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Malta adopts new downtown zoning

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville voicing his objections over downtown zoning law.

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville voicing his objections over downtown zoning law. Photo by Marci Revette.

— “We are a suburban town evolving into the 21st century,” he said. “I know we’re not in the horse and buggy days, but residents I’ve heard from want a more hamlet style.”

Board members said that style is being met with the incorporation of “complete streets” and other measures for making the downtown more pedestrian-friendly to encourage people to live and shop there.

Before the vote, the board decided to exempt the proposed Malta Crossings mixed-use project on Route 9 from the new zoning because it already has several town approvals. Its buildings will need to meet the new architectural standards, though, and the exemptions will only be good for the next five years.

Local business leaders, including the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, are pleased with the new zoning law.

“This will be a brand new connection to Malta,” said Chamber President Todd Shimkus. “This will set a model for other communities across New York State. I am happy to be here in Malta: the center of the universe.”

The town’s previous zoning code, which was adopted in 2005, allowed high-density downtown development. Negative public reaction to the five-story Ellsworth Commons apartment-commercial project on Route 9 led to a zoning review.

The new code also brings zoning into compliance with the downtown master plan the Town Board adopted in 2011, which called for scaling back the size of new downtown buildings.

Tozzi said in order to facilitate the new form-based code zoning, a daylong workshop will be held in March to help people understand the new process.

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