Town of Cochecton Supervisor Responds: “Trying to Protect Our Residents”

In a phone conversation initiated by Breathing, Gary Maas, Town of Cochecton Supervisor, responded to an email from an official in the Town of Cochecton which was published this morning by Breathing.

According to Supervisor  Maas,  “The Town of Cochecton has no official position on gas drilling, either pro or con.  I really wish that if an official in the Town of Cochecton has objections or questions about  what the Town is doing, he or she would raise that with the Town before going public.  The Town’s position is to protect our people.  The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) is the group that controls drilling in all our towns.  We just want to make sure we’ve done what we can in the Town to keep compressors quiet,  make sure we’ve got protective setbacks and address whatever road issues we can.  During this zoning review process, we’re looking at a whole range of issues including  private cemeteries, windmills, cell towers.  Basically, we’re looking to update our zoning.”

When Breathing asked if  the contemplated zoning changes would permit drilling to occur in roughly 90% of the Town of Cochecton, Supervisor Maas said,  “The drilling companies could have drilled in those areas  before.  We cannot exempt drilling.”

Further,  Supervisor Maas assured  Breathing he will provide  clarifications of  the  zoning changes being reviewed by the Town.

As readers of Breathing are aware,  there are other legal opinions which suggest that Towns do have the right to exempt zoning in certain areas but are not permitted to control actual drilling operations.  Additionally,  changes are being considered by the NYS Assembly which would make those Town powers explicit. (NYS Assembly Bill  10633,  is a “Home Rule” bill which makes explicit the notion that  local governments  have and will have zoning control over where gas drilling occurs in their jurisdictions no matter what other  powers of jurisdiction a  State authority may  claim.)

With regard to the NYS Assembly’s initiative,  Supervisor Maas said,  “That would be really good if  that happens.”

Because the email received by Breathing this morning was written by a public official, was   widely distributed  both publicly and privately, was signed and carried this instruction, “Please pass the information along to all others you know who may be concerned,”  Breathing published it without obtaining other official opinions  of  its contents.   Many thanks to Ms. Seldin who contacted Mr. Maas and alerted Breathing that an alternate view of the zoning considerations was on offer.

That being said, it  appears that both Supervisor Maas  and the email writer agree, that as matters stand,  a large chunk of Cochecton is susceptible to drilling.

Breathing continues to welcome  on-the-record clarifications of the matter from Cochecton officials interested in keeping Cochecton residents informed as the zoning review moves forward and also will  consider editorial points of view which address Town  zoning prerogatives.

4 thoughts on “Town of Cochecton Supervisor Responds: “Trying to Protect Our Residents””

  1. I wonder if the proposed zoning changes in our town reflect a fear on the those who would drill. Restoring Home Rule presents a problem for the the pro-drilling contingent. Best to make changes that will have positive impacts on the drilling operations now so that it’s win/win regardless of whether HR is restored.

  2. “With regard to the NYS Assembly’s initiative, Supervisor Maas said, “That would be really good if that happens.”

    Please ask Mr Maas to propose a resolution of support, from the Board, for the legislation.

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