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NISKAYUNA: Ingersoll vote nears

The town board has been listening to comments and concerns from residents for months, and all agree that some decision needs to be made for the developer and for the residents.

We need to get an answer for the developer, yes, but we need to get an answer for everyone. Either with the study or without we need to move forward, board member Diane O'Donnell said.

The board heard about an hour of comments from residents.

Elaine Willi, a Schenectady resident, said, "Listen to the majority of your town. The people who voted for you, who you represent. They are the taxpayers. I hope you are not playing your own Monopoly game with their tax dollars."

Lou Leece, the attorney for Highbridge Developments and a Niskayuna resident, said his client is going to buy the Ingersoll land regardless of what the town decides. Leece said once his client owns the land, he could demolish the house if he wished. Leece said his client has been working with the town and trying to accommodate the wishes of residents, by keeping the Ingersoll Home and possibly turning it into a restaurant.

The fate of the house is a concern to some members of the board, but Town Attorney Eric Dickson said a demolition permit shouldn't be granted while the property is still being reviewed under the SEQR process.

The planning board and the conservation advisory council have already given this project a positive declaration under SEQR.

"The Conservation Advisory Council did an excellent job raising significant issues with this project, but I believe the developer has acted responsibly and provided many reams of paper in response to that," Smith said.

Board members Maria Freund and O'Donnell only asked questions for clarification purposes.

Dickson said if the board decides to give this project a negative declaration, it needs to have specific reasons to do so, and if the board decides to vote for a positive declaration, it doesn't need a specific reason.

The board plans to vote on this issue Tuesday, March 13. The meeting might be at one of the schools to accommodate more people.""

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