Gridlock stalls ZBA meeting

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council and mayor’s political gridlock over the Zoning Board of Appeals has officially delayed potential action by the board.

Due to the inability to establish a quorum, the three sitting members of the board were unable to have an official meeting Wednesday night.

The three members on the Zoning Board said they are concerned the lack of adequate members may present more problems in the future.

On Wednesday only two of the members of the board were able to make the meeting, which didn’t allow them to schedule a public hearing on plans for a sign at the Gloversville True Value Hardware store.

Board member Jeffrey Ashe said the steady reduction of zoning board members over the years has been a concern for him and other members.

“It’s always been a concern,” Ashe said. “Originally it was a seven member board, then it became a concern with the five member board and right now we are short staffed which is a concern. It introduces delay to the process.”

“It’s a big concern of mine,” fellow board member Patricia Van Slyke said. “If for some reason one of us cannot make it then we have to reschedule the meeting and go through the whole process again, which is really a pain. I have been planning to write a letter to the editor (about) the Common Council because this is crazy. It’s a political thing that doesn’t make any sense.”

She said the inaction by the mayor and council is preventing the city from moving forward with zoning board projects.

Zoning Board member Gerard Heckler was unable to make Wednesday’s meeting due to a personal issue, and he said the lack of members makes it difficult to have progress when unexpected matters prevent a member from attending a meeting.

“I think it’s a little impractical to just have three members,” he said. “Last night I unfortunately had a personal matter to deal with, so I was unable to be there. We need at least one more member.”

At the organizational meeting on New Year’s Day, Mayor Dayton King had planned not to reappoint zoning board Chairwoman Karen Smith, who has been a volunteer on the board for years.

However, 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski said he would not consider voting in favor of another person for the board until Smith was reappointed, which was supported by other members of the council.

The appointments to the board are made by the mayor, but they need to be approved by the council.

During the council meeting Jan. 14, King attempted to reappoint David Strausser to the zoning board, but the majority of the council voted down the appointment.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a five-member board, usually with one alternate.

However, with the current gridlock over who will fill the vacant positions, it currently has only three members, which is just enough for a quorum.

King said he has been speaking with members of the council and believes the issue can be resolved by appointing one or two members by the end of the month.

“It’s a concern and I think it’s going to end,” the mayor said. “We have been having some meaningful discussion [recently] and while I don’t want to get into the specifics of it, I believe we might be able to appoint one or two people to that board at the meeting at the end of the month.”