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New Scotland workshop invites comment on building size cap

A public workshop will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Voorheesville High School to allow residents to weigh in on possible plans for a size cap on new development for a 600-acre commercial zone that lies along the northern portion of the town of New Scotland.

The workshop will allow residents to comment on the progress the Commercial Zone Advisory Committee has made and offer suggestions as the group moves forward.

A moratorium on new buildings over 30,000 square feet was put in place since May to allow the town time to address its zoning laws to make them fit better with the Town's Comprehensive Plan. The move was made in response to a proposed commercial development that would include a 137,000-square-foot anchor store. The moratorium is set to expire Nov. 12.

Roz Robinson, chairwoman of the advisory committee, said the workshop is going to allow the group, "to get the input from the public on what we have done so far get up to date on where we are and where we are heading. This is the final time for my committee to hear from the public."

Robinson said the committee has not finalized a size cap for new commercial developments but is hopeful the public workshop will help reach a number.

The next CZAC meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 25, and Robinson said the committee is going to discuss the public's input from the workshop and begin drafting a recommendation.

A local advocacy group, New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, has been vocal in its support of a size cap on retail stores, and said it "advocates a size cap on retail stores of no more than 50,000 square feet per store."

"NS4SED welcomes non-retail development in the commercial zone such as offices, residential and institutional buildings on a single parcel," according to a statement from the organization. "It is NS4SED's position that a well-designed, walkable, hamlet-style development linked to the existing community by sidewalks could enhance New Scotland's character and keep our commercial development viable and sustainable."

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