Posted on: January 10, 2018

Proposed Amendment Introductory Local Law Prohibition of Extractive Operations in LIO Zoning Distric




            BE IT ENACTED by the Town Board of the Town of Mamakating, County of Sullivan, State of New York, as follows:

            Section 1.        Legislative Intent.  The Town of Mamakating zoning code currently allows extractive operations, defined as mining, quarrying, excavation or removal of earth products, as a special use in the Industry/Office (IO) and Light Industry/Office (LIO) zoning districts.  There are currently four active mining operations in the Town.  One of those mines is a large operation located in the IO zoning district.  The three other operating mines are non-conforming uses, since they are located in zoning districts that do not permit extractive operations.  No mining operations are located in the LIO zoning district.  

            The LIO zoning district is located principally along the easterly side of State Route 209, with two small areas of the zoning district located on the westerly side of Route 209.  State Route 209 is the primary north-south route through the Town, stretching from State Route 17, through the Village of Wurtsboro and into Ulster County.  The LIO zoning district extends to the northerly boundary of the Village of Wurtsboro.  The Town Board seeks to develop an economic development strategy centered on eco-tourism and related service industries, as described in the June 2017 draft Comprehensive Plan recommended by the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.  Mining operations generate significant heavy truck traffic, noise, dust and adverse aesthetic impact.  The existence of mining operation(s) along this primary route into the Town is detrimental to the Town’s community vision and economic development strategy. 

The easterly boundary of the LIO zoning district runs parallel and very close to the historic D&H Canal and its tow path, which is used as a walking trail.  The Town is in the process of improving and extending this walking trail as part of its successful efforts to establish additional trails and other recreation opportunities in the Town.  The Town Board determines that mining operations in close proximity to the D&H Canal trail are detrimental to the hiking and walking experience and contrary to the Town’s efforts to construct additional and linked trails throughout the Town. 

The southerly portion of the LIO zoning district includes the Wurtsboro Airport and vacant lands designated as the Wurtsboro Airport Economic Development Area, which may be developed for compatible uses, offices, restaurants and research facilities.  The Town’s current Comprehensive Plan recommends light industrial, research and office uses for this EDA and recommends a mix of those uses in order to minimize heavy vehicle traffic through the Village of Wurtsboro.  The draft Comprehensive Plan prepared by the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee calls for the development of a strategy to promote the growth and utilization of the Wurtsboro Airport as a means of attracting visitors to the Town, which is endorsed by this Board.  The Town Board determines that mining operations in close proximity to the Wurtsboro Airport and adjoining vacant lands are not compatible with the Wurtsboro Airport or the economic growth of the Airport, and are not compatible with appropriate development of lands adjoining or near the Airport.  In addition, the Board determines that mining operation(s) will produce significant volumes of heavy vehicle traffic, contrary to the recommendation of the current Comprehensive Plan.

            The Town Board finds and determines that the prohibition of extractive operations in the LIO zoning district promotes the Town’s community vision and economic development strategy, its emphasis on eco-tourism and recreation, the economic growth and utilization of the Wurtsboro Airport, the appropriate use of adjoining and nearby lands, and the general public welfare. 

In early 2016, the Town Board initiated the statutory process to update the Town’s 2001 Comprehensive Plan.  The Town Board’s intention was to adopt a new Comprehensive Plan and then adopt zoning amendments consistent with that Plan.  That process has taken longer than anticipated.  The draft Comprehensive Plan recommended to the Town Board by the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee calls for the prohibition of all new extractive operations throughout the Town.  The Board is considering that draft Plan in its process of reviewing all relevant matters prior to adoption of an updated Town Comprehensive Plan.

The Town Board is aware that E. Tetz & Sons or a related group is processing a mining permit application submitted to the State Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Town Board believes that the proposed mining site, which adjoins the Wurtsboro Airport, an established residential subdivision and the D&H Canal trail, and is within the viewshed of the State parks and trails on the Shawangunk Ridge, is a singularly poor location for a mining operation.  Although the Town Board’s preference would be to consider and adopt zoning amendments after completion of the overall Comprehensive Plan process, the Board finds that it is in the public interest to amend the Comprehensive Plan, to the extent necessary, and adopt this local law at this time.

            Section 2.        Schedule I, titled “Table of Use and Bulk Requirements” for the LIO (Light Industry/Office) zoning district is amended by deleting “Extractive operations” as a Special Use.

            Section 3.        Effective date.  This local law shall immediately take effect upon filing with the Secretary of State.



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