Saratoga County

Zoning do-over vote makes local history

Local history was made by the Town of Milton Zoning Board on Thursday, when its members decided to h

Local history was made by the Town of Milton Zoning Board on Thursday, when its members decided to hold a do-over vote on Nov. 17.

“Never,” said Town Attorney Jim Craig, when he was asked whether he had ever seen something like this happen before.

On Thursday night the board voted unanimously to reconsider the results of an Oct. 28 vote, when they upheld the ruling of a building inspector. The inspector had decided that a sawmill at the corner of Geyser Road and Rock City Road did not deserve to keep its pre-existing non-conforming use status, as he felt the facility had not been used for its special purpose in over a year.

The facility’s owner, a person named Weaver, appealed the ruling and was able to plead his case at an Oct. 28 hearing, where his neighbors stated that the property was not being used for this purpose and his clientele said it was, according to the meeting’s minutes. Ultimately, Weaver lost his appeal by a vote of 3-2.

That night, though, board member Brian Companion realized he had voted to uphold the building inspector’s decision, when he had meant to vote in favor of the appeal, according to Zoning Board Attorney Martin Pozefsky.

Companion then notified the board chairman about his mistake, but Pozefsky said that once the meeting was adjourned, it was too late to easily correct the error.

After scouring the state’s Town Law, Pozefsky found section 267a subsection 12, which laid out provisions for a second vote on the matter.

It required a special meeting to consider another vote, with the board needing unanimous support for ther action. Then, if they hold another vote, that vote needs to be a unanimous decision if they want to reverse the initial vote.

While the board decided unanimously to hold a second vote, it is unlikely they will get a unanimous decision on Nov. 17. Aside from Companion, two other members of the board had opposed the appeal and they would both need to reverse their positions for a new result. Pozefsky said that board member Fred Harris, who opposed the appeal, had voted for the second vote as an issue of “fairness,” but that it wouldn’t mean he had decided to change his vote.

Town Attorney Jim Craig said that Companion could have made a motion during the initial meeting to correct his vote, but once the meeting was adjourned that simple solution disappeared.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said, “with the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen when people aren’t clear on a motion.”

Craig said it was understandable, with the legal jargon sometimes used by the board that people could get confused, but it had never gotten this far during his 17 years with the town.

The Gazette was unable to reach Companion or Weaver for comment. Weaver’s attorney, John Crommie did not return a request for comment on this story.

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