Town of Dunkirk seeks zoning changes

Zoning is outdated in the town of Dunkirk, but there may be some changes coming in the near future.

Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Mourer reported at a recent special meeting that in his three years of being the zoning officer, there have been no changes.

Town Clerk Jean Crane said town officials were told if they have too many variances, they aren’t doing their job right.

Building codes and signs were the major topics of the evening.

The idea is to give the planning board more power, so residents do not have to go to the zoning officer for every little thing.

“If it isn’t a huge project, the planning board will be able to OK it,” Supervisor Richard Purol said.

Planning Board member Jay Warren feels the town should wait on many of these changes until after the comprehensive plan has been finalized.

Crane mentioned the site plan and special use permit should be put together.

“The site plan goes to the planning board,” she said. “We need to change town board having all the power. You guys (planning) get the site plans, and zoning gets the permit. You are both working at the same time.”

Purol wants to make home businesses more user-friendly.

“If someone wants a salon in their home, we need to know how many people they plan to hire, and what they want to do with their property,” he said.

Warren added when people do home businesses they have insufficient parking and people wind up parking along the highway or on lawns.

Mourer said it is illegal to park on the state highway.

Planning Board member Craig Lyford wants to preserve agricultural land.

“This makes a huge difference in the character of our town,” he said about building a business on large agricultural property. “Right now this is a significant and profound change in the character of this town.”

Lyford believes if someone wants to build a home on these patches of land they should be able to, but nothing gaudy that will deter from the natural beauty of the town.

The next zoning/planning boards meeting will be Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. to further discuss these changes, which will not take place without a public hearing.

In other business, Planning Board Chairman Vincent Vecchiarella announced his resignation to the planning, town, and zoning boards.

In a letter to town officials, he stated he is moving to Arizona. Vecchiarella will have a residence in New York but spend most of his time in Arizona.

“I look forward with enthusiasm to the next phase of my life, and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” he wrote. “I have been rewarded by the many positive relationships I have forged. I will always be grateful for the support received from the town board and the members of our community I have had the opportunity to proudly serve.”

Vecchiarella’s resignation is effective Oct. 1.