New Scotland workshop invites comment on building size cap

CZAC member, Liz Kormos said she is not in favor of a large commercial development, and research she has done indicates the town could not support such a large retail store.

"That's too big. It's too big for the town, and too big for the market," she said. "The project doesn't make any sense."

The Friends of Five Rivers organization, a group affiliated with the state education agency, but which does officially speak for the agency, sent a letter to the New Scotland Town Board, expressing its opposition to a large-scale commercial development.

According to a letter from Friends of Five Rivers President RoseAnne Fogarty, Five Rivers could acquire a 29-acre plot of land near Route 85 and is against increased traffic and development affecting the potential public use of the land.

The letter supports a cap of 50,000 square feet for buildings and 100,000 square feet for entire projects.

Representatives of Sphere Development, the company that would like to develop a 200-acre site in New Scotland's commercial zone, said they do not feel the town is giving their proposal a fair chance.

"A feasibility study needs to be conducted. No such study has been conducted," Greg Widrick, a managing partner at Sphere Development LLC.

Widrick said that by setting a size cap at 50,000 square feet, the town's message to its residents is, "We don't want any commercial development."

Widrick said a Best Buy, Marshalls and Bed, Bath and Beyond, generally are about 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. Widrick said, though, that those retailers would not be able to sustain themselves in New Scotland without an "anchor," store such as Target.

Widrick also said that a size cap is not the only determinant for a "regionally drawing" retailer, a term that New Scotlanders cite as one of the key terms in the comprehensive plan that would prohibit large developments.

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