Councilors to review zoning changes at Griffiss Park

Mac Bullock
Staff writer
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Posted 3/25/19

The Common Council will review proposed changes to the city’s code, including tweaks to zoning at Griffiss, in its meeting this week. The seven-member body meets 7 p.m. Wednesday in the council …

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Councilors to review zoning changes at Griffiss Park

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The Common Council will review proposed changes to the city’s code, including tweaks to zoning at Griffiss, in its meeting this week.

The seven-member body meets 7 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 198 N. Washington St.

Under proposed changes, the present “High Technology Corporate Development Sub-district” on Griffiss, just southeast of Rome Free Academy across Wright Drive, will be rezoned as the “Skyline Gateway” sub-district.

New codes, if adopted, will expand the zone and will pivot from a high-tech manufacturing focus to allow “flexibility of development,” according to the legislation.

New permitted uses in the zone would include freight terminals, healthcare facilities, and warehouses.

Also under review are new codes guiding the use of outdoor storage containers and tractor trailers.

The storage container codes would allow the use of such containers anywhere in the city without a permit, if being used for “loading and unloading” and if removed within 14 days. For any period longer than two weeks, Zoning Board of Appeals permission will be needed.

The containers cannot be stacked, cannot be used for habitation, and must be placed on paved surfaces under the new codes.

Further changes prohibit the use of tractor trailers as permanent storage, and limits temporary on-site storage of tractor trailers in Commercial District lots at five days.

Trucks being temporarily stored under that provision must be on a paved surface and must be 20 feet “from any lot line.”

Councilors are not expected to vote on the changes this week, but instead to refer the new codes to the Planning Board for review. The body will also schedule a public hearing on the changes to be held before a final vote.

The council will vote on a $294,000 bonding measure, as well.

The funding will go replace two six-wheel dump trucks, from 2002 and 2003, and one “mini-dump” truck from 2003, at the Department of Public Work’s water shop. Councilors approved the purchases last fall as part of the city’s 2019 capital spending plan.

Also on the agenda is a new sexual harassment policy for city employees, per a state requirement for employers made official last year.

The new policy “formalize(s) the complaint and investigation procedure,” and lists “legal protections and external remedies” available to city workers. The existing policy, adopted in 1994 and modified for the last time in 2000, defines sexual harassment without giving specific guidelines for accountability.

Also before the council on Wednesday night:

A resolution affirming that the bonding measure will not have a “significant effect on the environment.”

A resolution authorizing city Purchasing Agent Zach Cortese to attend a conference in Albany ($100 plus mileage and tolls).

A resolution designating the council as the lead agency on an environmental review of the codes changes, per state law.

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