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NS Planning chair: 50,000 foot cap not likely

A new draft of New Scotland's Local Law I will likely not include a 50,000 size-cap on retail developments, according to one town official.

Planning board chair Robert Staph said it is currently considering proposing that community sized developments be permitted, which could be as large as 300,000 square feet of building area, although no final decision has been made.

Staph said a draft of the law is expected to be decided upon by the Tuesday, March 3, meeting of the planning board.

The New Scotland Planning board discussed the scope and merit of a draft of Local Law I at a Thursday, Feb. 19 workshop. The draft of the law called for, among other things, a 50,000 square foot size cap on retail developments.

It was initially drafted by Mike Naughton Liz Kormos and included in the Commercial Zone Advisory Committee report issued to the town board. Both are members of New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, an advocacy group supporting a size cap on retail structures.

Staph said that version of the law exceeded its scope and included provisions dealing with industrial and hamlet zones.

"I think its irresponsible for them to submit it the way it is," Staph said. "I am in favor of allowing people to have the right to develop the land in a reasonable way."

Staph said "community-sized" developments are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

Mackay said such a development would constitute a regionally drawing store, which he, and his organization, are opposed to.

"Allowances for a retail size cap of 300,000 square feet or even 130,000 square feet have no basis in sound planning and are a further insult to the public will as expressed on multiple occasions and contexts over the past year in New Scotland," said Daniel Mackay, founder of NS4SED in a written statement. "I note there was no documentation discussed last night to support how the town can accommodate the expected impacts from development on that scale, except to note that future applicants would be obligated to prove that impacts would not negatively affect our community.

The planning board would be able to review developments, and they would be subject to environmental and other impact reviews.

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