Pomeroy Award for Zoning Achievement: This award is presented to an individual, municipality or agency for consistent high-quality work and/or an outstanding contribution to zoning in New York State through the development of a specific zoning law or legal agreement.
This year’s Pomeroy Award goes to the Town of Richfield for its Amended Zoning Law. This is an excellent update of an outdated zoning law (adopted in 1992) and is based on and consistent with the Joint Town of Richfield/Village of Richfield Springs Comprehensive Plan adopted by both municipalities in 2018 (which was the recipient of the NYPF Comprehensive Plan Award in 2019). The 2019 Amended Zoning Law was prepared by a three-member Zoning Commission appointed by the Town Board with the assistance of the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA), which helped provide a regional perspective on the update. The new zoning law incorporates the goals and recommendations of the Joint Town/Village Comprehensive Plan, especially in the areas of agricultural protection and economic development, including principles of smart growth. The update relied heavily on the public participation process, which included numerous Zoning Commission meetings open to the public, several community presentations/workshops, joint meetings with the Planning Board, Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, and a public hearing. New zoning districts were developed to protect lake character and significant agricultural areas, encourage business development in appropriate areas allowing a mix of uses, and promoting stewardship of significant natural resources. The Amended Zoning Law also incorporates opportunities for renewable energy with specific regulations for solar and wind energy installations. The Amended Zoning Law was re-formatted with clear and easy to understand language and flow charts to illustrate the land use process. Congratulations to the Town of Richfield for bringing its old zoning law into the modern world consistent with the recently adopted Joint Comprehensive Plan and for completing the update in a relatively short time given the complexity of the project.