Town passes second moratorium extension

New Scotland passed its second commercial moratorium extension, preventing the construction of buildings over 30,000 square feet, which will expire April 1.

New Scotland initially put the cap in place in May while board members mulled zoning laws that some believed better fit with the town's comprehensive plan.

Sphere Development LLC has been trying to develop land at the corner of Route 85 and Route 85A, located on the former Bender melon farm, but has been unable to follow thorough due to the moratorium. Sphere's plans included developing a commercial center with a 137,000-square-foot Target serving as an anchor store.

Attempts to contact a representative from Sphere were unsuccessful.

Bob Prentiss, a member of the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, or NS4SED, spoke in favor of the extension at the Wednesday, Feb. 11, Town Board meeting.

From day one, I've been calling for a moratorium of up to one year so that the town could properly plan for its future. And at the very beginning of this process, even the Albany County Planning Board recommended a one-year moratorium, Prentiss said. "Planning for sound economic development is too important a governmental issue to be resolved by crisis management. It's complex, very detailed and, obviously, there are differing philosophical viewpoints."

Colleen Stanton, a local farm owner, spoke against another extension. She said as a capitalist, the moratorium fundamentally infringes upon property rights and prevents business in the town.

Others at the meeting echoed her sentiment, and said they are in favor of moving forward with development.

The town is also considering adopting Local Law I of 2008, which would permanently cap new retail buildings at 50,000 square feet.

The issue was first raised during discussions to adopt a zoning law that would reflect that cap, however no decision was made at that time on what an appropriate cap would be.

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