Trustees thank voters
We would like to thank all the voters who participated in the democratic process last Wednesday by voting in the election for Village of Cooperstown trustees. And we would like to recognize John Sansevere for caring enough about the community we all share to enter the race. It is with both gratitude and a sense of increased responsibility that we will begin our new terms. We are grateful to our supporters for their confidence in our abilities and their affirmation of the work that we have undertaken on behalf of the Village. We look forward to three more years of productive efforts to make the Village a Cooperstown a place of which we can all continue to be proud.
Otsego board’s action were fair
I write to convey my gratitude today for the respectful communication I have received from certain community members seeking clarity on actions taken by the Town of Otsego Board at their March meeting. Because of a previous commitment, I was not present at this meeting, but am well versed in the issues discussed, and am supportive of the board’s action.
For those who may be wondering what happened, here is the gist: Based on issues surrounding development on a sizable parcel in our RA-2 (residential/agricultural) district issues that had been brewing since August 2014 — the town board took action to clarify the definition of “Service Trade Establishment” and, for the time being, to remove “Self Storage Units” as a special permitted use in this district. There is a very real possibility on returning the latter as a special permitted use, perhaps with some clarification in its definition, so that it may not be confused with warehouses, which are permitted in our commercial zones.
Service Trade Establishments are businesses run by the people who build, grade, wire, plumb and otherwise take care of and make buildings happen. Allowing them to flourish in our residential/agricultural zones makes sense: skilled tradesmen are a crucial part of our local economy. At the same time, such businesses should be in character with the surrounding neighborhood. This is in our Land Use Law. The town board clarified the definition of these establishments to be sure that they are, indeed, in keeping with the surrounding residential/agricultural properties. At the same time, the definition was liberalized, increasing the square footage of such businesses from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet. In essence, the definition was tightened in one sense, such that they could not be mistaken for commercial warehouses, which are not allowed in our residential/agricultural zones — but liberalized in that the square footage has increased.
That is essentially what happened. The process was lawful, open and properly advertised. Ideally it would have happened more slowly, but it was not done capriciously — the action was taken in the interests of upholding our law, making its interpretation clearer for our planning board members, and standing up for the citizens along County Route 26, who all stood to be impacted by a pending “defacto” change in zoning: agricultural/residential to commercial. Zoning changes can certainly happen, and perhaps should — but zoning by precedent is not the proper way.
Again, town board members are stewards of all our laws in addition to our town finances. We represent all constituents of the town, not just special interests.
Personally, I look forward to continuing to work hard for the town - whether it be in finding ways to decrease our energy bills, improving the Land Use Law and making it more user friendly, and via the proper process, perhaps changing our zoning to expand land available for commercial development. That latter change, if it occurs, however, must come to fruition properly, respecting the law that we have and with a broad demonstration of the political will that it be done.
My thanks again to those who have reached out productively, respectfully and who are solution driven. I invite others to contact me who are similarly motivated to work for solutions and help create the common ground we all deserve.
Town of Otsego board member
CCS thanks community
On behalf of Cooperstown Central School and the girls’ basketball team I would like to thank you for your support.
As we are all keenly aware, this has been a long winter. The success of this team like others in the past is due to a variety of factors. The most visible evidence is the hard work from the girls, coaches, and parents that are supportive in their child’s endeavors. We are proud of our children whether they return as state champions or not.
Another area of support that is jaw dropping and a major reason most of us reside here is the support of our local community. Looking into the stands over the last month of the season was exciting to everyone but most notably the young ladies on the court. Even more exhilarating was one simple phone call that proved the beginning of an orchestrated parade with every fire district in our communities taking part. To our fire fighters and first responders; thank you! As the trucks proceeded down Main Street to hundreds of supporters that lined the street; thank you. As the ancient African proverb states, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”
Aside from their athletic success, these young ladies recognize the support of their community and as young women the role they already have as younger girls look up to them.
Michael G. Cring
CCS middle/high school principal