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Martin Street plan returns

A 12-year-old development quagmire, once thought a dead issue, has again arisen for residents of Bingham and Martin streets.

Kenmar Development purchased a plot of land near Martin Street in 1994, as part of the same transaction that brought them the stretch of land on East Avenue that now accommodates three duplexes. There is currently no road running to the plot, which is approximately 250 feet by 100 feet, and the land drops sharply from the road frontage. Untouched for more than a dozen years, there are now plans to build a single duplex on the corner lot.

This has been a dead issue. Now they're painting lines across my lawn, said Martin Street resident Ray Nichols to the City Council at its Aug. 1 meeting. Some residents are advocating the purchase of the land by the city to stop future development.

Nichols said the wooded plot should be preserved, as it gives residents a country feel in the heart of the city.

Resident Carol Saunders agrees. "We have deer, rabbits, all types of wildlife there," she said of the plot that sits less than a quarter-mile from County Route 9.

Nichols also said it was once a clay bank for the Saratoga Raceway, and between the soil condition and the slope of the land, he doesn't understand why anyone would want to build there. "You couldn't put a tent on the amount of space you could build on there," he said.

He also wondered when the duplex, if built, would be occupied. "Maybe in August because of the track, if you're lucky, but what happens in September?" he asked.

Saunders said when she called the city two weeks ago, Mayor Valerie Keehn said she knew nothing about the development. When Saunders again asked about the development at the Aug.1 City Council meeting, Keehn said she spoke with planning board Chairman Lew Benton regarding the petition and would have him call Saunders.

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