Editorial: Ballston: Take a stand

You’ll read this week of a fizzled end to what could have been a case study for land preservation in the Capital District.

A proposal for the Town of Ballston to purchase the Cappiello Farm property died on the vine last week. What this staid indecision from the Town Board shows us, unfortunately, is the necessity of having leaders in leadership roles.

Whether the land deal before Ballston was a good or bad idea is very much a matter of opinion. What’s true is the Cappiello’s real estate agent told us the property was sold for more than four times what the family was seeking from the town. No matter your opinion of the sale, you would have to be particularly thick to not see 272 acres of undeveloped land off of Route 50 and adjacent to Ballston Lake for the price of a few McMansions as a good deal.

But there is truthfully nothing wrong with the town’s decision not to pursue the purchase. At the end of the day governments are faced with deciding to pursue works that are to the benefit and conforming to the will of the people. Giving a pass on a land deal — even a good land deal — is something the members of the Town Board have the power to do and still hold their heads high.

But that is not what happened in Ballston. This deal was not passed up because of fiscal constraints, ideological differences or even old-fashioned partisan gridlock. No, from what we can gather, the reasoning was there just wasn’t enough time to make a measured decision on this thorny issue. Rather than sticking its neck out, Ballston’s Town Board divorced itself from responsibility.

How many weeks and months would constitute enough time to consider this, we wonder? The offer did not pop up overnight. And if leaders were suddenly faced with an ultimatum, they should have done what they are paid to do and made the best decision possible, not shrug and shirk the blame for not doing their homework.

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