Malta Town Board workshop/Ballston Journal

Malta Gets Short Shrift From DOT

MALTA – The state Department of Transportation has rejected several requests from town officials.

Speaking at a Malta Town Board meeting Monday, Councilman John Hartzell said DOT officials told him it does not plan to make improvements to Route 67 west of the Northway, because other roads are in worse shape. Also, Hartzell said, the DOT maintained that the road is not over capacity despite impending new industrial, commercial and residential projects just over the town line in Ballston. Hartzell and other Malta officials have been pressing the state to make improvements to the road.

Hartzell was reporting on the recommendations of a citizens committee he chaired, which recommended changing the road’s zoning from residential to commercial.

The board also held a workshop with proponents of the Adirondack Aquatic Center project, which would be built on the south side of Route 67 near State Farm Insurance, on  land to be purchased from Ted Willette (the town Republican chairman).

Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said that contrary to town expectations, the DOT does not plan to construct a sidewalk on a new bridge over the Northway at East High Street, which it expects to build within the next few years. The existing bridge has for many years been rated as “structurally deficient” by DOT.

DeLucia said the DOT would not put in the sidewalk unless the town paid $500,000 for it, which the board declined to do.

The board did not discuss DOT’s potential closing of the Nelson Avenue Extension bridge over the Northway, just north of the Malta line.

DeLucia did reveal that the DOT has turned down the town’s request to cut the speed limit on Ruhle Road south, even as another petition was accepted from local residents requesting a speed limit reduction on Route 9P. The DOT has routinely turned down such requests made by the town, which does not have the power to set its own speed limits.

In other business, the board voted 3-2 to hire the LA Group for $3,750 as a consultant to assess prospects for the restoration of all or part of the historic iron fence at Dunning Street Rural Cemetery. DeLucia and Councilwoman Maggi Ruisi voted against the motion, while Hartzell and Councilmen Timothy Dunn and Craig Warner were in favor. Preservationists want to raise private funds to restore the fence, while the cemetery association is more inclined to the cheaper option of replacing it.

The board approved an amendment to the Bishops Square planned development district west of Exit 11, south of Round Lake Road and east of Raylinsky Road. The change, now referred to the Planning Board, would facilitate construction of a self-storage facility.

There was a continuation of discussion about whether to slow down or halt construction of apartments, especially downtown, with most board members favoring a limit on density per acre.

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Reporter Bob Conner has worked 21 years in various positions at the Gazette of Schenectady, and before that four years as a reporter at the Glens Falls Post-Star. He won two first-place writing awards from the New York Associated Press Association for newspapers with circulation between 50,000 and 250,000. Bob has a Phi Beta Kappa bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University, and an associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling from HVCC. He is a published author and is currently writing a historical novel about the last four months in the life of Ulysses S.Grant

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