Residents of May Apple Way suggested that their lack of appearances at previous meetings was a direct result of improper notification by the town. They said the town should have sent individual mailings to property owners near the proposed development.
The only entity to receive notification of the project was the homeowners association, which owns a 20-foot strip of property behind the May Apple Way houses, adjacent to the proposed project's property. Fenton said that notification was "vague and offered no reasonable de-scription" of the proposed project other than to identify it as occurring on Route 9. She said no indication was given that the project would be coming back as far as it is.
Andy LaMothe, president of the Fox Wander West Home Owners Association, acknowledged several problems with the notification process. While the association does own the strip of land that serves as a buffer between the homeowners and the project site, all town mailings are sent to a management company, which then passes them on to an association board member.
Heather Mallozzi, building and planning coordinator for the town, reiterated that the town follows state law, which requires putting a notice in the town's newspapers, The Schenectady Gazette and The Ballston Journal, and town code, which requires notifying all adjacent landowners.
"We're assuming that the homeowners association is doing our job and notifying residents," said Supervisor Paul Sausville at last week's meeting. "What we're doing is certainly good, but can we do better?"
"Those are our people, our customers, our residents. We should do whatever is practical and reasonable so that they are aware of what's going on in their neighborhood," said Sausville.
The town board passed a resolution at Monday night's meeting which changes the neighbor notification law. While the town will continue to post notices in the newspapers and send out registered mailings to adjacent property owners, the planning department will also be required to use "its best efforts to notify land-owners and/or residents of parcels of real property within 500 feet of the boundary of a proposed subdivision or planned development district prior to public hearings with respect to such projects, when notice is otherwise required to be given to adjacent landowners." Mallozzi suggested that notification would be in the form of a postcard.
The Ellsworth Commons project continues to work its way through the planning process. The planning board will hold a public hearing at 8:15 p.m. at town hall during their next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27. ""