Zoning--it's elementary

Holmes had his Dr. Watson, and One of Nine has its—Dr. Watson.  The computer currently beating the pants off its human competitors on "Jeopardy" is named—Watson.  But I digress.

From a fellow local blogger on Dryden zoning:

The worst part of the new zoning laws is that they proclaim everything not specifically permitted to be illegal. Now these laws only get revamped every 30-50 years. So imagine you're in 1960-1980 and coming up with your zoning laws....

What could go wrong?  Read the whole thing.

Calendar items: Zoning--February Dryden town board & planning board meetings

From the Dryden Town Newsletter:

Ongoing zoning law work


Zoning Rewrite


The second Wednesday of each month (February 9th this month) during the town’s Abstract & Agenda Meeting, the Town Board will continue the ongoing work of updating our zoning law. A more up to date draft is available on the town’s website. Both the Abstract & Agenda Meeting (with zoning update work) and the business meeting on the third Wednesday (February 16th this month) are held at 7 pm at the Town Hall at 93 E Main St, Dryden, NY 13053.


For more information, check out our web page: Proposed Zoning Law Rewrite Resources Page http://dryden.ny.us/environmental-planning/proposed-zoning-law-resources-page


As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email comments@dryden.ny.us and your comments and questions will be forwarded to the Town Board.


Hamlet of Varna Community Development Plan


The Planning Board is handling this project at the moment. They meet the 3rd Thursday of each month (February 17th this month) at 7 pm the Town Hall at 93 E Main St, Dryden, NY 13053.


For more information, check out our web page with information about the Varna Project http://dryden.ny.us/environmental-planning/varna_project


Related note:

This graph is in an international context, but the importance of property rights is generally applicable, down to the local level. 

DRAC, Shelly, Redford, & Soros

Which of these things in the post title is not like the others?  Trick question.  They're all related.

DRAC is the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition, a local group of folks who attend town meetings and so forth to express their opinion that fracking is bad (h/t Kathy).  Fair enough—they're certainly allowed to say what they think (as we are) and since the science on this doesn't appear to be settled, they provide a useful viewpoint.

But, as always when trying to get to the bottom of a tangled heap such as fracking, we should be asking cui bono, who benefits?  In answer to that question, the DRAC people and similar groups round up the usual suspects —the landowners who signed the leases, the fracking companies themselves as well as all of their suppliers, the nameless, faceless evil fat cats—you know the drill, so to speak.  But wait, there's more!—from the NY Post             (h/t Tom):

Shelly's $hale game    His law firm pushes gas-drill 'frack' suits

By BRENDAN SCOTT Post correspondent, Last Updated: 7:56 PM, January 17, 2011

ALBANY -- As Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leads the fight to block a type of natural-gas drilling in New York, his private law firm is in other states trying to drum up multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the practice, The Post has found.

The speaker's massive Manhattan-based personal-injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, plans a pair of public forums this week in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to "listen to the concerns of the community, share information and discuss legal options" about the gas-exploration phenomenon known as "hydrofracking" or "fracking."....

Silver (D-Manhattan) -- citing risks of water contamination by chemical byproducts from the process -- has emerged as a leading foe to expanded natural-gas drilling, which proponents argue could improve New York's energy independence and revive upstate's long-stagnant economy.

Last month, former Gov. David Paterson extended an environmental review period after vetoing a six-month ban shepherded through the Assembly by Silver.

Drilling advocates, government watchdog groups and even some Democrats say Weitz & Luxenberg's anti-drilling push, which follows a similar forum last month in Pennsylvania, raises questions about the powerful speaker's independence on the high-stakes issue....

Silver has for years refused to detail exactly what he makes and what he does for the firm, even as it plays a key role in the state Trial Lawyers Association, one of Albany's most influential lobbying groups.

Silver refused to address questions about whether Weitz & Luxenberg's anti-drilling advocacy posed a conflict for him....

That sort of changes the complexion of the thing, doesn't it?

And then at American Thinker, heartache—to think that I used to like Robert Redford:

The movie Gasland came out of nowhere to slam the shale gas industry -- an industry that has already substantially brought down the price of natural gas throughout the nation, saving consumers and business untold billions of dollars in energy costs.  The natural gas boom spawned by technologies such as horizontal drilling and fracking have also enriched citizens and states that have reaped part of the bounty brought to the surface by these technologies. Gasland casts aspersions regarding the safety of these technologies, especially to the water tables [tvm note: Gasland was brought to Albany last spring by Barbara Lifton].... 

....Did Gasland really come out of nowhere, or did it benefit from the helping hands of George Soros?

