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Opinion mixed on watershed district

There was standing room only in Ballston Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 21, as residents poured in to a public hearing to issue their opinions on proposed legislation to create a special district around Ballston Lake. A vote on the Watershed Protection Overlay District (formerly known as the Ballston Lake Overlay District, or BLOD) could be held as early as next month's Town Board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 3.

The law creates a special district made up of all parcels in which at least 25 percent of the property rests in the watershed. Those areas would be subject to a number of regulations aimed at limiting the influence of pollutants on the lake. It also gives the town's Planning Board power to impose requirements on projects that are perceived to have a potential impact on the lake.

Many at the public hearing questioned how effective the law would be in preventing pollutants from entering the lake.

If you really want to save that lake, then take the boats off of it, said resident Arnold Palmer, who also called for a public referendum on the legislation.

"If there's a problem with the lake, we should start on the lake and move out," said resident Joan Eddy.

Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes, who has been spearheading the drafting of the legislation since its 2005 inception, said that the purpose of the law is primarily to allow the town to act on environmental protection matters.

"We were trying to mirror what the state requires, but allow for local enforcement," she said.

Wednesday's public hearing was the second such proceeding for the overlay district. The board decided to take the time to redraw the boundaries after some residents in the proposed district said at a June public hearing that their properties did not drain into the lake.

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