Red Hook sets public hearing on new architectural guidelines

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The village of Red Hook will take the first step toward village-wide zoning changes with a public hearing on Nov. 21.

The purpose of the hearing is to receive input from the community on incorporating the recently accepted Pattern Book and Architectural Guidelines into the village’s comprehensive plan. Also included are three “illustrative sketch plans” that show a bird’s eye view of the village as it would appear if the guidelines were implemented.

The village in October put a six-month moratorium on new site plan applications to give the town board time to make substantive changes to the zoning laws. This is part of an effort to modernize the village zoning laws that had not been updated since the late 1970s.

The pattern book will update the comprehensive plan with guidelines for architecture, parking, landscaping, and other design elements in the village. According to Mayor Ed Blundell, it would not be zoning law, but it could be used as a reference for planning and zoning board members and others.

“It sets a theme…it has no actual enforcement,” he told The Observer.

Blundell said a major goal of the whole process is to make the village area friendlier to cyclists and pedestrians and he realizes the task is a challenge.

“We have to recognize, too, that the car does exist and is a big part of the current economy and the current…culture. That’s the balance we have to work with,” he said.

A comprehensive plan, he added, “suggests the growth intention, the plan” for the village is out-of-date.

Blundell said the board of trustees is still working on the language for new zoning laws, which will be presented to the public after the pattern book is incorporated. He said the board would seek public review on these issues, including public hearings, and that he hoped to have something together in December.

The hearing will be held at 7pm on Nov. 21 at Village Hall.

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