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Fenton residents concerned about new zoning law

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In the Town of Fenton, a hot topic was put front and center at the town board meeting Wednesday night.

Less than a year after opponents successfully stopped a plan to bring a natural gas compressor station to the area, residents spoke out during the meeting about whether the town should have the authority to grant permits to allow similar types of projects in the future. 

"We just went through a project with NG with the natural gas thing. It was very sensitive and I think there’s a mistrust there," said Gary Holcomb, Town of Fenton Supervisor.

During the meeting, officials and residents discussed two new laws for the town, Local Law 4 and Local Law 5.

Law 4 and 5 are basically sister laws. The first one establishes a special use permit which allows the town board to have the final say and what kind of uses and the mitigation that is required for any use in a restricted commercial district," said Holcomb. 

"Law 5 defines that restricted commercial district and defines it as the uses that are allowed in it so any property that is zoned that's restricted commercial will require a special use permit that would go before the town board and the town board will have the final say on whether that use is allowed or not,' said Holcomb. 

Fenton's planning board used to be that agency that had the authority. In April 2017 - they approved Vermont-based NG Advantage's plan. A plan that was rejected after a lengthy legal fight and over a year of protests.

Residents think that this is another way for the town to bring back NG Advantage to the area. 

"They’re concerned that there’s some type a backdoor happening to allow NG to come in there," said Holcomb. 

However, Holcomb said that these laws have nothing to do with the situation involving NG Advantage. 

"We’re looking at an area which was the old DLA facility," said Holcomb. "It started out with 128 acres, so it’s a property that hasn’t been utilized in years. What we’re trying to do is something different. I think this all got caught up in that NG situation."

Another public hearing on a third related law is set for next month's meeting.