Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 26, 2012

UNDER REVIEW

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston officials had everything they needed at their disposal to adopt changes to the town's zoning code and map.

They'd spent more than a year examining what was there already, making changes, meeting with those most affected by whatever ideas they had and asking for public comment. But the town's old zoning code, complete with some enforcement issues on the books since the mid-1960s, remains the law of the land Tuesday.

How long it remains law, though, remains to be seen.

"A large reason we're waiting is to make sure everyone has the chance to comment on our changes," Wendel Engineer Ellen Parker said. "We're trying to be as transparent as possible with this process."

Changing the code appears to be all but certain. After the long process, two public hearings – the final one held Monday featuring two speakers – and two public information sessions in Sanborn, and little to no negative comments from the public, it may be just a matter of time.

But under different circumstances, changing something as important and as convoluted as a zoning plan or map can be a difficult topic to tackle. These rules affect what property owners are allowed to do with their land and changing the rules can be messy, according to Building/Zoning Officer Timothy Masters.

He said the Town Board's decision to make the changes and the affect they'll have on his job will be drastic.

"This is a very unpopular job," he said. "But the language changes will give me more clarity. If you look at the zoning book as it is right now ... it's not very clear in some areas on what people can do on their property. The new code is really cut and dry. The map is also much more clear about where things are, which lot is which."

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