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Malta accepts downtown plan, still faces opposition

"My big concern was always the size of the downtown, what was supposed to be 1.8 miles of commercial overlay district. Now, what's being proposed is three separate zoning notes I think the downtown planning team took a close review of how those areas were going to interconnect with each other and grow and fit the overall theme of having a walkable downtown gathering area," said Thomas.

The three proposed areas would be broken into a "town center" that would accommodate higher density development along Route 9 with three- to four-story buildings, a "village-style hamlet" that would be pedestrian oriented with smaller scale development along Route 67 with one- to two-story buildings and "gateways" that would be less developed with more flexible design standards.

"This is the first step, that we've adopted an overall vision and we'll work on this progressively into the next phase of addressing zoning recommendations and amending those guidelines and standards," said Thomas.

Thomas said the board and planning team will have to look at infrastructure issues, how pedestrian travel will flow and how heights of buildings will play a role in architectural enhancements and styles that developers may want to include.

The three distinct zones with various storied buildings is exactly what Fenton said has "destroyed" what Malta should be, and she doesn't think there's anything that the Town Board can do to fix things.

"They're trying to fix a mess they created by not having a vision as to what they were creating they're trying to backpedal now and I don't know how they can do it," said Fenton. "Ellsworth is massive and you have that on one side and then on the other side are one-story buildings. Everything they've done is to placate the builders. We're not Saratoga and we're never going to be Saratoga."

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