Colonie councilman blasts review panel

Dan Dustin, the lone Republican on the Colonie Town Board, said there is a lack of transparency with the current review process of the town's Comprehensive Plan.

Dustin said his main gripe with the process is that nobody seems to know about it. He said a Comprehensive Planning Committee has already held three secret meetings, with members using written and e-mailed comments as a form of public comment.

"As a Town Board member, I didn't even know it was established," he said. "You would expect it to be approved by the board."

Town Supervisor Paula Mahan formed the Comprehensive Planning Committee, which is tasked with general planning of the town and has been meeting since earlier this year.

Dustin said that when he finally learned heard about the committee, he e-mailed his concerns to Mahan but did not get a response until 10 days later.

Mahan said Dustin's press release on the review process was nothing but political posturing.

"I really don't have time for these political games," she said. "Dustin was quick to talk and has no basis of doing so. That e-mail [press release] contains a lot of political overtones."

Mahan said the review committee spent its first three meetings collecting feedback on the state of Central Avenue, receiving comments on the review process, discussing high-tech industry, and generally getting to know one another before they start working together.

"This is a big town," she said. "When in the beginning of the process, we need to have time to get things started."

The 12-member board is made up of heads of several departments within the town, residents and a business person to provide advice. The members are: Building Department Director Mike Rosch and Planning and Economic Development Director Joseph LaCivita, both of whom are co-chairs of the committee; Senior Resources Director Christine Cary; Director of Community Services for the Division of Youth Services Alicia Osur; Department of Public Works Director Jack Cunningham; as well as Jack Fahey, Gary Rinaldi, Kathy Ordway and Ralph Schimmel, all of whom are Town of Colonie residents.

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