Fraser OKs amendment to relieve housing issues

A new amendment to the town of Fraser’s municipal zoning codes was approved at the town board’s regular meeting Wednesday night, meant to help address housing issues, which is a glaring need in the town.

The amendment will essentially reduce dimensional standards for setbacks, minimum area of buildings and allow for smaller lot size and width. By reducing the minimum standards for space the town is hoping that more dense development will allow for more reasonable construction of housing within the area.

These new standards will be offered exclusively as a conditional use permit, meaning the town will be able to pick and choose where the new standards make sense, and the permit will require a notice in the paper preceding a public hearing on the project.

The amendment was met with some modest resistance from Fraser residents who believed that the potential impacts of the new zoning regulations have not been thoroughly considered.

Dissenting individuals complained that the amendment runs the risk of alienating locals to pacify out-of-towners and overnight visitors.

“I want to make sure this is being done for the right reasons, for the locals,” said one government employee who attended the meeting. “I don’t want to end up living next to three small AirBnBs.”

Some residents also told the board that there wasn’t necessarily a nexus between smaller lot sizes and improved housing. The fear is that unintended consequences of the amendment may diminish property values in the area and exasperate the long term living housing crisis in Fraser.

The amendment was approved, however, with six yes votes, while Mayor Pro-Tem Eileen Waldow abstained.

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