordance with Article 11, Section III.B.8.a of the Town of Caroga Zoning Ordinance, the Caroga Zoning Board of Appeals is requesting the Planning Board to make a recommendation on Zoning Board of Appeals Application Z2020-05. As you have already had a preliminary Site Plan Review with regards to this project, you are aware that the details and all correspondence relative to this application can be found on the Town of Caroga website under both the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Planning Board.

As background, this application became necessary with the change in the permitted uses for Conservation Districts with the ordinance enacted on January 1, 2019. Prior to this time, the only permitted use was for a fence. Allowed for use with a site plan review (SPR) were: municipal building by uses, not-proprietary uses and portable structures.

Current zoning allows the following uses by right: Fence, forestry use, open space recreation use, outdoor wood boiler or furnace, patio, porch, portable structure, public park, public utility, satellite dish, shed, sign and solar panel arrays.

Current zoning allows the following uses with site plan review: Forestry use structure, golf course, major public utility use, manufacturing, public recreation, and tourist attraction.

Under the existing code, Article 9.II allows for the grandfathered use of the structures mentioned. However, Articles 9.III.A and 9.III.B prohibit nonconforming uses to be enlarged or moved in whole or in part.

It would appear be difficult to meet the standards for approving a use variance.

This raises the question if these two parcels (currently being combined into one by action of the Town Board on June 17, 2020) should have been changed to Hamlet during the rewrite of the ordinance enacted in January 1, 2019. This question is raised especially in light of several of the items mentioned during the June 17, 2020 Town Board meeting related to Supervisor Horton’s vision for a long range plan. Assuming that the intent of the changes in use associated with the current ordinance were to be consistent with the definition of the Conservation Zone from the prior ordinance, to wit – “No development”, a change in the zone associated with these two parcels would be consistent with the outlined development from a possible long range plan involving the current Town Hall property while preserving the integrity of the majority of the area defined as the Conservation zone.

This may fall into the same category of oversight that was encountered during the use permit review for a dock in the R-10 district earlier this year. If so, as was the case then, the ZBA is not the mechanism by which to correct the situation.

However, it may be that the intent of this change in use for the Conservation Zone was in support of the Comprehensive Plan of 2011 to direct this type of development to the Town Center District. By prohibiting most uses in the Conservation Zone, new development would be relocated to the Town Center, thereby allowing for the removal noncompliant buildings and uses and restoring the parcels to the desired Conservation use.

It is the hope of the Zoning Board of Appeals that you might add this to the agenda of your next meeting for a review and recommendation. If you have any questions or need additional information, please let me know.


Douglas H. Purcell, Jr.
Zoning Board of Appeals

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