A new local law now on the books will result in the expansion of the Hudson Avenue business corridor northward to the village line.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday (Feb. 18) in favor of changes to the village zoning law in hopes of drawing new business to Stillwater and clearing up zoning issues that existing business owners say has been hampering them from selling their properties.
The board had been considering the changes since last fall when the matter was brought to the attention of Trustee Ellen Vomacka by Fred and Linda Tracy, owners of Fred’s Tents & Canopies, Inc. Under the former residential zoning, the Tracys claimed they could not sell their business because it could not continue to run as a business under new ownership.
Local Law No. 1 for 2014 changes that scenario by stretching the business district further along Hudson Avenue past the Fred’s Tents location. The new business district, with an (R1) residential overlay, now runs from the “existing boundary south side of Stratton Lane, one parcel back on the south side of Stratton Lane (west) to Colonial Road, then (east) to Hudson Avenue to the Hudson River one parcel back.”
An environmental review was required before the new law could be passed. That process began back in December when Trustees appointed the Village of Stillwater as the lead agent for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process and began preparation of an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) for the rezoning amendment as required by law and to amend the zoning map. The village was also required to give the Saratoga County Planning Board 30 days to review the plans before it could take action. Those plans were approved by the county and the Village Board held a public hearing on the law Tuesday night with no one speaking for or against it.
Following the public hearing, Trustees went step by step through the SEQR application and determined the zoning changes would present “no adverse effect on the environment.” They then authorized village attorney James Peluso to file a negative declaration with state and local authorities before adopting the law.
In other business, Trustees voted to adopt new health insurance coverage for village employees beginning March 1 that will offer workers “comparable coverage” while potentially saving the village about $10,000 to $12,000 a year in premiums.
The major difference employees will see is that instead of the village reimbursing workers for part of their co-pays for doctor visits and prescription purchases, it will now reimburse them for a $1,000 deductible each would be required to pay before the co-pay process begins. The village budgeted $70,000 for employee health insurance this fiscal year. The change could potentially lower that cost to under $60,000. Mayor Ernest Martin said the village plans to meet with village employees to explain the changes.