Blog Master G

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I Made the Saratogian Front Page

Saturday, January 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

On Thursday, January 3, 2008 I made the front page of the Saratogian (whose Web site sucks so much it’s not even loading for me right now). The story wasn’t really about me, but it’s no less cool to see my name right on the front page in the top story — barely:

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The full sentence, including after the jump on page 8A, reads:

With Gabe A_nderson’s term on the Zoning Board of Appeals over as of Dec. 31, Johnson appointed Mary Annne Mecica to fill his seat.

That’s right: I’m big news here in Saratoga Springs. You see, I spent most of last year as one of seven members on the mayoral-appointed, quasi-judicial Saratoga Springs Zoning Board of Appeals. It was a really interesting experience and I learned more than I ever thought I’d know about zoning code, setbacks, area and use variances. As I wrote to my fellow Steeplechasers on November 28, 2007 when asking if anyone might be interested in filling my seat:

The ZBA has a very direct and real impact on shaping the future of development and neighborhoods in our beautiful city, and being a member of the quasi-judicial, volunteer board is an amazing learning experience. You needn’t have any previous knowledge of zoning code — only a desire to learn and a commitment to our city.

There are 7 members on the ZBA and 2 of us will be leaving at the end of the year (there’s been talk among newly-elected council officials to reduce land use boards to only 5 members, but as of now that’s not the case). My fellow board member Matt Veitch won a seat as a county supervisor, and the term I was appointed to fill ends this year.

As much as I’ve enjoyed some aspects of the ZBA — I now know more about zoning code than I ever thought possible, along with neighborhoods in Saratoga I never knew existed, and have gotten to know a committed and passionate group of people — overall it’s not a good fit for me (it’s a big time commitment about twice a month with a lot of meetings and a lot of paperwork), so I’m not seeking reappointment (a full term is 7 years, though people often step down short of that for one reason or another).

It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it, but it just wasn’t for me for the long-term. There was a lot of paperwork, bureaucracy, and many a long meetings, not to mention entire Sundays dedicated to viewing properties and reading applications.

I even got a letter when I was originally appointed and a certificate of appreciation at my last meeting from now-former Mayor Val Keehn, and had my name on city letterhead (here’s a sample Word doc agenda from last year). So that was pretty cool.

The last time I made the front page of a newspaper was on November 23, 1998, when I wrote this front-page story as a college intern for the business section of The Poughkeepsie Journal:

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(That scan is light blue because I have the original plate that was used in the printing press to print the front page that day; it’s pretty cool.)

And lest we forget the time Jen’s photo was on the front page of the Post Star in November 2005.

Tags: saratoga springs

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 renĂ©e // Jan 6, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    you guys are awesome!

  • 2 Matthew Veitch // Jan 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Gabe-

    It was great working with you on the board. Your thoughtfulness with your motions and dedication to our community is much appreciated. Good luck and keep in touch! I’ll keep reading your great blog!

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