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Questions resurface in Malta rezoning

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville will again propose zoning changes to the downtown development plan, something he's received mixed support for in the past.

Sausville sent out an e-mail, Monday Dec. 28, detailing various changes he wants the Town Board to consider that would cut back on the currently planned development. If approved, the plan would go through a rezoning process that could result in the loss of millions of dollars for investors and postpone or halt construction, according to developers.

Some developers, board members and residents are saying the proposed changes are unnecessary, not smart and made without appropriate knowledge of the situation.

Sausville wants to increase setbacks, decrease building heights, decrease the size of the downtown district all which will promote sprawl. That's not what you do to promote smart growth," said Bob Miller Jr., a developer with an interest in downtown Malta.

Miller was one of the founders of a coalition of developers, residents and former local government officials called "No More Sprawlta." The group is outraged by Sausville's zoning proposals.

Miller said that in 2005 the downtown plan was correctly zoned, and several third parties were consulted to ensure it included principles of anti-sprawl and smart growth. He said he questions why Sausville is not consulting third parties this time around.

"They engaged professionals because they correctly understood they didn't have the knowledge to develop a plan. The town needed a broad base in order to develop a vision, it couldn't just be one person, it must be the community at large. Now that forward thinking is reversed," said Miller.

Miller said the current plan is endorsed and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Urban Land Institute and American Institute of Architects. The plan to build up downtown was created to meet the growth that is expected to spin out of the construction of a GlobalFoundries plant.

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