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A closer look at city at city zoning regulations

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OGDENSBURG — The city’s zoning regulations will be reviewed to see if they are being enforced to the letter.

Last week’s approval of a variance by the city Zoning Board of Appeals of a higher-than-allowed radio tower for the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad after it had been illegally installed was noticed by Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley.

He wants to know how many other times the board has granted a variance after the fact when a code violation was uncovered. It’s not fair, he said, to variance seekers who abide by the rules.

City officials are convinced that the rescue squad didn’t intentionally ignore the zoning code — that it was a site-plan mistake that slipped by.

“It was an oversight,” Mayor William D. Nelson said Wednesday.

The Zoning Board of Appeals approval last week was by way of a 4-0 vote with three board members absent. The board took no action on the variance request at a meeting the week before because only three members showed up, one shy of a voting quorum.

“That, to me, is a problem,” said Councilor R. Storm Cilley.

City officials don’t want what they say is an isolated quorum deficiency issue to discourage people from serving on the zoning board or any of the city’s other mayor/council-appointed volunteer boards, committees and commissions.

“It’s difficult,” said Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith. “Not everyone wants to decide if his neighbor can have a fence.”

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