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Planners look at open space

At Tuesday's planning board meeting, four of the seven agenda items scheduled were related to the Luther Forest Technology Campus (LFTC). Two public hearings were held related to subdivisions of property and a land swap between the Luther Forest Technology Campus and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. The planning board approved both subdivision applications and the land swap with minimal input from the public.

The fourth item on the agenda, 11 amendments to the original LFTC Planned Development District No. 46, took substantially more time to go through and garnered more public comment, despite the fact that the item was not a public hearing.

Malta's planning board heard a presentation from represent-atives of LFTC. Mike Ingersoll, of the LA Group, John Munsey, of C.T. Male, and John Lemery, an attorney for the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Corporation, spoke to the board about the reasons behind 10 of the 11 proposed amendments to the planned development district. Lemery was allowed to withdraw an amendment related to the Round Lake Bypass and the Route 9 gateway. In the midst of discussion related to an amendment related to a town-accepted recreational master plan, he asked to withdraw that amendment as well.

The planning board was reviewing the proposed amendments to offer comments or conditions for the town board to consider when it reviews the proposal.

The board spent much of its two-hour review discussing issues related to open space and recreation. LFTC wanted to change the method in which open space and recreation fees are calculated to use only occupied building space as opposed to the traditional town method of using total square footage to determine the fees.

Acknowledging that in some of the large buildings only about one-third of the building may be occupied, Munsey suggested that lengthy negotiations between LFTC and the town concluded with calculating based only on occupied space. Several board members were uncomfortable in offering a definition without being clear on the intent of the town board but all agreed to not approve that amendment.

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