At the heart of the local zoning ordinances that affect most of us day to day is the notion of protecting land values -and tangentially, our quality of life. But even by that measure, zoning issues are not always clear cut.
A developer proposing a building that is much taller than allowed by zoning is one thing.
Proposing to subdivide property into housing lots slightly smaller than zoning regulations call for is entirely different.
Developer John McGraw, who owns property in the Bootey Bay area near Stow, sent attorney Dale Robbins and housing developer Todd Saracki to a town Planning Board meeting last week to test the waters about the housing idea.
McGraw is looking at dividing the property into 21 lots that are 100 feet wide. The town zoning law specifies 125 feet. Seven would be on the lake front. As Robbins noted, McGraw is not looking for special tax breaks from the town and will follow government, environmental and zoning regulations - except for needing a variance on lot size.
Understandably, however, if there is no chance the project would be approved, McGraw does not want to spend any more money than he already has putting a proposal together.
And so Robbins asked the board if the idea seems plausible. He did not get an answer. The Planning Board members thought the Town Board should handle the question.
Steve Senske, a Planning Board member, however, thought to ask a question of people from the Bootey Bay area who had come to the meeting because they thought McGraw was moving ahead with a proposal for a too-tall motel.
Do they see anything wrong with a housing subdivision?
If the town's laws are followed and there is no negative effect on the lake, no, they do not.
That is as it should be - so long as the Bootey Bay development reasonably follows the rules everyone counts on to protect the value of their own property.