Residents get together for development talk

The group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, or NS4SED, held a community meeting on Sunday, April 27, to inform citizens about the meaning of a moratorium and to encourage people to voice their opinions.

The public meeting was at the Osterhout Community Center in New Salem. NS4SED had three guest speakers with varying backgrounds in development.

We are not an anti-development group, Dean Sommer, an attorney at the Young and Sommer law firm, and NS4SED's master of ceremonies for the night, said. "Our focus has simply been to take a step back. Let's look at the options to see what development we want and what we don't want."

New Scotland has heard a proposal by the Syracuse-based Sphere Development Group to build on the land that was once the Bender melon farm, off of routes 85 and 85A. Sphere's goal is to construct a regional commercial shopping mall that would take up 750,000 square feet. The company has not closed on the property yet.

NS4SED is aiming for a 6-month" moratorium on "big-box development, while many New Scotlanders at the meeting were pulling for a full year. NS4SED is quick to mention, however, that after the 6 month period is over, the Town Board can renew the moratorium for an additional 6 months, if needed. According to NS4SED, during the moratorium, the Town Board will only review the town's commercial zones, and will not redo all of its zoning laws. It would also appoint community members to serve on a committee that would have a budget, hire a consultant, hold public hearings and give their recommendations to the Town Board to determine what kind of development is right for New Scotland.

Jeff Baker was one of the speakers. An environmental lawyer from the Young and Sommer law firm, he spoke about what a moratorium will mean for the community.

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