Canton zoning plan would hurt businesses
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 2:45 pm

To the Editors:

It was with surprise and amusement that I read an article by Ms. Mende in the Watertown Times about the advocates of the Town of Canton’s rezoning plan. 

There may be as many as a half dozen people in the Town of Canton advocating the aggressive move to re-zone a substantial  number of miles and acres of Canton Town roads to residential.  

However, they all seem to be on the Town of Canton Boards, zoning and legislative who dreamed up the idea.  No one yet has spoken in favor of the notion save for Mike Morgan, the Planning Board Chairman and Canton Town Supervisor David Button. 

Dozens of people attended the Zoning Board meeting on Tuesday and spoke loudly and clearly in opposition to the rezoning plan.  There were no developers at the meeting beating down the town doors and barking for acreage to develop.

At this time there are at least 65 houses in the Town and Village of Canton for sale.  It takes on average a year or more to sell a house in Canton these days.   Where is the big illusionary demand coming from?  There are, however, people moving to the area for its rural charms, affordable land and homes.

In the article, Mr. Button mentions the Canton Community Action Plan.  Said plan was a Village initiative and was not welcomed by nor participated in by the Town of Canton.  

The “growth mode’ mentioned is illusionary at best.  I am fairly certain Canton has not broken free of the economic hardships facing the housing industry.  No one is building speculative housing in Canton, Town or Village.

As to the erroneous statement by Mr. Morgan that “existing property owners would be grandfathered in so they would not be subject to the restrictions” (by residential zoning) I can only say “baloney.”  In fact, the grandfathered status only applies to continuous and non-expanded operations. 

The owners of farms and businesses in the new Residential zones would never be permitted to expand their businesses, nor do anything to maintain and promote the survival of the businesses.  That is the law. Read “die on the vine.”

Nor would owner of be permitted to so much as sell a vegetable or egg at a roadside stand,  or open a home business or industry of any kind without first asking permission and gaining special status, which could be denied by the Town government

Town of Canton would expand the width of existing Residential road zones to a uniform 1,000 feet and require a subdivision plan and survey for the sale of so much as one building lot.  If the land were on a State or County road additional permits and red tape would be required. 

There is a Canton town Board meeting at 4 p.m. May 14 in Canton’s municipal building.  Seems like an inconvenient time for everyone but public employees and school teachers, 

I encourage all concerned citizens to attend and let the folks in government know how you feel about additional restrictions and eventual higher taxes on your private real estate. 

All across America, local governments are trying to make is easier for local folks to grow food, promote sustainable agriculture, grow small businesses and survive economically.  Why is it not so here in Canton?

For some reason, we always seem to be looking at the past and not the future

Elia Filippi, Richville