Brightwaters talks possible rezoning of Orinoco Drive

By RANDALL WASZYNSKI
Posted 11/14/19

Talks of possibly rezoning the area to business-residential emerge at board meeting

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Brightwaters talks possible rezoning of Orinoco Drive

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The Village of Brightwaters Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Nov. 4, included casual discussion to alter the landscape of Orinoco Drive. Although there is a share of commercial use, the rail-abutting road is riddled with industrial uses. 

A district that is currently zoned business-industrial, the discussion quickly routed to changing such zoning to business-residential. Village mayor John Valdini said he expects a public-input period to begin on the rezoning of the district in January, after the holidays.

Valdini pointed out that the village was established more than 100 years ago, contributing to the explanation of how the Orinoco corridor became an industrial center for the village.

“The initial planning of [Orinoco Drive several decades ago] was a bit loosy-goosy,” Valdini said, adding that there was a focus on industrial use during that time period. He also said that several businesses of such kind have been abusing the industrial zoning for a long time. “We are trying to get businesses out that are abusing and violating business codes.”

Valdini said that the push for more stringent parking limitations and standards in the village has eased concerns of roadside truck traffic and that there is still policy to be placed and enforcement to be administered in that regard.

The village planning board was actually first to suggest an overhaul on zoning of the Orinoco corridor, which the board of trustees has followed suit upon in terms of discussion. In terms of feedback from residents, the main line of complaint revolves around proximity to train tracks for various uses, including apartments and medical facilities.

No decisions have been made, as of yet, and a public comment period has been projected for January.

Tree preservation program

The village has also enacted a program that enforces the beautification of Brightwaters, particularly regarding tree removal. The premise of the program entails replacing a cut-down tree with a relatively reasonable replacement.

“We are not asking people to not cut down trees,” Valdini said, “but replace.”

A significant number of properties in Brightwaters feature several historic trees. Valdini said the village is known for its trees.

“We are starting to lose that,” he said, “[due to] nesters from outside not caring and just cutting everything.”

He said there will be a three-person committee moving forward when considering tree removal. The committee will be made up of one member of the planning board and board of trustees as well as the village building inspector. n

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