Allow towing business to operate in Knox

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m., Bob Delaney, the town of Knox building inspector, served a ticket to the owners of  Hitmans Towing for operating a business illegally in a residential district. 

Currently, it is impossible for new businesses to locate in the town because, while 1974 zoning law contemplates business districts, none have been established in the town. The only businesses that are legal are those that pre-date the zoning regulation, those that meet the definition of a home business, and a few that have been given special-use permits.

Hitmans Towing is a business that employs several local people and provides a valuable service to the residents of the town and to the people of the Capital District. Everyone that I speak to who has used the service says the same thing: They are prompt, friendly, and reasonably priced.

Paradoxically, the town board is working on approving a business district in the hamlet of Knox where currently there are no businesses. 

At the last zoning board of appeals meeting, it was decided to hold a hearing to determine whether Hitmans could operate under a special-use permit.  Now it appears that the legal opinion of the town attorney is that a special-use permit cannot be issued.  As there seems to be some confusion about the town’s zoning law, it is critical that this legal opinion be put in writing.

I do not believe that this business at this location detracts from the rural character of the town.  The area is not environmentally sensitive, there are no scenic vistas, and the business is inoffensive.

If you drive by Hitmans, you would not even notice it. There is a house with a garage and no trucks are visible from the road.  The fact that Hitmans has operated in this location for several years unnoticed with no complaints further bolsters this argument.

While it may very well be that, under current town law, there is no way for Hitmans to be permitted to operate legally, it seems ironic to me that a town that purports to be in favor of business, should be trying to close this business rather than looking for a way to allow them to continue.

Article VII Section 70 of the town’s zoning law allows the town board to amend the zoning law.  The town board should amend the zoning regulations in such a way to allow Hitmans to continue to operate. That would be the “business friendly” and right thing to do.

I urge you to attend the next Town Board meeting on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Knox Town Hall and let them know your thoughts on this issue.

Anna Wolfe
Knox

Editor’s note: Although Anna Wolfe is the wife of Knox Planning Board member Tom Wolfe, she stresses that the views expressed in her letter are her own.