It most unfortunate if Hitmans were forced to leave Knox before the will of its citizens were determined

To the Editor:

Hitmans Roadside Service, a thriving Knox business owned by Kristen Reynders, has been cited for operating illegally in the town of Knox, and she is scheduled to appear in town court in March.

The ticket was issued while Ms. Reynders was in the process of seeking a way to satisfy the requirements of the town's zoning ordinance and continue the company's operations legally, and to that end she had appeared three times before the town’s planning board and once before the town’s zoning board of appeals.

Readers of The Enterprise doubtless know many of the details of this story, so they shall not be repeated here.  However, it is worthwhile to note that Ms. Reynders’s current plight illuminates significant deficiencies in the zoning laws of Knox and points to major obstacles to the town's potential for sensible and controlled growth, without which its current problems and deficiencies can only become more serious.

The town is currently preparing a townwide survey to assess its citizens' thoughts and wishes concerning its future, including the question of the establishment of business and/or mixed-use districts in Knox, which would provide enterprises such as Hitmans the space and opportunity to become integrated into the community and provide much-needed local employment and support for the local tax base.

It would be most unfortunate if Ms. Reynders’s company were forced to leave the town before the will of its citizens were determined and town laws were updated, especially if the updated ordinances would then permit such businesses as Hitmans to succeed in Knox.

A petition has been drafted requesting the Knox Town Board to address this issue, and it suggests several potential changes to the zoning ordinance that might enable Hitmans to secure legal status to operate in the town.

Any Knox resident who wishes to read the petition and sign it can find copies available at Helderberg True Value in East Berne and at the Township Tavern in Knox.  The petition forms are to be presented to the town board at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 11, and supporters of Hitmans hope that many signatures will demonstrate that there is broad support among townspeople for Hitmans' continued presence here, and more generally for the sensible integration of businesses into a once-more thriving community.

Finally, the town board has turned to the planning board for its recommendations regarding Hitmans prior to entertaining any action to amend the zoning ordinance. The planning board's Feb. 13 meeting was canceled due to bad weather, but it will meet on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m.  May I suggest that, in the true spirit of democracy, all supporters of Ms. Reynders and Hitmans attend the meeting prepared with informed, reasoned, and dispassionate arguments in favor of the town board's positive action to secure a fair resolution to this issue.

Raymond Hand

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