“We keep adding to the agricultural district every year,” Gillen said. “Our economic strategy is really a smart growth strategy.”
In order to encourage smart growth practices from businesses, incentives can be implemented to encourage such development.
“It is harder to redevelop the Capital Plaza in Rotterdam … to get somebody like BBL to come in there and redevelop that site is harder, and it means that sometimes we need to use our incentives,” said Gillen. “We are able to deploy the use of incentives in a very careful way to further our smart growth.”
Building out the land
SCEAC’s report indicated open space isn’t a pressing issue for the towns in the county — except for one.
“Niskayuna is approaching full build out, but the other four towns still have significant rural/agricultural space that is in danger of being lost to low density sprawl. The rural landscape of open fields, wooded areas and long vistas that gives these areas their characteristics is being slowly eroded,” the report said.
Joe Landry, supervisor of Niskayuna, said the town is probably above 90 percent for residential build out, but the town has room to grow on commercial land.
“There are currently projects, but as far as major projects there is not a lot of real estate left in Niskayuna for residential,” said Landry. “There is still quite a bit of room for commercial.”
The 1971 comprehensive plan for the town, which followed the first in 1960, noted there wasn’t a town center, according to the report. Now, the town center is focused around the Balltown Road and Nott Street intersection. Also, the older traditionally laid out section is referred to as “Old Niskayuna.” Part of the town center included the former St. James Square, which ShopRite is now redeveloping.
“ShopRite will definitely spur some more development over in that area,” said Landry. “It is turning into a little downtown center for the Town of Niskayuna.”