Hartford amends subdivision law

B y Jaime Thomas

The Hartford Town Board amended its subdivision law and landfill law at a meeting May 14.

Before, contiguous pieces of land that were centrally deeded were considered to be one property. The owner would have to go through subdivision processes and fees in order to sell one plot. But if the plots were not adjacent, the law allowed them as separate pieces of property.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Town Supervisor Dana Haff said last week. He and several board members spoke up last month in favor of changing the wording.

“It’s a detriment to your individual property rights. Why should you have to go to your governing body, jump through hoops and pay fees to sell a piece of property you have the deed for,” Haff said in April. In response, John Holmes, a member of the town planning board, asked the board to hold off on their decision.

“It’s a very easy process to come before the planning board. I’m simply asking tonight to wait on a decision until the planning board has a chance to discuss this,” Holmes said in April.

During this month’s public hearing about the issue, Haff said Ronald Combs, another planning board member, again requested the town wait to take any action on the subdivision law.

However, the board did vote to alter the definition of parcel and subdivision. A property owner is now subdividing only if breaking up a single plot of land, rather than several adjacent plots.

Additionally, property owners in Hartford will no longer be allowed to create landlocked parcels; all parcels must have road frontage. Haff said this will take effect going forward, but if such a situation already exists, the owner will not be penalized.

As for the landfill law, Haff said there was a section in the old law that said if people intentionally violate the law, they would be held accountable. During the meeting, the town board voted to take out the word ‘intentionally,’ so those who own a dump or landfill are responsible to know and follow proper procedure.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Haff said.

During the meeting he also told the board that this year’s Washington County dairy princess is Allison Parrott, an eleventh-grader from Hartford.

“We’ve had the dairy princess come from Hartford for four out of the last five years; that’s something we’re proud about,” he said.

Haff also announced that the e-waste collection the town organized during townwide cleanup day last month garnered nearly 5 tons of electronic refuse. The 9,600 pounds of old televisions, computers, monitors and more was in two piles that were 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 40 feet long.

The youth commission now has a vacancy, as Chris Thorpe, who was an alternate, will no longer serve. The next board meeting will be held on June 11 at 7 p.m.

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