The New Scotland Town Board passed a six-month moratorium after listening to residents' concerns at the Wednesday, May 7, public hearing in the Voorheesville High School.
More than 750 residents from New Scotland, New Salem and Voorheesville filled the auditorium, and for more than three hours, the residents staked their claim against the Syracuse-based Sphere Development Group's plan to construct a 750,000-square-foot retail development off of routes 85 and 85A, on the land that was once the Bender melon farm.
The company has not yet closed on the property.
Bob Prentiss, a Voorheesville resident and former state Assemblyman, spoke in opposition of Sphere's plan.
Prentiss, a member of the group New Scotlanders 4 Sound Economic Development, or NS4SED, warned the New Scotland Town Board of the problems that might arrive with shopping center.
Traffic congestion, road maintenance, police protection, fire protection, ambulance protection, other infrastructure costs these all add up when you get the big-box regional power centers in your backyard," he said. "That's one of the big reasons we need a moratorium - so we can take a breather " think outside the box, so to speak " and put some sanity into our planning process."
NS4SED unfurled a banner at the meeting with petitions taped all over it. The petitions handed in to the Town Board had a total of 2,245 signatures.
The town board unanimously voted to enact a building moratorium for projects larger than 30,000 square feet.
As cheers roared through the crowd following the vote, some complained six months would not be long enough.
"I don't think it's worth jeopardizing the town's legal standing by subjecting it to potential legal fees," said town Supervisor Tom Dolin, in defense of the six-month time frame.
"The town can renew the moratorium after the six-month period is over," he added.