New Scotland wrestles with growth

Plans to regulate growth in New Scotland's commercial zone were the subject of continued criticism from a potential developer, and a public hearing was set for another moratorium extension.

At the Wednesday, Dec. 17, Town Board meeting, New Scotland officials set a date for a public hearing to extend the commercial zone moratorium for another six months, while former Commercial Zone Advisory Committee chairwoman Roz Robinson issued a report suggesting a 125,000-square-foot size cap on retail development was appropriate. Active CZAC members Liz Kormos and Mike Naughton have recommended a 50,000-square-foot cap.

The Town Board set the public hearing for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at New Scotland Town Hall on Route 85. The current moratorium, which was an extension to the original six-month building ban, will expire March 1.

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said he expects the board to pass the extension when it comes up for vote.

Managing partner at Sphere Development LLC, Greg Widrick, said he is hopeful that the commercial zone issue is resolved quickly, but he said he wants to see it resolved properly. He said would rather the town consider a 125,000-square-foot building size cap size cap on retail developments as opposed to the 50,000 square feet recommended by Kormos and Naughton.

Sphere is the potential developer of the Bender farm, a key piece of property in the commercial zone.

Three CZAC members, Cindy Elliott, John Biscone and Robinson, resigned abruptly in late November amid concerns about a potential conflict of interest between Kormos and a potential buyer of the Bender melon farm. No action was taken against Kormos by the town.

A report filed separately with the town by Robinson at the Dec. 17 meeting states that a "community-size," development fits with the town's comprehensive plan, and a 125,000-square-foot cap on retail development falls within those parameters.

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