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Tyrone subdivision law draws comments

TYRONE—A public meeting was held to address Tyrone residents’ questions and concerns about the town’s in-progress subdivision law, Thursday, May 28.
One of the main concerns people had was with how the subdivision law would affect someone who wanted to build on their land. Danielle Hautaniemi, director of planning and community development for Cornell Cooperative Extension, explained what a subdivision law is and that it only pertains to people who divide up the land to develop and sell. She said subdivision law looks at how a project like that would affect the roads, sewer and water, erosion, noise and light pollution, and traffic problems.
Hautaniemi said the town’s proposed law is divided into major and minor subdivision. She explained some projects are minor subdivision and would not have much impact on infrastructure so require less review. Lot line adjustments is an example of minor subdivision. Hautaniemi also said that minor subdivision includes three lots or less within the 1,500 feet buffer zone for lakes and major streams, and six to 10 outside the buffer zone. Major subdivision is four and up within the same buffer zone and seven and up outside it. She explained the state is responsible for dictating the minimum parcel size when a lot is broken up within the buffer zones.
She also talked about conventional and clustered subdivision. Hautaniemi explained conventional is where a lot is broken up into parcels regardless of the terrain. However, clustered is the opposite. She explained that planning could take into account whether there is a waterway on the property or  a wooded part of the parcel is right next to a protected forest, two things that the town may not want disturbed. Hautaniemi said if the stream goes under the road on the edge of the property, the town would have an interest in that. She said developing the area of the stream could alter water flow and end up damaging the culvert. Clustered subdivision allows development to happen more compactly to avoid doing something like that.
One town resident wanted to know why the residents themselves could not vote for or against the subdivision law. Hautaniemi explained it could not be decided by direct vote, but was up to the town board. However, they are required to hold public hearings like this one.
Schuyler County Legislator Dennis Fagan spoke about a subdivision project several years ago on Lamoka Lake that caused run-off and damaged existing housing. He said a subdivision law would ensure damage like that does not happen again. He added projects will happen in the area, however infrequent.
Another concern was that subdivision projects would make taxes and assessments go up. Fagan addressed this as well and said he thought it would have the opposite affect on taxes because the tax base would be increasing. Hautaniemi said the assessment of an existing home would only go up if it were the same as a new home being built. She added the only way to prevent assessments from going up at all would be to have no more houses built in the town.

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