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New Scotland plans moratorium extension

The Town of New Scotland has set a public hearing for Aug. 31, at 6:30 p.m., for a resolution to extend its moratorium on commercial buildings. The extension would run until Feb. 1.

Roz Robinson, a Republican candidate for town board and former chair of the town's Commercial Zone Advisory Committee, said she initially supported the moratorium, but based on independent research, has concerns that the town will be liable from a legal standpoint.

Right around 18 months is where courts are saying you're in violation of property owners' rights, Robinson said.

Robinson said she expected the town to extend the moratorium, and noted that the extension would end a month after a potentially new Town Board is in place.

The town initially enacted the moratorium with the hopes of redrafting its zoning law to make it more cohesive with the comprehensive plan, although it has not yet completed the task.

The moratorium was initially enacted for six months, then subsequently extended two more times. It was put in place after Sphere Development LLC, a Cazenovia-based company, expressed interested in placing a "big-box" retail store on the former Bender Melon Farm near the intersection of Routes 85 and 85A.

Daniel Mackay, president of New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development and candidate for New Scotland town board said the measure is "legally acceptable and appropriate."

He said with the lack of new zoning laws, an extension is the best way to proceed.

Annie Brill, a founding member of the advocacy Pride of New Scotland, which she said was formed with the hopes of protecting business in town, said the moratorium is not likely going to accomplish much.

"It's kind of ridiculous," she said. "We're going to end up in a lawsuit. If they haven't done anything in a year and a half, what will they do in the next couple of months?"

She said impact studies for proposed developments are the best measure to protect town interests.

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