The town of New Scotland is one small step closer to the process of passing a law that would allow the building of senior housing developments.
Currently, there is no senior housing within the historically rural town due to underdeveloped zoning laws that do not allow the building of a senior housing project, a longstanding issue the town first began addressing in 1994 in its comprehensive plan. Development pressures have brought the issue to the forefront. \It's something we've been looking at for quite some time, but wanted to do as comprehensively as possible, said town board member Richard Reilly, who said a goal of the town is to keep New Scotland as vibrant and affordable as possible.
"We would lose that if our seniors are forced to move out of the community," he said.
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, the town held its second public hearing on the issue, and while many residents spoke in favor of having senior housing built, the planning board will continue to review the many comments from residents who believe the current proposal needs improvement.
"We want them to give us their expert analysis, so we can design as good of a law as we can," Reilly said of the planning board, adding that he thinks, overall, residents are happy the town is taking action.
"By and large people are glad to see the town is dealing with this," he said.
The history of the current proposal stems back to March 2004, when the town Supervisor Ed Clark presented diagrams of a senior living community proposed by developer Charlie Carrow to be built on an 8-acre commercial lot adjacent to Route 85 in New Scotland.
The project consisted of two phases, the first a medical arts building and the second, senior housing.
After months of review, in August 2005, the board approved a building permit for the project, which, according to Reilly, it deemed an "excellent proposal."