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Town Board Urged Not to Take Over Planning Duties

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - A proposal to have the Yorkown Town Board take approval over development of OB (Office Business) districts from the planning board was soundly denounced by residents last week.

Eighteen years ago, the town board transferred authority for the OB zone, of which there are only three in Yorktown, and other zones to the planning board. Now, the town board wants to have the final say again on "critical development parcels" because, as Supervisor Michael Grace explained, the town board is more accountable to the public as elected officials.

"It doesn't mean the planning board is out of the process," Grace said. "The planning board works very closely with the town board."

The planning board opposes the change since it said its members have more expertise in land use and are not politically influenced. Aaron Bock, who was supervisor in 1994 when authority was transferred to the planning board, agrees.

"We did it to better account for the public of what we were doing, to focus on the policies, not the technical work," Bock said. "We felt our time could have been better spent defining issues, not on the intricacies."

Paul Moskowitz compared transferring planning authority to the town board to sailing into a typhoon.

"This board does not know what it's getting into to even consider getting involved with commercial applications," Moskowitz said. "The planning board knows how to handle this. They're into the technical details."

The town board adjourned the hearing to a future meeting.

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