Conservative announces N.S. candidacy in response to Dems' picks

He said it is ironic that town Republicans question why he often votes in line with Dolin, since the alternative is to vote in line with other Democrats on the board.

"Am I supposed to abstain?" he asked. "I'm really lost on the logic."

LaGrange said people who have accused him and Dolin of being under the control of special interests are "pathetic" and said it is more important to bring zoning laws into parallel with the Comprehensive Plan than make the situation "personal."

LaGrange addressed accusations that the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development have influenced the process. NS4SED has pushed for a size-cap on retail buildings since the issues was raised last year.

"NS4 didn't hijack anything. They encouraged Democrats to come out and vote their hearts. This isn't a conspiracy, it's a democracy," LaGrange said.

He also pointed out that he is concerned with overdevelopment, and stated that the Town of Bethlehem saw increases in town taxes in 2004 after a Lowe's and Wal-Mart were built in Glenmont.

He said he is waiting for studies to come forward that show the benefit of having large retailers, but has not seen any to date.

Peter Belenchia, former Republican chairman in town and a local business owner, said he has collected enough signatures to run on the Conservative Party line and force a primary for that party.

He said he decided to run on Tuesday, June 16, and announced his candidacy on Friday, June 26.

Belenchia was the chairman from 2002 to 2005, and formerly challenged state Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, for his seat.

The Conservative Party has endorsed LaGrange and Chuck Voss, a planning board member.

Belenchia said, though, LaGrange's Democratic nomination, not his Conservative one, was the reason he is running.

"The main impetus for it [running] was a Republican candidate seeking a Democratic nomination," he said.

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