Thursday, September 3, 2015

Creating a Royal Mess Along 9W

BY MARK REYNOLDS  |   mreynolds

The Town Boards of Marlborough and Lloyd recently voted to ignore sound advice from the Ulster County Planning Board [UCPB] on how they could sensibly plan future development along Route 9W, which passes through both municipalities.
After the present members of these boards are no longer in office, the impacts from their imprudent planning will be felt by residents for decades to come.

Both boards barreled right ahead and approved forms of zoning that will all but ensure subpar and crass forms of development, while irresponsibly promising the public that they will be able to control what is built, where it is built and how it will look at the end of the day.

County Planning warned Lloyd that “the doggedness which the town continues to pursue the commercial zoning of the [Route 9W] corridor is not backed by any needs analysis or facts that are available to the UCPB.” In the eyes of the county, Marlborough fared no better; stating that they are rezoning their corridor “to an entirely commercial or industrial district,” which increases the likelihood for “strip commercial development and its negative impacts on community character, traffic safety and the environment.”

We rarely see the County come out so strongly against what a town is proposing but they are rightfully warning Lloyd and Marlborough about the pitfalls they will face. Both towns have now set the stage that will allow a train wreck to happen – not all at once, but bit by bit, drop by drop; but it will take place.     

Little comfort should be taken from the boards promises that after these zoning changes they will be especially careful stewards of the land because by the time they realize their folly it will be too late; the damage will be irreversible and irrevocable. If it is not fixed now everyone in Lloyd and Marlborough will be living with mediocre and bottom line development; not tomorrow but most likely sooner rather than later. 

We urge both towns to scrap their recent zoning changes and show the public that they will reconsider the county’s objections and incorporate their suggestions. If the boards choose to dig their heels in and stand by such indefensible zoning, we would remind the public that another form of change is possible at the ballot box. The actions of these Town Boards should not be tolerated; it is simply that important.  

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