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Hastings Proposes Changes to Steep Slopes Laws

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The Steep Slopes law is something that affects all Hastings residents living on a hill or raised property if they hope to do some work on their home.

Modifications to the Steep Slopes law were proposed at Tuesday's board of trustees meeting and public hearings will be held on the potential changes at the next meeting on Dec. 6.

“What it does is it gives the building inspector the discretion where if he doesn’t believe it has an adverse impact on surrounding properties, they don’t even have to deal” with the Steep Slopes law, said Hastings village manager Francis Frobel.  “That’s the whole advantage.”

Rather than having residents’ applications be approved by the planning board and in some cases the zoning board, the modifications to the law would speed up the process for home modifications.

“Right now if there’s any part of your property that’s under the steep slopes definition, you have to go through this whole process,” Frobel said.

Frobel cited an example of a resident wanting to build a deck in his or her front yard, but having to apply for permits because of a slight slope in the backyard.

Village attorney Marianne Stecich said she doesn’t think the modifications are at all controversial.  “It’s more precise in the definition of slope, it doesn’t change anything,” she said.

The new modifications would also eliminate the need for the planning board to approve a site plan. “You allow the staff to expedite the application for very minor modifications to their property,” Frobel said.

Hastings mayor Peter Swiderski said it was a way of clarifying and simplifying things for residents. “This law is a burden on people who should not be affected,” Swiderski said.  “It makes sense to me.  We’re just cleaning up the law.”

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