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Comp plan panel eyes high-tech future

Creating an environment to attract more high-tech businesses to the Colonie area was the main point of discussion at the Comprehensive Plan's Review Committee's second meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 27, with all members agreeing that it was not properly addressed in the original 2005 plan.

We need to get caught up. We don't want to keep seeing these high-tech businesses going up to Malta and bypassing us here, said Councilman Dan Hornick. "The question is, how can we make this happen as quickly as possible?"

Chris Bette, a member of the committee and co-owner of medical office realtor First Columbia, said there needs to be a restructuring of the Planning and Economic Development Department, echoing statements from last month's public meeting, at which time he said it was the first place businesses go when they are looking to locate in Colonie.

He said that with no designated broker to reach out to, businesses may end up going directly to the supervisor when looking to build in the area.

"The reality is that someone needs to be receiving these folks, and they need to be in the loop with the Town Board, the planning board and the IDA [Industrial Development Agency]," he said. "This person could be the face of Colonie, and that person must talk definitively about what the town wants."

Much emphasis was made that such a person would need to know exactly how a business would fit the needs of the town and whether it would fit Colonie's image.

"How do we know the town needs a new hotel? Do we really want a Wal-Mart behind Angio Dynamics?" asked Gary Rinaldi "When there are businesses you don't want, you've got to say no."

Jack Fahey said the town does a fine job when it comes to the planning, but more needs to be done on the economic development portion. He pointed to Wolf Road's economic boom and attributed its growth to Colonie Center mall.

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