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Panel discusses Colonie's high-tech future

In their first meeting open to the public, Colonie's Comprehensive Planning Committee met on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to discuss, amend, review and prioritize plans to push the infrastructure in the town forward.

The comprehensive plan was created in 2005 based on the general plan in the Town of Colonie. The plan required a review every five to 10 years to see if the goals set out in the plan were being met.

Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan appeared at the beginning of the meeting to outline her push for transparency in the operation of town government. She stressed the importance of meeting every five years to discuss the comprehensive plan instead of every 10 years.

If we don't monitor the process, then it doesn't work, said Mahan. "If changes need to be made, we must identify them. It things are going well, we need something to gauge them on and need to set a benchmark."

Planning and Economic Development Director Joseph LaCivita suggested the committee look into bringing in Tech Valley jobs in 2010, something he said was not included in the 2005 comprehensive plan.

Committee member Chris Bette, of First Columbia, which develops commercial real estate and medical office space, said he felt there was no involvement from the Planning and Economic Development Department in economic development. LaCivita agreed, but said he, Mahan and a couple of board members have been working to accommodate high tech businesses that will lead to the creation to an economic development plan.

"It's not just me, as planning and economic director, it is actually board members, the supervisor and the assistance of [former planning department director] Jean Donovan," he said. "We're trying to put together overview of a first time economic plan before the town."

Town Board member Dan Hornick said the committee is looking at other communities in the area that have already brought in high-tech businesses as examples as to how to properly execute the same plane in Colonie.

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