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CZAC members step down; trust issues cited

Three members of the New Scotland Commercial Zone Advisory Committee have resigned as of Friday, Nov. 21, and the town has not had any conversation about how to proceed at this time, according to Town Supervisor Tom Dolin.

Dolin said Roz Robinson, the committee chair; Cynthia Elliott and John Biscone handed in letters of resignation from the committee.

Robinson said she had two primary motivations for leaving. The first was the alleged conflict of interest regarding CZAC member Liz Kormos. The second, she said, was the bullying tactics of the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, also known as NS4SED, regarding the direction new zoning laws should take.

Kormos was accused by Robinson of not disclosing a business relationship Kormos had with a potential bidder on the Bender Melon Farm, a key piece of property in the commercial zone.

"I still believe, and always will believe, she had a conflict. It really is a matter of trust for me," Robinson said. "The more I think about it, the more I don't think I can serve the town and the committee without having confidence in the committee."

She also said she feels that the independence of the committee was corrupted, and said she felt the Town Board had come to conclusions about zoning changes before the committee finished its recommendation.

Kormos said statements made by the resigning members of the committee are inaccurate, and an investigation into the matter would have showed that she had no real conflict. The Town Board dismissed the matter at its Wednesday, Nov. 12, meeting.

Kormos said she wants to see the committee back in action.

"They should appoint another two members and let's get on with it," she said in an interview Thursday, Nov. 20, before Biscone stepped down.

CZAC was charged with drafting recommendations to change the towns zoning law to coincide closer to the Comprehensive plan. Sphere Development LLC is planning to develop the Bender farm with a 137,000 square-foot retail anchor store if the zoning law permits it. Kormos, a member of NS4SED and supporter of a 50,000 square foot cap on retail developments oppose Spheres proposal.

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