Republican candidate for supervisor Frank Mauriello (Photo by Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE — The Republican candidate for town supervisor, Frank Mauriello, is calling for a partial moratorium on high density development until an ongoing update to the Comprehensive Plan and other studies are complete.
His moratorium would allow only 80 percent of the current allowable densities under the current zoning, prohibit Planned Development Districts, special use permits or any project that would increase density and give the Town Board more power over the planning and approval process.
For example, if the current zoning would allow 50 homes on a plot of land, his moratorium would only allow 40 built until the Comprehensive Plan, the Airport GEIS and the Bought Road GEIS is complete.
“Developers are currently using PDDs and special use permits improperly and building at unacceptable densities,” he said during a press conference last week. “This needs to stop and we need take a step back and evaluate where we are with development and traffic mitigation and develop a wholly comprehensive plan to benefit all residents of the town.”
Development and traffic have been hot button topics headed into this election season and projects at Maxwell Road, Forts Ferry Road and Albany Shaker Road have left residents miffed.
But, said supervisor Paula Mahan, a moratorium isn’t the way to go because her administration has recognized the shortcomings in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, such as high density developments and PDDs and has adjusted accordingly.
“Once again, this is the same Frank who was on the Town Board from 1999 to 2007 when some of the most troublesome projects were approved, such as the Maxwell Road PDD and the Loudon House PDD,” she said. “He was on the team that developed the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, which called for mixed-use centers or nodes which included high density residential.
“My administration worked very hard to correct the damage that Mr. Mauriello and his group created.”
The town has been working to update the 2005 Comprehensive Plan but it is unclear when it will be complete. Mahan said the majority of the development approved in the last 10 years involves the reuse of old buildings such as along the north end of Route 9 and the west end of Troy Schenectady Road.
“There are communities all over who would love to have the economic development we have in Colonie,” she said. “We brought in good companies which helps our tax base and we brought good jobs to the area.
The grassroots group, Save Colonie, a Partnership for Planning, though is in favor of the moratorium.
“This proposal appears to be a rational and well thought out first step,” said Susan Weber in a statement.