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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 3, 2009

Roselyn Robinson

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Roselyn Robinson, a lawyer and New Scotland native, is running to give people a choice, she says.

She and running mate Timothy Stanton stand on the other side of the development debate from the GOP’s endorsed candidates and she thinks their stance, which is strongly opposed to a limit on the size of allowable retail development, is better aligned with Republican philosophy.

Regarding water, Robinson said that there are sources in town, aquifers — the obstacle is getting it to people.  She also said that the town could be more pro-active in negotiating with the neighboring town of Bethlehem, which owns a reservoir located in New Scotland.

The town’s comprehensive plan could be updated, she said.  “There are some disparities that could be tweaked,” she said.  “There could be some changes, not a massive overhaul.”

When the plan was written, things like windmills weren’t an issue, she said, so they aren’t addressed.  Of the plan and laws governing zoning as a whole, she concluded, “Current zoning law is pretty protective.”

Agriculture should “absolutely” be promoted in areas conducive to growing, she said, adding that the commercial zone, which has been used largely as farmland, should be developed commercially.

“To eat up our commercial district for anything but commercial is against the comprehensive plan,” she said.

“Clustering is clearly a good idea,” Robinson said, explaining that it helps to preserve open space.  Of the commercially zoned land at the intersection of routes 85 and 85A, she said that there is a good opportunity for residents in the soon-to-be developed Kennsington Woods residential development to walk to shopping in the abutting commercial zone.

Robinson applauds citizens who offer their views, she said, but at some meetings over the last year-and-a-half, it got out of control and should have been “gaveled down.”  The key is letting everyone speak, she said, which leads to civil discussion.  “Sometimes people’s emotions get the better of them,” she said.

It’s incumbent on the board members to go outside of their circles to hear opinions on all sides of an issue, Robinson said.  Board members must listen to constituents, but also know who the majority is, she said, adding that, just because people may claim to represent the majority, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

The vocal citizens’ group called New Scotlanders 4 Sound Economic Development often claims to represent the views of most residents of the town.  The group stridently opposes Robinson.

The planning board’s job, she said, is to look at the zoning law and the set of facts presented to it by the applicant and apply the law.  It is not designed to respond to the will of the public, she said; it needs to follow the law.

“This one issue has polarized people so much,” Robinson said in discussing the role of political parties.  Parties used to be defined by principles, she said, and a cap on the allowable size for a retail store — which is supported by LaGrange and Voss — is not a Republican stance.

Although she is planning to run on the New Scotland FIRST line with Stanton and the GOP’s pick for supervisor, Michael Fields, she said of seeking the Republican line, “Frankly, you need to have a major party line.”  The GOP is her party, she said, but in this election, New Scotland FIRST represents her values.  (See related story.)

“I’ve been a Republican since the day I could vote,” she said, adding of the two lines, “I’m hoping to have both.”

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