Posts Tagged With: doug greene

Amsterdam’s Proposed Zoning Update


Current Zoning Map

Amsterdam’s Zoning Update Committee will meet on June 1, 2011, at 6PM in the Council Chamber at City Hall to go over the last proposed zoning changes. The committee reintroduced the controversial City Historic District after convincing argument from City Historian Robert von Hasseln, who also provided guidance on its governance.

The arduous process of physically updating the ordinance and creating maps was primarily carried out by The Montgomery County Department of Planning and Economic Development who had to deal with contemptuous committee members like me. After an organizational meeting in October of 2009, County Planners Doug Greene, Ken Rose and Randy Siver (who was laid off this year by Montgomery County Legislators) met monthly for over a year to hammer out the details.

The Zoning Update Committee members mainly consisted of Mayor Ann Thane, Alderman William Wills, Corporation Council Gerard DeCusatis, Bob DiCaprio, Gerald Skrocki, Todd Fabozzi, Doug Landon and Bill Murphy. There were brief appearances by Fabiola Dayian and Mark Capone. Victor Giulianelli, CEO of St Mary’s Hospital attended with the hospital attorney when the committee debated changes that affected the hospital.

Some issues gave way to heated debate and soliloquy and it was not always obvious when we did or didn’t have a consensus because of sporadic attendance. The public meetings held last November and December were poorly attended as most people (including myself) had little knowledge of exactly what zoning entailed. I did get an education both in zoning and local government through this process and I am grateful to Mayor Thane for appointing me to this committee.

After the June 1st meeting, the plan is to the Common Council for a their review, a public meeting along with reviews by the City Planning Commission and County Planning Board. Notice then needs to be sent to surrounding municipalities and a state environmental quality review done.

Download the entire draft by clicking on the following link:

Zoning Ordinance Update


Previous blog entry with links to all of the Zoning Update documents can be found here.


Categories: Amsterdam, historic preservation, Law | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Zoning Update Meeting

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.

Categories: Amsterdam, Law | Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: