61 attend training

JOHNSTOWN — A total of 61 persons attended two land use training sessions hosted by Fulton and Montgomery counties’ planning boards Wednesday night at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

A news release issued by the Fulton County Planning Board said the sessions were for local planning board and zoning board of appeals members.

Topics for this year’s training sessions were “Hot Button Land Use Issues” and “Walkable Communities.” As in past years, training was conducted by staff from the state Office of Local Government Services.

The release indicated the training sessions were put together to give local board members an option for obtaining their state-mandated four hours on annual training.

The first session, “Hot Button Land Use Issues,” discussed how local governments aren’t able to regulate all uses the same way.

“Some uses have special statutory protection or rules established through case law and require special consideration such as religious, mining and telecommunication facilities,” the release said. “Some uses might be new to local officials attempting to regulate them, such as solar energy facilities, barn weddings and short-term rentals.”

The session offered an overview of some of the land uses that many local officials find challenging along with the statutory rules and case law associated with them and options for regulating them.

The second session, “Walkable Communities,” focused on the idea of increasing the availability and attractiveness of pedestrian facilities to help revitalize downtowns, provide an alternative means of transportation, and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

“The session provided an overview of several common municipal land use tools — zoning, site plan review, subdivision regulations and special use permit,” the release said. “The session then explored how these tools can be tailored to improve pedestrian conditions by the requirement of sidewalks, pathways and other pedestrian facilities, as well as through the encouragement of better site design.”

By Kerry Minor

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