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MALTA: Boss down on downtown

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville has called on Malta residents to become more active in planning for the future of the town.

In a letter to the editor, published in several local newspapers but not The Malta Spotlight, he raised his personal concerns regarding what he called a misguided visionary idea of downtown Malta as another high-density urban population center.

Sausville also expressed his desire for a moratorium for downtown district.

"We need to fit within our skin," said Sausville in a recent interview. "The developers are coming in and defining our town. We should be defining our town."

The town's building and planning coordinator, Heather Mallozzi, contends that the town of Malta has already done this by drafting and adopting the Malta Downtown Design Standards. The planning update committee, of which Sausville was chairman, completed the Downtown Design Standards in June 2003.

Mallozzi was also on the committee as were several town board members, several planning board members and several town residents.

The Downtown Design Standards included 10 specific areas of focus, which the document said "are intended to provide consistency, to assist property owners, and the town in developing a coherent and attractive identity in the downtown area."

"The downtown standards provide a lot of flexibility," said Sausville. "We gave the planning board that flexibility. The town board has to take responsibility for giving that leeway and broad flexibility without further direction."

In commenting on the approved Ellsworth Commons, scheduled to begin construction later this summer, Sausville suggested that the height and appearance of the buildings as well as their uses were not what many town residents envision for the downtown area.

"We don't want to be Saratoga Springs or Ballston Spa," he said. Sausville said that while those places and other local municipalities may have planning designs that they are well known for, either positively or negatively, Malta has always had its own identity and he'd like to keep it that way.

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