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Sphere switches focus

A developer that at one time considered New Scotland as a primary area of opportunity is rethinking its assessment and focusing its efforts elsewhere, according to the company's managing partners.

In the midst of election season and with a six-month moratorium extension on commercial development recently passed, Sphere Development LLC, a Cazenovia based-developer that initially planned to put a Target on the former Bender Melon Farm at the corner of routes 85 and 85A, said it is not ruling New Scotland out as an area of opportunity, but is no longer banking on it.

Greg Widrick and Kurt Wendler, managing partners of Sphere Development, said the prolonged zoning process in New Scotland has given them reason to focus efforts elsewhere.

Our plans have diverted a while ago, Widrick said.

Widrick said down the line, it's a possibility that Sphere will revisit plans to develop the property, but for now it will focus its time, energy and cash elsewhere.

"We are not going to spend one dime until the town decides what it's going to do," he said.

Widrick and Wendler confirmed that New Scotland has been removed from the company's Web site as an area of opportunity for development.

The commercial building moratorium was initially enacted for six months, then subsequently extended two more times. This will be the third extension, totaling one year and six months.

It was initially put in place after Sphere expressed interested in placing a "big-box" retail store on the former Bender Melon Farm.

New Scotland officials opted to extend the moratorium on

Monday, Aug. 31, through Feb. 1. The board unanimously extended the moratorium 4-to-0, with board member Peg Neri absent from the proceeding.

Opposing factions have argued the merits of extending the moratorium. Some believe it will limit development and infringes on property rights, while others say it is necessary to prevent large big-box developers from coming in and increasing traffic and public safety problems.

Widrick said he is hopeful that after the elections, town officials can come up with a clean plan and a vision for development in New Scotland, and then call Sphere to discuss possibilities.

"At this time its such a farce out there," Widrick said.

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