MALTA: Boss down on downtown

Sausville suggested that the mixed-use components of Ellsworth Commons and Park Place are unnecessary. Both projects allow residential and commercial use on the same parcel. Sausville said these projects are creating more apartments than the town needs and contribute to an urban design inappropriate for the town. Sausville said the town's two mobile home parks, Malta Gardens, and Northway Eleven Communities, plus Steeplechase, already meet that need. He said bringing in more people will contribute to traffic congestion, and the size and proposed uses of the buildings will require improvements or investments in emergency services, meaning tax increases.

Mallozzi said the town master plan calls for new places to live and work within the town, and said Steeplechase has a waiting list. She said that the impact on traffic and emergency services was considered when the town completed its generic environmental impact statement.

"This is smart growth, pedestrian-friendly and new urbanism design," Mallozzi said. "It is the wave of the future."

As for not looking like Saratoga Springs, Mallozzi agreed that Malta should retain its own identity, but said the town looked to Saratoga Springs as an example, borrowing from their design standards and hiring the same consultant, Bailliere Consulting, to assist in guiding the town through the master plan process.

"The process involved many people over many months during the moratorium," said planning board chairman the Rev. Peter Klotz. The Town of Malta enacted a yearlong moratorium, ending in September 2005, while it completed its master plan update, townwide GEIS and Downtown Design Standards.

"It is a process but not a process that has an ending," said Sausville. "It has to be ongoing."

Suggesting that the Downtown Design Standards need some fine-tuning and tweaking, Sausville believes the best way to do that may be by instituting a moratorium on building within the downtown district. This is an idea that he has brought out for discussions at recent town board meetings and was not well received by the other members on the board.

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