Malta Town Council mulls growth

As the town works toward creating pedestrian routes, Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Ball also suggested the development be linked to the expanding Zim Smith trail.

The Council was divided when voting to approve the Park Place plan, with Gerry Winters, Sue Nolen and Peter Klotz in the affirmative, and Tara Thomas and Supervisor Paul Sausville voting against it.

"I believe this project before us now is an improvement over the one presented in 2004," said Klotz. "It provides more green space and less outdoor parking lots."

Two model homes are currently at the Park Place site, with more construction expected this spring.

Malta Gardens

Plans for the Malta Gardens development by DCG Development, approved by the town back in 1983, have undergone more radical changes, as presented to the Town Council by designer Gordon Nicholson.

Located on Route 9 in the southern end of town, the area has been the site of mobile homes and the Snap-on Tools business on Knabner Road. However, the Luther Forest Technology Campus (LFTC) has approached developers to acquire some of the property for a roundabout at the main entrance to the tech park.

"This updated plan by LFTC has accelerated our desire to move ahead with our residential and commercial development planned in 1983," said Nicholson.

The new layout calls for 100 residential units and 60,000 square feet of commercial space on 13.5 acres. Council members immediately voiced their concerns about the closely placed buildings.

"That's an awful lot to put on that piece of land, and that concerns me," said Sausville. "I envision more of a village environment for Malta than a city environment."

Council members said they need to map out an overall plan for downtown developments, rather than working on each proposal individually.

"We need to sit down as a board and re-examine where our downtown is going," said Sausville. "We seem to be adding more and more people without adding jobs, and all these people will need to get on the Northway to go somewhere to work, which in essence, is a sprawl effect."

Other Council members suggested the Council also work on a method for attracting retail.

"We do need to attract retail businesses to help contribute to the town tax, and we're not all in complete agreement about this," said Nolen.

The updated plan by Malta Gardens developers was not approved by the Town Council at the meeting.""

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