Although the Malta Town Board encouraged the Saratoga Medical Park at Malta Planned Development District to move forward several weeks ago, some members of the planning board raised concerns that the project was not consistent with the area and the town's vision for growth before ultimately recommending the development.
The planning board heard the same presentation that attorney Matt Jones, who represents Saratoga Care, gave to the town board just a few weeks ago. At that time, the town board voted unanimously for the project to continue and asked the planning board for its recommendation.
The approximately 140-acre project is slated to be built off Route 67 on one section of the property commonly known as the horse farm. Jones presented a plan that includes "eight different and distinct zones." The proposal, created by engineers from the LA Group, offers Saratoga Cares "best vision at the present time" for a project that may not ever fully develop and could take as long as 25 years to reach full build out.
"Our vision for the property we think is shared very closely with the comprehensive plan," said Jones.
Several planning board members disagreed.
Planning board member Jean Lowenstein was absent but provided a written statement read by chairman Peter Klotz. In it, Lowenstein said that although the project might be consistent with the State Farm Planned Development District on the other side of Route 67, it was not consistent with other uses along Route 67.
She added that the recreational aspect of Saratoga Care's plan was not open enough for the public and expressed concern that the proposal calls for retail use within the project, despite the town's desire to have retail geared toward Malta's downtown area.
Her concerns about the retail aspect were echoed by other board members.
While Jones noted that "general retail" was not the intended use for the area, he suggested that the use would include the sale of medical equipment or a pharmacy.