Public Hearing – Nov. 6, 2014 – Subchapter 140 (Zoning)

A Public Hearing was held on November 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm at the Town Hall





Supervisor Chipman                Councilwoman Chachkin        Councilman Drabkin

Councilwoman Fornino          Deputy Town Clerk Terwilliger-Rider

Attorney Christiana



Councilman Spano                  Town Clerk Gundberg


Supervisor Chipman opened the Public Hearing on Amendments to Chapter 140( zoning).




Julie Harris spoke and submitted for the record; in connection with its clarification of accepted uses for each zoning category, the Town of Rochester Zoning Board establish that equestrian facilities be allowed as a use in R2 zoning.


A request for this clarification because my business partner and I have been combing Ulster County for the past 6 months seeking an appropriate property on which to establish an educational equestrian center. We finally discovered a perfect parcel on Rte 44/55 with 31 acres; approximately half are open, the other half is wooded, it includes a lovely meadow with good soil and a beautiful view of the Catskill Mountains, as well as housing with an additional house on a separate lot next door, also for sale. The parcel is on a major state road with good traffic flow and accessibility.


This property was once a dairy farm. We are deeply disappointed when we found that it is zoned R2 and an equestrian facility would not be permitted on the property.


We proposed to build a traditional barn and indoor arena toward the middle of the property where it doesn’t interfere with the view, put large paddocks in the meadow with white vinyl fencing, and an outdoor riding ring where riders can enjoy the spectacular view a Rochester offers. We wish to create a facility that would be a gateway to Rochester that speaks to our agricultural heritage and offers a destination for tourists to visit on their trip to the Minnewaska area. We would open the equestrian center for tours on the weekends as well as offer riding lessons to the local community and to visiting tourists on an availability basis.


Our goal is to further Rochester’s aims of supporting agriculture and tourism in a viable, attractive and educational destination that will enhance the community and support the local equine industry as well. For the past 23 years, I have operated an equestrian school at barns I have leased in Rochester and surrounding area. This experience and the roots I have put down in the local community convince me that an equestrian center would be viable and a successful business on the parcel in question. Attached are pictures of the approach to the property from 44/55 and our vision of the approach as an equestrian facility. We hope the town will agree to add equestrian facilities as an approved use in an R2 zone so we are able to realize our vision for this property.

Thank you,

Julie Harris



Supervisor Chipman stated that the board was not comfortable allowing the equestrian facility in an R2 location. But the board believes that it should have been coded as an R5 in the first place and possibility changing that area to a R5 district. The Board would like to work towards making that a reality for Ms. Harris


Attorney Christiana said that it bounds a R5 district now so it wouldn’t be spot zoning. The map can be changed. Extending the zone is the most appropriate change.


Councilman Drabkin wanted to clarify that this particular case doesn’t qualify spot zoning because it is in accordance with the comprehensive plan.

Doug from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary asked the board to take a look at agri-tourism for definition of Animal Sanctuary. He felt the draft definition he came up with is broad.


Attorney Christiana spoke with Jerry Davis, CEO about this topic, Mr. Davis felt that it didn’t belong in the agri-tourism so he said it would be an allowed use if they had Town Board approval putting that in as agri-tourism. It is a grey area that Mr. Davis felt didn’t belong in that section of the code. But you can have multiple uses on this property location. The education fits in the agri-tourism but not general tourism.


Councilman Drabkin stated if we had a broader definition of Animal Sanctuary it makes it easier for others that may want to have an animal sanctuary and it doesn’t preclude agriculture tourism as part of an animal sanctuary.



John Dawson was not in attendance but submitted for the record concerns under article 2, 140-3 Mulch or Compost Processing Facility.


4000 square ft is not large enough, that is under one acre.

My biggest concern is combining mulch and compost under the same regulation; they are two completely different processes. Compost is done indoors or under a roof, mulch is done outside in the open air. Compost is a wide variety of mixtures of manure, food waste, and organic matter. Wood chips are simply chips of wood.

It is no longer legal to bury stumps and logs. The new process is using tub grinders and chippers, turning it into mulch by double grinding it.


When I read DEC regulations ( on-farm composting facilities) the DC regulations are pertaining to composting set forth in 6 NYCRR subpart 36 0-5. Section 360-5.3(a) exempts facilities that compost less than 3000 cubic yards of waste per year. That’s 166 truckloads, and less than a wheelbarrow load a day.

This would be an over regulation of mulch and could give you a situation not much different than the rainbow diner and asbestos. DEC regulations require it to be used on site not to be sold or removed from the premises. The DEC regulations are primarily set up for farm activities not contractors or towns doing tree removal or land clearing operations. Mulch should be allowed to be sold to people in the community.

The town’s proposed Regulation 140-37 Mulch or compost processing facilities

# 2: No part of the facility shall be located within 300 feet of a lot line. This is equivalent to 5 ½ acres just in setbacks required.

# 3: No storage pile shall exceed 15 feet in height or 30 feet in width, with the length of the win rows are not restricted.





A Motion was made by Councilman Drabkin to close the Public Hearing at 7:15pm.


Seconded by: Councilwoman Chachkin                                             4-0aye, motion carried


Respectfully submitted,



Loretta Terwilliger-Rider

Deputy Town Clerk