Doug Greene and Ken Rose of Montgomery County Business Development Center anxiously wait for the public to arrive on Wednesday evening in the Council Chamber at Amsterdam City Hall where proposed zoning changes illuminated the wall with the aid of a digital projector.
Doug Green dutifully covered each of the major changes explaining the reasoning that went into the process. He explained the major proposed change of eliminating the historic districts and implementing a city wide design guideline plan that would require new building and construction to comply with the basic guidelines that compliment their respective neighborhoods.
As with the other public meetings held for the proposed zoning updates, just a smattering of people were present. The local press wasn’t even interested.
Mayor Ann Thane tried her hand as videographer for the evening meeting, panning and zooming the camera to cover all the “action”.
St Mary’s Hospital CEO Victor Giulianelli thanked the Zoning Update Committee for their dedication and reminded us of the close relationship they maintain with the local neighborhood.
5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero inquires about historic building designation and the Chalmers Property. He is reassured by City Historian Robert von Hasseln that the designation has absolutely no bearing on the State approved demolition.
The most interesting segment of the night was presented by von Hasseln, who had a wealth of knowledge about historic districts, historic preservation and tax credits. He opposed the Committee plan to eliminate the Historic Districts from the zoning plan, suggesting instead to ease the historic regulations to a degree that is tolerable by the citizens residing in those districts. He further suggested that the Historic Amsterdam League could play a part in any needed input or even enforcement of basic guidelines for historic preservation that could earn the property owner tax credits or a tax break over a period of time.
The City Historian’s input was well though out and will be considered by the Zoning Update Committee after more input from the Historic Amsterdam League.
When approved by the Zoning Update Committee, the plan must be approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board and Amsterdam Common Council with another public meeting before it can be incorporated.