OSWEGO – At this week’s Administrative Services Committee, Mayor Billy Barlow requested permission to enter into an agreement and authorize funding the Wladis Law Firm to administer the SEQR process associated with the comprehensive zoning code re-write.
The firm performed the re-write of the zoning code and is best situated to administer the SEQR during the public discussion and finalization process later this month, the mayor explained.
The billing rate would be $275 per hour, not to exceed $15,000 total.
Kevin Caraccioli, City Attorney, recommended a favorable vote from the committee.
“As far as the adoption of new zoning, New York State law requires that the municipality adopting the new zoning regulation must comply with the State Environmental Quality Review act,” he said. “This is a Type 1 action – the highest level of environmental review. It is important that this process be followed correctly … It’s our zoning regulations and if in the past couple of years you’ve experienced any type of legal action, one of the challenges the city could face is whether they followed SEQR.”
If zoning didn’t follow SEQR, then the whole zoning process could be thrown out, he cautioned.
Someone could challenge the city over a zoning issue and if the city didn’t follow SEQR, they’d have a problem defending the lawsuit, he told the committee.
“I think it is a good use of the city’s resources to hire the firm that has been working on our zoning to complete this process,” he said.
Council President Rob Corradino agreed with the city attorney.
It’s a complicated process and the city needs to be sure all the I’s were dotted and the T’s crossed, he said.
The full council will consider the resolution at its January 14 meeting.