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New Scotland considers extending moratorium

Amidst accusations of conflicts of interest and alleged reports of misinformation, New Scotlanders could be looking at a six-month extension on the commercial zone moratorium, according to town officials.

Commercial Zone Advisory Committee member Liz Kormos has been cited as having a potential conflict of interest in her role helping to draft new language for the town's zoning laws, as she once acted as a consultant for a potential buyer of the Bender Melon Farm, a piece of real estate at the heart of the matter.

CZAC has suspended its meetings until the matter is resolved, according to Chairwoman Roz Robinson.

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said an extension on the moratorium could be needed in order to allow more time to weigh all of the issues.

We might need to ask for a six-month extension, he said.

Representatives from Sphere Development, who is proposing a big-box retail outlet on the Bender Melon Farm, have said Kormos should step down from the CZAC.

"We want to see closure brought to this, but we also want to see a fair process," said Greg Widrick, a managing partner at Sphere. "We're waiting to see at this point how [the town] investigates the matter. The Kormos issue should have been raised at the beginning of the process."

A temporary moratorium on new retail buildings larger than 30,000 square feet has been in place since May to allow officials, through recommendations by the Commercial Zone Advisory Committee, to draft zoning laws that better coincide with the town's comprehensive plan. The moratorium was enacted in response to a commercial development proposed by Syracuse-based Sphere on the Bender Melon Farm property that would include a 137,000-square-foot "anchor" store.

Kormos is also a member of New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, known as NS4SED, and an outspoken supporter of a 50,000-square-foot size cap on retail developments in the town of New Scotland.

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