Town plans for sales of vacant church properties

08/04/2014 8:00 AM |
The town wants to create new zoning to protect churches and other historic properties. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The town wants to create new zoning to protect churches and other historic properties. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

As several church congregations in the area look to downsize and sell their properties, the town is moving forward with a plan to create a new zoning category that would allow religious and other historic buildings to be repurposed.

During their work session Tuesday, Town Board members discussed draft legislation that would call for the creation of a floating zone district. The zoning would grant specific parcels special exemptions for other uses that existing zoning may not allow.

The hope is to preserve the historic buildings while providing incentives for developers to purchase the properties, Supervisor Scott Russell said.

Some suggested town-approved adaptive re-uses include apartments, day care facilities and office space, planner Mark Terry said.

The floating zone could be applied to churches and properties such as schools or firehouses. To qualify, property owners would need to apply for landmark status from the town’s landmarks preservation committee. The zoning change would then need to be voted on by the board, according to the draft legislation. The proposal was sent to code committee for review.

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