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BALLSTON: Judge delays Wal-Mart decision

Six months after the town council turned down a bid to build a Wal-Mart Super Center in the town of Ballston, property owners of the proposed site were in Saratoga County Court Friday morning, Feb. 2, looking to have that decision nullified.

In their third set of legal papers filed against the town of Ballston, Frank and Rose Marie Rossi of Ballston Spa challenged the town's zoning changes, attesting that their usage for the land was approved before the zoning laws were changed.

However, Saratoga County Supreme Court Judge Frank Williams did not rule on the petition Friday. The legality of the zoning practices was overshadowed by the re-surfacing of a contentious issue last September between town council members and their political opponents.

In September, allegations of illegal and secretive town board meetings arose, questioning two meetings in May 2006. Members of the public, including the Rossis and their daughter, Gina Marozzi, alleged the meetings violated New York State Open Meetings Laws. The laws require elected officials to notify the public in advance of any meetings of elected officials, and also to post minutes after meetings are held.

Williams ruled at that time that the meetings did not break state regulations. Friday, however, it was revealed that Williams had received a page from the day planner of newly elected town council member Mary Beth Hynes, in which the words secret meeting were allegedly written on one of the days in question for the council's unpublicized meetings.

The source of the mailing to Williams remains unknown. Williams will now review all the information presented, and make his decisions known within the next two weeks.

Hynes said she had no idea where the journal page would have come from, or why it would have been presented at this juncture. "It's a non-issue," Hynes said Friday afternoon. "Judge Williams has already ruled the meetings were completely legal. It's troubling that this would come up at this time, since it has already been settled."

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