New Scotland passes hamlet zoning law

NEW SCOTLAND – The February public hearing for the proposed New Scotland Hamlet Zoning District lasted nearly two hours, as impassioned residents spoke out against what they saw as a draconian and anti-business plan, and, following revisions that were deemed significant enough to warrant another hearing, the New Scotland Town Board allocated an hour at its May meeting for comment.

At 6:32 p.m., a slightly-surprised town Supervisor Douglas LaGrange closed the public hearing, and, then later in the meeting – 10 years after discussions of rezoning first began – the board voted unanimously to adopt the plan.

The law is effective immediately upon its filing with the secretary of state’s office.

The new hamlet is bounded by the town of Bethlehem to the east, the village of Voorheesville and railroad to the west, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail to the north, and commercial and medium-density residential districts to the south of Route 85.

The new law takes approximately 455 acres of land that had been zoned commercial; about 70 acres of land zoned residential agriculture; and 24 acres of land that was zoned residential hamlet, and rezones the land to create the new hamlet-zoning district, which contains three sub-districts.

— A concentrated hamlet center will have the character of a traditional village, including a central area for greenspace. It will be mostly commercial space, but could also include multi-family housing that is incorporated into mixed-use development, which would have commercial space on the ground level. In the new law, this area covers the corner of routes 85 and 85A, extending to Falvo’s Meat Market to the north and extends past Stewart’s to the east;

— The hamlet expansion area, which had been zoned for commercial use, will now include mixed-use to incorporate more housing. It radiates out from the hamlet center, south of Route 85 and extends west across Route 85A to the railroad tracks and north a few hundred feet past Falvo’s; and

— The development area extends north to the rail trail and crosses over to the west of Route 85 to the LeVie Farm housing development and extends east to existing, developed land. This area will be more residential than commercial.

The new law lays out permitted uses and development standards that will be allowed in the sub-districts.

These allowable uses create density and diversity, which, its drafters hope, can create affordability.

In the hamlet-district extension area, the minimum allowable lot size for a detached single-family dwelling is 5,000 square feet; the maximum allowable lot size is 10,000 square feet.

The hamlet-district development area allows for a minimum allowable lot size for a detached single-family dwelling of 10,000 square feet; the maximum allowable lot size is 30,000 square feet.

The plan also allows for semi-detached, single-family dwellings with a minimum allowable lot size of 3,500 square feet per unit and a maximum allowable lot size of 5,000 square feet per unit; attached single-family dwellings, with a minimum of 2,500 square feet per unit and a maximum of 5,000 square feet per unit; two-family dwellings, with a minimum of 6,000 square feet per two-family unit and a maximum of 10,000 square feet per two-family unit; and multi-family residences have a minimum allowable lot size of 3,500 square feet, which is also the only allowable type residence in the proposed hamlet center sub-district.

The new law lays out the allowable commercial uses in each of the sub-districts:



Other business

In other business, the town board:

– Approved an addendum to the town’s contract with Robert Wright Disposal Inc. for collection, hauling, and disposal of the town’s solid waste and recycling to pay Wright an additional $15,586 for the third year of a five-year contract, after the cost of disposing of recyclables went from $10 per ton to $40 per ton.

The contract with Wright is still so favorable to the town that, in return for the one-time payment of $15,586 and as a show of good faith, both sides agreed to add a sixth year to the five-year contract. If the cost of disposing of recyclables continues to remain high next year, there is a presumption that the town and Wright will renew the addendum;

– Set a public hearing for June to extend the partial exemption on property taxes for Cold War-era veterans. The town estimates $770 in lost revenue; and

– Authorized LaGrange to sign contract with Albany County for emergency medical services for the town and the village of Voorheesville for $267,000. The village will reimburse the town for its portion. 


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