Milton Town Board/Ballston Journal

200 Debate Milton Project for Three Hours

Milton Town Board/Ballston Journal

MILTON – The Town Board held a three-hour public hearing Wednesday on a proposed 55-plus rental housing project at 91 Hutchins Road.

About 200 people attended the meeting, which was held at the Milton Community Center to accommodate the crowd.

The 83-unit development is slightly less dense than the original proposal. It would be located on 14 mostly wooded acres north of Hutchins Road and south of Margaret Drive, on the east side of town not far from the Saratoga Springs line. Only one house is there now, owned by the Carter family.

The area is zoned for single-family homes, and according to Michael Toohey, attorney for developer Tom Samascott, 27 of them could be built there under the existing zoning. Dorothy Christiansen, a Hutchins Road resident and leading opponent of the project, disputed that figure, saying about 20 houses could be built.

The developers are asking the Town Board to overrule the current zoning by creating a planned development district. After the meeting, Supervisor Dan Lewza and the two Town Board members hoping to succeed him in this year’s election, Barbara Kerr and Scott Ostrander, all declined to comment on the merits of the proposal and how they are inclined to vote on it. Lewza said he expects the board to make a decision next month.

Most nearby residents who spoke expressed opposition to what they characterized as a disruptive project in a quiet neighborhood, that would increase traffic and diminish their quality of life.  Toohey stressed what he said was the need and demand for senior housing. The monthly rent would be close to $1,800, Samascott said. Opponents said that was more than could be afforded by most neighborhood residents, who would prefer to grow old in their existing homes.

Christiansen was the main spokesperson for opponents, many of whom ceded their three-minute speaking times to her. She said later that 235 people living in 165 homes in the neighborhood have signed petitions opposing the project.

But others supported it, including several people living in another of Samascott’s developments in Milton, Winner’s Circle.

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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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