Ballston Journal Your Hometown News since June 14, 1798

Letter to the Editor: Ballston Wrong on Extending Water District

With the spotlight off them and Wal-Mart a foregone conclusion, the Ballston Town Board has found new ways to violate the will of the people and satisfy local developers. What could be wrong with that?

When the water district was extended in 1996 to provide water up Route 50, the law passed by the Town Board prohibited the use of the water for new development. When the town needed water for the Town Hall the existing water line on Goode Street was extended with a similar prohibition: only those homes built before the water lines were extended could link to them; new construction was not allowed to benefit from the expanded water line. And the reason for these two prohibitions against adding more water users? Well both lines extend into the Agriculture District where housing development is discouraged to protect farmland. Both the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Farm Land Protection Plan rank the preservation of our valuable farmland as a top priority, which is precisely why the two laws governing the extensions of the water district specifically prevent development.

The Town Board has the authority to make laws, not break them, but breaking laws is exactly what they did by extending both water districts at the latest “agenda” meeting. Councilman Chuck Curtiss, who is a farm owner, read both of the laws to the other board members at the meeting so ignorance of the laws was not in question. When asked about the obvious efforts to circumvent existing laws, a board member indicated they have the authority to make and change laws. Unfortunately in order to change existing zoning laws the board must first hold a hearing, something Ballston is loath to do. In spite of being made aware of both laws the board agreed to extend both water districts, moves which will benefit developers at the expense of agricultural land.

Sitting on the town board is a councilwoman who is married to a local developer. Kelly freely votes on all sorts of issues including those involving development when an ethical person would excuse herself. Without her vote in favor of illegally extending the water districts, the resolution would not have passed. With at least three upcoming lawsuits over the asphalt plant, one has to wonder at the value of legal advice provided to these elected officials.

Sadly the only option left to the agriculture community and its supporters is to take legal action against the town to stop the illegal use of these two water districts. And legal action costs money, which is why a gofundme site has been created. How much is it worth to you to save your town?

Polly Windels
Town of Ballston

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