‘The Town Without Zoning’ Elects a Pro-Zoning Town Government
Following a contentious three-year fight, it appears that those supporting the imposition of a zoning code in the currently unzoned, rural, upstate community of Caroline, New York, have secured enough elected offices to get zoning done.
Incumbent pro-zoning Town Supervisor Mark Witmer, a Democrat, defeated anti-zoning challenger Tonya VanCamp, running on the independent Connecting Caroline ticket, with 53 percent of the vote.
Pro-zoning incumbent Democrats Kate Kelley-Mackenzie, Tim Murray, and Michele Brown also won their races for the three town board seats for which elections were held, defeating anti-zoning candidates Meghan Slatoff-Burke, Kathryn Mix, and small business owner Shari Conover. Anti-zoning incumbent town board member Carl Snow was not up for reelection.
As Reason covered in a lengthy story back in March, Caroline’s fight over whether to adopt a zoning code began in early 2020, when the town board adopted a building moratorium in response to a proposed Dollar General development.
The moratorium successfully killed the Dollar General project. It also kicked off an intense debate about what would come next.
Slow-growth residents of the town (many of whom are current or retired faculty and staff from nearby Cornell University) argued that a comprehensive zoning code was necessary to stop future suburban sprawl from taking over the town.
On the other side were many of Caroline’s business owners and farmers,
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