Democratic town board has served New Scotland exceptionally well

To the Editor:

I received a postcard from undisclosed-party nominees, who ask what has the Democratic town board done for our town. I feel compelled to reply.

Our Democratic board professionalized the workings of the town by creating job descriptions and salary schedules. They passed a stringent ethics law. They have kept taxes low, never rising above, and many times keeping below, the governor’s 2-percent property tax stranglehold. They scrutinize each expenditure, share services with other governmental entities in order to keep costs low, and explore every avenue to reduce outlays. And, the town has been designated a climate smart town.

The Democratic town board passed an updated comprehensive plan and is updating the zoning code in keeping with the desires of residents to maintain our beautiful, unique, rural, historic town. Contrary to the undisclosed-party nominees’ talking points, the town board has not obstructed small-business growth.

It passed a law allowing certain home businesses to be in residential neighborhoods. The new zoning laws for the most appropriate spots for businesses will give the Kay commercial development, near routes 85 and 85A, a chance to be built with multiple retail and service outlets.

Recently, the planning board approved applications for Stewart’s Corporation to allow for a new 3,696-square-foot store and Chris Frueh’s “mobile concession vehicle” on Indian Fields Road. Xylem Dewatering Solutions also opened near there as well. 

The planning board also approved additions to a commercial building owned by Stuart Morrison.  Track 32, Cindi Elliott’s Pond Hill Pavilion at Triple S Farm, and the expanded use of Indian Ladder Farms for special events are doing phenomenal business.

Have you noticed Jim Olsen’s new storage units on Route 85?  And, Stephanie Magee Muha opened a boarding and riding stable on Clipp Road.

The Hilton Barn, a rare and significant structure, often described as a “cathedral” by those lucky enough to have seen the interior, is part of the board’s vision of the future, not only to repurpose such an important and fast-disappearing piece of architecture, but also to attract more people to the town of New Scotland’s business district via the rail trail. The Hilton Barn honors New Scotland’s past and enhances hopes for its future, with little monies from homeowners’ pockets.

Everyone would like to see more affordable housing in town. There is nothing in the zoning Law that would prevent a developer from building homes that do not cater to the wealthy.

In fact, the new hamlet plan especially encourages affordable housing. The issue deals with the cost of materials, labor, and profit margins of developers. 

The board cannot dictate to developers how to conduct their business, and I’m surprised that the undisclosed-party nominees, of all people, might suggest this kind of government interference.

Although these candidates now say “we don’t want big box stores in town,” they are the very people who stood against, essentially, the hundreds of New Scotland citizens who vociferously killed the big-box project.

Not only did these candidates not honor the history and rural beauty of our town, but they also had no foresight, despite foreboding evidence, and no vision of New Scotland’s “sense of place.” If it had been up to these candidates, we would have a plain of deteriorating black asphalt with boarded up stores where now stands a field with a view of the mountains, and an expectation that the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy might buy this land to add to the park by the Hilton Barn.

This is a phenomenal success story for the town!

These two candidates represent ideas of people who have run for office before and been defeated.  They almost never attend town meetings — and I know because I do.

If they did attend meetings, their ideas would be heard and considered. We know that people usually show up when they have something to complain about. Perhaps the fact that few people don’t appear at meetings means that they are happy and satisfied here — even members of the undisclosed party who are represented by these candidates.

This town board has served us exceptionally well. With the addition of Bridgit Burke, we will have a town board that works with us so that we can continue to live and enjoy our special place in the world.

Edie Abrams

New Scotland

Editor’s note: Edie Abrams is a member of the New Scotland Zoning Board of Appeals.

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