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Editorial Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 03, 2008

New Scotland needs a building moratorium — now

 Citizens in New Scotland have called for a moratorium. We hope their town board is listening.

Hundreds of residents turned out last Wednesday to say no to plans for a big-box mall in the heart of town. A developer from the Sphere Group, near Syracuse, described plans to develop the long-fallow Bender melon farm at the intersection of routes 85 and 85A.

The 179-acre site is zoned for commercial development.

A moratorium would give the town time to enact meaningful zoning. It would also provide a deadline for much-needed legislative action.

The only downside to a moratorium is for the developer; it means a delay. For the town, there are no drawbacks.

For years, we’ve urged New Scotland to develop an updated comprehensive land-use plan. It’s been more than 14 years since the town last went through the master-planning process and pressure for development has intensified since then.

Zoning doesn’t prevent growth; it can regulate growth so that it occurs in a way that is palatable to the majority of the town’s people.

“At this time, no application has been submitted, no legal plans are pending,” Supervisor Thomas Dolin told the crowd last Wednesday.

That makes the time right for a moratorium — now, before an application is submitted, which could put the project under the current law.

Gregory Widrick, a managing partner of the Sphere Group, told the crowd last Wednesday that the developers were interested in designing a project that would “co-exist harmoniously” with the rural character of the town.

One man’s harmony is another’s discord.

The only way to ensure a shared vision is to legislate accordingly.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer, editor

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