July 1, 2009: Law applies to some, but not all

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To The Editor:
When is a restaurant not a restaurant? When Don Hogan decides to add a restaurant to his convenience store and gas station in the Hamlet of Andes.
At its June meeting, six of the seven members of the Andes Town Planning Board decided that the addition of a sit-down, table service restaurant with wait staff was not “sufficiently different from the existing convenience store business. Therefore, no special permit or review of this change in use would be required. Since when are “convenience store” and “restaurant” synonymous?
In fact, according to the zoning law, there have been numerous instances where variances, special permits and public review should have been required as Hogan added to and expanded his building and the businesses. However, not once has Hogan been required to apply for a variance, a special permit or hold a public hearing. And, he has insufficient parking on his property for the existing businesses much less the addition of a restaurant.
The Andes Zoning Law might as well be tossed into the Tremperskill Stream. Clearly, the planning board has decided it applies to some but not to all. Its enforcement has been arbitrary and capricious. Its stated purpose, “to lessen congestion in the streets” and to “prevent the overcrowding of the land,” has been completely ignored in this egregious instance.
My husband and I own the adjoining property and both have businesses here in Andes. We are very supportive of the business community, including Don Hogan, and welcome the addition of new business, including a restaurant, to the hamlet. Just not at this location, on a property which already fails to conform to so many provisions and requirements outlined in the zoning law.

Dorothy McArdle,
Andes