March 25, 2009: Everyone in Shandaken should care


To The Editor:
It’s frightening to read a zoning law proposed in Shandaken. This proposal is a shocking example of shortsighted abuse of political power to legislate against one individual to the detriment of everyone else.
The new law says a business can’t open before May 1 or stay open after November 30. It says you can never have more that 2,000 square feet including porches, sheds, storage, awnings and display areas. It says you can’t open your business before sun up or after sun down and you are not allowed to have any exterior lighting. The law specifically says exactly what can be sold and what can’t be sold on the inside of a privately operated retail store.
And if that’s not bad enough, the last provision says “The Planning Board shall impose such other and further conditions as are reasonably related to the safe and orderly operation” of this business. So if anyone is foolish enough to go along with all the other provisions of the law, the Planning Board can make up and impose any other rules it wants, any time it wants. At the public hearing on the law, one planning board member said she opposed the law because it is not restrictive enough.
This law should never have been proposed. If they pass this one, what business will they target next? The Higleys want to run a farm stand not an adult porn shop – which, incidentally and ironically, this town board has never opposed. A letter to the editor from a Chichester writer excoriates Mr. Higley for having the nerve to defend himself by publishing a flyer and asking his supporters to go to a town board meeting.
Well if he didn’t bring this to the attention of the voting public, the law would sail through with little or no opposition.
Everyone in Shandaken should care about this. Maybe you don’t care about the jobs it creates for local people and maybe you’ll never want to open a business that is dictated by a vindictive town board. But in a town where nearly 80 percent of the land is owned by the city and the state as forever wild, elected officials are trying to restrict business operations on the other 20 percent. In a time when both the city and the state are trying to get out of paying their fair share of taxes, Shandaken officials want to stop a local business owner adding to the ever-dwindling tax base.
It’s time to stand up and tell elected officials to stop representing their self-interests and start working for the good of all the community. It’s time to tell them they can’t take out their petty grievances on the rest of us. If we sit back quietly and let them pass this law, then who will speak up when they come after us? Please make your voice heard before it’s too late. Call Peter DiSclafani, Doris Bartlett and Tim Malloy and tell them not to pass this law. Do it today.

Joan and Larry Bauer,