Gasland was shown at the Sundance Film Festival -- that was the first step in its journey to make the bigtime (including the HBO screenings). Gasland got a major boost in prominence when it landed a coveted spot at Sundance....

...The Sundance Institute receives funding from  George Soros; furthermore, the Sundance Documentary Film Fund was formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund. Soros and his Open Society Institute have given many millions of dollars to the Sundance Institute. The officials who run Sundance know their donors and their special interests.

According to the Capital Research Institute, Sundance founder Robert Redford "genuflected" before Soros when Open Society gave the Institute 5 million dollars in its latest "gift":

"Sundance Institute has supported documentary storytellers since its beginning. The recognition of that history by George Soros and the Open Society Institute, and the continuation of our relationship over time, speaks to our shared belief that culture-in this case documentary film-is having a profound impact in shaping progressive change."

Soros responded that he is interested in such movies because "documentary films raise awareness and inspire action."

That presumably includes action that help prevent us freeing ourselves from being dependent for our energy supplies on unfriendly nations....

Go to American Thinker to read the article in its entirety, as well as to find other pieces in the archives that contain more "interesting" information re: hydrofracking and the leftist agenda. 

Lastly, if you keep having the nagging feeling that there are even more dots to connect, that may be because there very likely are. Opposition to fracking...social zoning...sustainability....it seems as though it's always the same group, or groups, of people involved and zoning and sustainability are already quite explicitly linked by those on the left.

We always seem to be behind the curve, don't we? Time to catch up.

Zone defense


No, this isn't Ace of Spades, so we're not talking football and scantily-clad cheerleaders.  We're talking this kind of zone.  Next week is the Dryden Town Board Abstract and Agenda meeting (the second Wednesday of the month) on January 12th, at which zoning will again be the topic during the second part of the meeting.  As described in a post in early December, the work session starts at 7PM, and usually finishes up around 7:45PM. That is then followed by an 1-1/2  hour discussion related to the new, revised, zoning the town hopes to adopt.  Right now, section 600, pertaining to density allowances, is under consideration (the same topic carried over from last month's meeting. The text can be found here, pp. 27-28). 

The Board suggests that citizens phone or email town environmental planner Dan Kwasnowski (phone: 844-8888 between 8:30AM and 4:30PM or leave a message after hours, fax: 844-8008, email: dank@dryden.ny.us) to express their concerns, questions, or suggestions. Dan will then put together a written summary of citizens' concerns which becomes the topics for discussion at the meeting. Attendance at the meeting doesn't hurt, either. 

Please inform your neighbors and friends of these meetings so that all interested parties can stay current with proposed projects (h/t Kathy).

Desiring the undesirable

Underneath the Christmas tree was a copy of The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan.  This volume is part of the revival of the self-sufficiency movement, last popular in the 1980s (and pockets of which have persisted around Tompkins County).  The book reviews the joys and practicality of not only the home vegetable garden, but fruits and nuts, small-scale poultry, meat, dairy, home-grown grains, and beekeeping.

What struck me right away was how much could be done on a small lot:
homestead image
But, as I pondered it, this layout looked very familiar.  I realized that I had seen it before, marked "Undesirable" (underlined) in the Dryden Residential Design Guidelines.
 comparison from Dryden residential design guidelines 
The clustered, "desirable" alternative presented in the guidelines is much less compatible with self-sufficiency.  As each day's news indicates that economic stress can be expected to grow, which kind of development would you rather see in our town -- homes where people can provide at least part of their own needs, or clustered housing in which you are basically plopping urban dwellers into a rural setting, necessarily dependent on others for everything?

Zoning--the continuing saga


This Wednesday, December 8th, 7pm, is the Town of Dryden's work session/agenda meeting (these meetings are the second Wednesday, i.e., the week before the regular Town Board meetings) where the new zoning laws are being reworked. This session is slated to deal with the density concepts presented in the "Amended Zoning Law " booklet.  As asked for at the last meeting, there is considerably more information now available online at http://dryden.ny.us/environmental-planning/proposed-zoning-law-resources-page. (h/t Kathy)


From Kathy:

....The zoning discussion probably starts around 7:45 and may go until 10....I am going to call tomorrow (Monday, 12/6) and ask that the public be given copies of the zoning matters the Board expects to discuss.  They put together a mini-agenda based on questions, emails, and concerns raised by the public, and I think copies should be available to the public.  There were  public copies for October...but none available for the November meeting...I would like to see this posted early on so we the people have an opportunity to study and prepare the subjects to be discussed.


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