COLONIE: Land-use plan in final stages

It was democracy in action at last week's Thursday, Dec. 7, town board meeting, as town officials made good on a promise to answer land-use questions brought up at an earlier public hearing.

Last month, Colonie town residents objected to the format of the hearing on proposed changes to townwide land use and zoning regulations, which left many of their immediate questions unanswered. Residents were only allowed to make comments, which the board promised to address later for the record.

Town officials addressed those concerns at last week's meeting, handing out an informational packet with more than 25 pages of answers to the dozens of questions brought up at the Nov. 16 meeting.

In addition to providing the general information, town officials put the word out that questions about specific parcels could be addressed to officials in person, via e-mail or over the phone. Many residents took the town up on its offer.

Supervisor Mary Brizzell apologized for the original format of the public hearing and encour-aged more public participation and comments in meetings to come. She said public remarks made in the past month are solely responsible for dozens of modifications to the plan.

They have also led to a meeting between town officials and homeowners adjacent to properties off Omega Terrace and Forts Ferry Road.

I look forward to being part of that discussion, said Albany County Legislator Timothy Nichols, D-Latham. Nichols said he received inquiries from a number of residents in the area who are unhappy about the plan to rezone the area from residential to office residential, a mixed business and residential zone.

A representative for an area landowner who is pleased with the office residential designation said making last-minute changes to the plan would be counterproductive to the years of public comment that formulated the town's compre-hensive plan and set the groundwork for the proposed changes to town zoning and land-use ordinances.

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