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Ogdensburg Planning Board and City Council look for more communication

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The Ogdensburg Planning Board will be joined by members of City Council for future meetings in order to help improve communication between the two boards as they work on a revision of the city’s zoning laws.

For more than two years the planning board has been working on a proposal to revamp the city’s zoning laws in order to reduce the amount of red tape homeowners and developers need to cut through before they can begin building.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said the planning board intends to hand over its proposal to City Council in the spring. Public hearings could begin as soon as this summer.

To get the ball rolling, Ms. Smith and the planning board will be joined for their meetings by City Councilmen William D. Hosmer and Michael D. Morley.

Ms. Smith said the idea is to have the councilors act as mediators between the planning board and the rest of City Council as they work to bring their new zoning regulations to fruition.

“This will help people through the process and make it a little more transparent,” she said. “Having the liaisons will improve communication between the board and the council.”

Ms. Smith said the bulk of the work on the city’s zoning laws has already been done by the planning board, and she hopes having the liaisons will be able to help the planning board “get the amendments solidified in a draft” before formally presenting them to City Council.

City Councilors Jennifer Stevenson and Wayne L. Ashley will also serve as liaisons to the Zoning Board.

Ms. Smith said she hopes the revised zoning laws will ultimately pave the way for future development in the city.

“The goal is to reduce some of the burdens that we know we have,” she said.

In particular, Ms. Smith said, the planning board has been looking at issues with signage, parking and dimensional requirements. Ms. Smith said city officials know these areas are big problems because of the number of variance applications they receive.

“We’re looking to make it a little more user friendly,” she said.

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