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New Planning Board Members in Amenia

by Antonia Shoumatoff
Mon Nov 16th, 2015

November 16, 2015 - David Rosenberg, a former member of the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), was appointed to the Amenia Planning Board by the Town Board last week.  Rosenberg replaces Nathan Roy whose term would have run through 2018. Roy resigned because his work in New Mexico made it impossible for him to attend meetings.

Matt Deister, whose family has roots in the area, was also recently appointed to the planning board to replace Bill Kroeger who has moved to Montana. Deister has not returned calls from the Millbrook Independent asking for an interview.  His grandfather, Gus Deister, was the former postmaster in Wassaic and his father, Peter Deister, owns a carboard manufacturing concern.

Both Kroeger and Roy were considered to be the most thoughtful members of the board, asking questions that other members avoided.

Mr. Rosenberg served on the ZBA under Rudi Eschbach and Leo Blackman.   He built a house here in 1992 on Clark Hill Road and has now retired and moved up here full time from New York City.  He has a background in academia - he taught anthropology at Hunter College.  He then switched to a career in stage management for Broadway shows, acquiring a business that manufactures curtains and rigging.  He has come back to Amenia with the intention of serving the town.  

“I was interested in public service and I believe that being on the planning board requires serious thought and intelligence.  I hope to bring an open mind to the applications that come before the planning board.  The town needs to grow in an organized and planned fashioned.  You have to be careful not to jump. There are unintended consequences of jumping to approve an application too quickly.”

Former ZBA Chair Leo Blackman said of Rosenberg: “He took the job very seriously.  He read the sections of the code, was very intelligent and was a real contributor to the board.”

Mr. Blackman said that he believes there should be checks and balances between the ZBA and the planning board. He said he was surprised that the planning board passed 81 variances for the building of residences on the Silo Ridge property without asking the ZBA for their opinion.  

“It sets a terrible precedent for applicants for the approval of a single family house when we make exceptions for residences on a big development.  When the master plan was passed the planning board took on more and more zoning responsibilities which had formerly been conducted by the ZBA.”