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Call For ReZone Albany Moratorium

A plan to update Albany’s decades-old zoning code could be put on hold.

Albany's zoning code got its last update in the late 1960's.  In May, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan formally released the final ReZone Albany draft at City Hall. The long-awaited plan was desribed as one that would simplify the zoning ordinance.   "...it really creates a lot of flexibility. It was done with a lot of input, and I know that the Common Council is going to take this and review it and have further public meetings and opportunity for public input," said the mayor.

City Hall says the goal of rezoning is to create modern codes reflective of neighborhoods that will stimulate the economy via investment and property development.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

5th Ward Common Councilor Mark Robinson plans to introduce a measure Monday night to put ReZone Albany on hold.  "Tonight I will be introducing a moratorium to table Albany ReZone until a new council and possibly a new mayor are sworn in in the 2018 election cycle."

Robinson is inviting concerned city residents to show up for the 7 p.m. meeting.  Robinson says he is concerned that ReZone Albany opens up residential single-family neighborhoods to mixed use development.  "I think that Mayor Kathy Sheehan has aligned herself with big pocket developers. She has cleared the way that now they will not have to come in front of zoning to get special zoning to build."

Robinson says the plan would affect every city resident.  "I feel that it is very important that we as council, we take a great dive into looking at the effects that Albany ReZone will have on the quality of life, traffic patterns, water flow, and that's just a start."

Robinson is getting ready to primary the Sheehan-backed Corey Ellis for Common Council President in September. County Legislator Chris Higgins is also expected to be in that race. Robinson has received backing from the Conservative Party and will be on that party's ballot line for Common Council President in November.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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