MALTA – Stewart’s Shops will contribute $200,000 to bring a water district to the Maltaville area, as part of a planned development district approved Monday by the Malta Town Board. The plan involves the private company Saratoga Water Services, which will be investing an unspecified amount of its own money in the plan, said its president, Alexander Mackey, at Monday’s meeting. The company would tap into the Saratoga County Water Authority line that goes into the Luther Forest Technology Campus. The initial water district in Maltaville would extend east and southeast from the intersection of Old State Road and Dugan Hill Road.
What Stewart’s gets out of the deal is rezoning a 2.8-acre parcel from residential to a planned development district at the intersection of Route 67 and Luther Forest Boulevard, where it plans to build a new store. That is the southern entrance and exit of the tech park. The store would be closer to the roads with the gas pumps behind it to the northwest, after Stewart’s reversed and revised the placements following prior input from the Town Board. Also on site would be an Adirondack Trust bank branch.
Residents of the Maltaville area have long sought a water system, since wells in the area tend to have limited and problematic supply. Route 67 resident Christopher Luhn, who lives across from the planned store site, said residents are generally supportive of the Stewart’s plan. But he said there should be specific steps required to buffer neighbors from light and noise associated with the store.
Stewart’s representative Tom Lewis said modern lights are not intrusive, and there would be landscaping to mitigate the impact. “We’ll be more than reasonable,” he said. He also said that given the various town, county and state approvals still required, actual construction of the project is far from imminent.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the Stewart’s PDD. Opposed was Councilman Peter Klotz, who said the development violated the town’s master plan, which sought to keep areas such as Maltaville rural.
The board also voted 4-1 to take several steps to proceed with the Round Lake Road Improvement Plan west of Northway Exit 11, including two new roundabouts which are opposed by many local residents. One of the resolutions indicated there was no significant negative environmental impact, which was disputed in the public comment period by local resident Ellwood “Woody” Sloat. Councilman John Hartzell voted no, as he did in December on a prior vote to proceed with the plan.
The board voted unanimously to ask the state to reduce the speed limit on Round Lake Road to 30 mph. Separately, it voted unanimously to support pending state legislation (Assembly bill 06089) authorizing towns to set speed limits.
The board authorized David Haight, chairman of the Open Space/Agriculture/Trails Committee, to hire an appraiser to calculate the worth of development rights of the Sun Valley horse farm (which also has some cattle), owned by Jacques Boisvert of 393 Brownell Road. Haight’s committee has developed a ranking system to evaluate the benefits of protecting particular properties from development, and he said this farm ranked by far the highest of the four properties considered so far. Boisvert, who was at the meeting, wants to sell the rights, thus protecting the property in perpetuity from development while permitting its use as a farm to continue.
Klotz asked Haight if the extinction of development rights would be reversible by a future town board, and Haight said it was not envisaged as such. Committee member Barbara Conner (wife of this writer) spoke up and compared the concept to the protection of Central Park in Manhattan, which would long since have been developed had it not been legally protected.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville noted that until two years ago, the county had an agricultural protection fund used to purchase development rights. After the meeting, he indicated that this fund could be revived, given the county’s improving financial condition, which he attributed partly to the sale of Maplewood Manor nursing home in Ballston Spa and the landfill in Northumberland. “We stopped the bleeding,” said Sausville, who is chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. Were the county fund to be re-established, it could be a source of revenue to buy development rights in Malta.
Haight also discussed the potential creation of an Agricultural Protection Overlay District in town, to encourage the continuation of farming. At the suggestion of Councilwoman Tara Thomas, the board will discuss this in a workshop meeting at 6 p.m. on April 21.
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