February 20, 2014
Gutchess asks for zoning changes
CORTLANDVILLE —Gutchess Lumber requested the Town Board pass a law to rezone areas including and adjacent to its main facility at Wednesday night’s meeting, in an item that was a late addition to the agenda.
Town Attorney John Folmer prepared the proposed local law, which introduced the suggested changes. At the request of Gutchess Lumber Co. Vice President Matthew Gutchess, the town would rezone 12 parcels to industrial use.
The primary motivation behind the change is to allow Gutchess to potentially expand its operation, as well as free up additional acreage for storage of lumber. Currently, the parcels are a mixture of zoning designations including agricultural, Business-1 business and Industrial-2 industrial; the largest parcel of 34 acres is zoned agricultural.
Six of the parcels are along Stupke Road, between McLean Road and Lime Hollow Road. The additional six are along Route 281 between McLean Road and the Route 13 intersection.
According to Gutchess’s letter, the request was prompted in light of the Town Board reviewing its current zoning regulations. Cortlandville is working on a land use plan targeted toward controlling residential growth in the town.
“I think that it’s an interesting proposition,” Folmer said. “It’s one that Gutchess is wanting to be the appropriate, highest and best use of their property, at least in their view.”
Both board member Ron Rocco and Town Supervisor Dick Tupper expressed their belief that Gutchess Lumber was a community asset and discussed concerns that the company would consider looking outside the area.
“They do have a plant down in Latrobe (Pa.) which they could expand to and if they left, there would be a big void here,” Rocco said. “They’ve always been very good to us. We on the board know the many things they’ve done for the community.”
Tupper said he agreed with the assessment that rezoning the land fell in the parameters of a highest and best use, noting that Gutchess Lumber had been purchasing the adjoining properties over a number of years.
The proposed change would continue a line of industrial zoning that begins at Pall Corp., which makes for a good fit, Tupper said.
“If they get involved in any kind of construction for buildings or anything like that they’ll have to go through zoning or planning just like everyone else,” Tupper said. “I think he’s (Gutchess) looking for expansion and storage. If he does any kind of expansion, we’re obviously hoping that’s going to mean employment.”
Of the 12 parcels being rezoned, five are not owned by Gutchess Lumber, including over 6 acres in two parcels owned by the town. The total area of the properties owned by Gutchess Lumber is approximately 48 acres.
Ten of the properties mentioned in the draft law are adjacent to current industrial zoned parcels owned by Gutchess Lumber. Of the two non-adjoining sites, one is owned by the state and the other is the former Friendly’s restaurant site where Gutchess lumber intends to build its new sales office.
The Town Board set a public hearing for March 5 to review the aquifer protection permit for the Gutchess Lumber sales office. The new facility would also house meeting space, including a large conference room, in a expansion to the existing structure of over 1,600 square feet.
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