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Moratorium on subdivisions put in place

Moratorium on subdivisions put in place

A moratorium on subdivisions is in effect in the town to give officials time to review land use laws

A moratorium on subdivisions is in effect in the town to give officials time to review land use laws.

Town Supervisor Robert McMahon said the six-month moratorium, agreed on last week, was established following a subdivision application for an old farming property near a limited use roadway.

When a developer purchases a 400-acre property that served as a farm, developing housing there can lead to additional costs, McMahon said.

“If we allow structures to be built we immediately have to upgrade that road,” McMahon said.

For residential housing, the road would have to accommodate school buses and emergency response vehicles, McMahon said.

McMahon said the town’s land use policies have to be reviewed to limit the impact of such developments on taxpayers and on farming in the town.

“We’re not against development, we just want to make sure we don’t throw away land and kill agriculture,” McMahon said.

McMahon said the town is holding onto a subdivision application submitted for an 85-acre parcel and won’t act on it until research is complete.

“We don’t have a dollar in the budget to build a new road,” he said.

There have been situations in the past where developers agreed to improve limited-use roads, and in those instances the town would agree to take over maintenance, McMahon said.

But there isn’t a law requiring that be done, and that will be explored during a review of ordinances.

McMahon said the county’s current foreclosure auction, which offers landlocked parcels and other tracts that are “5 feet wide and 1,000 feet long” is an example of how development can go astray without proper planning.

“We want to stop that to make sure when you subdivide, you create viable home sites,” McMahon said.

The moratorium will run through October, and McMahon said a decision to continue it will be made depending on progress of the review.

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