MALTA: Boss down on downtown

"There is no downside to a moratorium. It lets us catch our breath," said Sausville.

Mallozzi disagreed, noting that the town just ended a town-wide moratorium two years ago. She believes these projects coming in will give the town of Malta the economic base it needs.

Sausville also supports the town board "reassuming" some responsibility for bigger projects.

"I was a big advocate for giving that to the planning board but now I'm having second thoughts," he said.

Sausville believes that the town board would have more clout with the developers, have more time to resolve the issue, have more available resources and has a right to expend public money if needed. Sausville said the planning board is made up of volunteers who already have a lot of responsibilities.

Klotz said the planning board is more than capable of reviewing projects, large or small, that come before the town. While the planning board cannot spend public money, he says it has clout with the developers by being able to cite the established guidelines, standards, and zoning put into place by the town board -- things he says the town board does not necessarily have to take into account when considering a Planned Development District.

Additionally, the planning board dedicates significant amounts of time to the projects that come before it and often extends conversations with the developers over a number of months and even years.

Town engineers are at planning board meetings to provide guidance and advice. Additionally, New York State mandates four hours of annual training for planning board members.

Mallozzi suggested that all the boards should be better educated about the plans being adopted by the town both before and after their adoption. She suggested that being well versed in the planning documents will allow board members to move the town visions forward.

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