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New Scotland town board sends 85,000-foot size cap to county

The New Scotland Town Board approved a motion to forward a draft zoning law with an 85,000 square-foot size cap on retail buildings for review, at a Wednesday, April 15, meeting.

The motion to adopt the law, primarily drafted by Councilman Rich Reilly, passed 5-0. The board voted to send the law to the Albany County and New Scotland Planning Boards, and will have a public meeting regarding it sometime in June.

Discussions about the town's zoning laws were prompted by a proposal from by Sphere Development LLC to place a 137,000 square-foot anchor retail store at the corner of Routes 85 and 85A, and a desire for the town to upgrade the laws to coincide closer with its Comprehensive Plan.

Councilman Doug LaGrange Town Supervisor Tom Dolin supported, and presented to the public, an amended version of a zoning law featuring a 50,000 square-foot size cap to be sent along with Reilly's draft, but it failed 2-3.

Some meeting attendees voiced support for forwarding both laws for review.

The public deserves the respect, and the opportunity to see two laws move forward, said Daniel Mackay, founder of the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development. "Why would we not put two laws forward?"

He and his group have actively voiced support for a 50,000 square-foot cap.

Others at the meeting said sending two laws would have taken the power out of the hands of the board members, who ultimately should be working toward a law with its stamp of approval.

Several people spoke in front of the board during the meeting's public comment period.

At one point during the meeting one attendee, Donald Eberle, asked the members of the board who did not support a 50,000 square foot size cap on retail buildings to publicly pledge they, and any relatives they have, would not financially gain anything if the former Bender Melon Farm were to be developed with a large, bog-box, retail store.

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