Jerusalem to hold public hearing on Ag-Res zoning

John Christensen The Chronicle-Express

After a protracted period of research, proposal, debate, acrimony, resignations, inaction, and regrouping, the proposed changes to the zoning codes for the agricultural-residential district in the Town of Jerusalem are finally ready for public review.

The changes proposed by the Ag-Res Zoning Committee over the last two years have been hotly debated on the town board, with Town Supervisor Patrick Killen stating he wanted changes to the revision before it was presented to the public; particularly regarding minimum lot sizes and maximum lot coverage. Other changes include restaurants and cafés as a permitted use at wineries and breweries.

The draft of the proposed changes is available at the Town Hall in Branchport, and will be posted on the town’s website. The public hearing is scheduled for March 16 at the next regular town meeting.

Other business on the board’s agenda Feb. 17 included:

• Data Collection: The position of data collector is still under debate. The 2016 budget sets $25,000 for the position of a data collector, but the nature of that position hasn’t been decided; will it be contract, a part-time town employee, or a field period student(s) from Keuka College? Town Board Member and former Supervisor Daryl Jones says that the appointed assessor, Vernon Brand, redrafted his own job description when the position was made full time in 2012. In it, Brand stated his position would be 60 percent data collection and 40 percent assessment. Jones wonders what amount of data collection Brand has done for the town since 2012.

• Truck purchase: The town approved the purchase of a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck for the Water & Sewer Dept at the state bid price of $29,083.10, including an extra $1,000 for the optional “Eco-Boost” engine for improved fuel mileage.

• Keuka Park Water & Sewer rates: The Water & Sewer rates were amended for hotel units to .25 units per rental unit to more accurately reflect the real level of use.

• Petty cash for Town Court: The board passed a resolution creating a petty cash account for Jerusalem Town Court so change could be made for fines and fees paid in cash. Until this time, the justice and clerk have been making change out of their own pockets.