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Ogdensburg adjusts zoning laws to stay on top of county fees

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OGDENSBURG — In an effort to make the city’s municipal code easier to work with, the Ogdensburg City Council passed a law at its meeting this week that removed provisions stating the cost of St. Lawrence County Planning Board reviews.

The municipal code previously listed the fees the county charges for projects that take place in the city and have to be reviewed by the county Planning Board due to their proximity to other public entities’ service lines, properties and roads.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said Monday that having the fees specifically listed in the municipal code was problematic because whenever the county changed its prices, the city would have to go through a time-consuming process to revise its code. The process included a public hearing, a City Council meeting and then a 10-day waiting period during which the city would be responsible for paying the difference between the listed price and the county rates, Mr. Pinkerton said.

“We could go a month and we would have to eat the new difference,” he said.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said the city wasn’t always given warning about changes in the prices.

The new law removes the county prices from the municipal code, instead saying only that people who require county review will be subject to county fees.

“It’s really a way to cover ourselves so that we’re not filling that gap,” Ms. Smith said. “Administratively it makes more sense and financially it makes more sense.”

Projects require county review if they are within 500 feet of a county, village or town border, a state or county park, a state or county road, a county stream, a farm in an agricultural district or a public facility owned by the state or county.

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