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New Scotland wrestles with growth

Widrick said he is skeptical of information from Naughton and Kormos, both members of the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, which has been vocal about the smaller retail size cap, and cited "self interest" as Kormos motivation.

He said Kormos' consulting relationship with Mark Schafer, who had at one time expressed interest in buying the property, taints her information. Kormos discussed becoming a "minority partner," in that deal, although she did not sign a contract to do so.

Schafer was eventually out bid by Sphere.

Widrick said a large commercial development would be beneficial to the tax base for New Scotland, and Kormos and Naughton's recommended small-scale development will not be able to afford the needed infrastructure such as water, sewer and roads.

Widrick accused Kormos of trying to devalue the property by capping retail development.

"That has nothing to do with the interests of this town," Widrick said.

Kormos has stated she has nothing to gain from capping the development at 50,000 square feet, and that her relationship with Schafer Construction ended when they lost the bid for the property.

Widrick said he cannot say for sure what Sphere will do if they are unable to construct an "anchor store" in the development such as a previously discussed 137,000-square-foot Target, and would need to consult with the other potential tenants and see if they would still be willing to locate at the former melon farm.

"My gut is telling me no, especially in today's economic climate," Widrick added.

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