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Liberty talks zoning

DeWitt gives hwy dept update

By Joseph Abraham
Posted 3/17/23

LIBERTY –– Discussion on possible amendments to the Town’s zoning, regarding the establishment of parameters for schools and houses of worship, in certain areas of Liberty, …

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Liberty talks zoning

DeWitt gives hwy dept update


LIBERTY –– Discussion on possible amendments to the Town’s zoning, regarding the establishment of parameters for schools and houses of worship, in certain areas of Liberty, continued at Thursday’s Town Board meeting.

Recently, a committee consisting of Planner Peter Manning, as well as some members of Liberty’s planning and town boards, brought some information and ideas to the Town Board, who have now taken the baton to act on them.

Previous conversation centered around the pros and cons of whether service/commercial districts, residential zones, or perhaps an overlay district was a better option, when it comes to schools and houses of worship.

Councilman Dean Farrand had previously stressed that he was not willing to put any change in the code without a list of special use regulations that would give the planning board direction when projects came before them. He since began working on those possible regulations leading into last week’s meeting, where he updated his peers on what his suggestions were.

Farrand, while explaining that at some point they may have to look at houses of worship and schools under the same umbrella, as well as what the controlling standard would then be in those instances, for the time being, they should treat them as two separate items.

Following more discussion, Supervisor Frank DeMayo gave a tentative timeline for the process, suggesting that they look over Farrand’s recommendations and that any additional conditions the board would like added would be discussed at their next meeting on March 20. Once finalized, they’d give it to Manning to review. 

After that, the board will consider any overlay considerations in the Town’s service commercial zone and come to a resolution at one of their April meetings, then submit to Manning. The goal would then be to have a local law drafted and public hearing held in May, followed by a vote by the board to amend the code in June.

Highway Department

“The State of the Highway Department is strong ... I’ve always wanted to say that,” Town of Liberty Highway Superintendent Matthew DeWitt said with a smile at the start of an hour-long presentation he made to the board.

During that time DeWitt explained the conditions of the department’s facilities, vehicles and more, while also expressing what he felt their most immediate needs were. 

DeWitt said the most important thing they need at this time is a generator for the highway barn that would also help the water and sewer department with their pump station, in the event of a power outage. 

The Town had priced out the cost of a generator for the facility in 2018, which at the time was around $97,000. With recent inflation, it’s expected to come at a greater cost. It was decided that Nick Rusin, confidential secretary to Supervisor DeMayo, who has had success securing grants for the Town in the past, would research potential grants they could use to purchase a generator. 

DeWitt had also asked about the possibility of using a $75,000 DASNY grant the Town had received for maintaining the floor at the highway barn, which has radiant heat, for a generator, but DeMayo said, while they’d ask, it was unlikely it could be used for anything other than the floor.

DeWitt also highlighted the replacement of a majority of the culverts in the Town as an issue they must tackle, noting that there are too many “in poor condition.” 

“I for one will say we never had a discussion [about the highway department], like we had here tonight,” Councilman Vince McPhillips said of DeWitt’s report, “and I for one, appreciate it.” 

DeMayo, in praising DeWitt, told the Democrat that he and Town Attorney Kenneth Klein, in a conversation after the meeting said they’d never seen as detailed a report from a highway superintendent, adding, “It’s a tool for us to use in the future.” 


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