Colonie looks to streamline smaller development process

This will help expedite the time frame for projects going through the town's review process, he added, but said he wants to see on record that the developer had interaction with the neighborhood associations, whether it is in the form of a letter or an email.

If there is something controversial regarding the project, Town Attorney Mike Magguilli said the Planning and Economic Development Department has the right to bring it before the planning board.

"It is certainly not the intent to limit the public's comment," he said, adding this process is not much different than what Colonie already practices. "This makes some changes as far as what's considered a minor application. I think that's where the difference is."

This has happened recently in Colonie with the Wal-Mart project, as Magguilli said the subdivision originally came in as a minor project. But since the town believed the development would bring in a large amount of public comment, it was referred to the planning board.

LaCivita said that this law continues the trust the town has with its residents and continues to work with neighborhood associations.

"We want to continue to have accountability and openness with the town and its residents," he said.

Newly appointed chairman of the planning board, Peter Stuto, said he fully endorses the new legislation and that it will bring more development to the town.

"I as chair think this is good legislation that will encourage redevelopment of smaller properties, and I would speculate that the rest of the Planning Board would agree and embrace this proposal," he said.

LaCivita said that the law will also allow developers to work with organizations offering incentives such as the Colonie Industrial Development Agency, and that it is legislation that is long overdue.

"I think the policy is good policy," he said. "It's long been needed to go through the process.""

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