Malta Limits Multi-Family Development Downtown, Passes 2018 Budget

Malta Limits Multi-Family Development Downtown, Passes 2018 Budget

MALTA – The Town Board passed a resolution Thursday limiting the density of multi-family dwellings downtown to a maximum of 15 units per acre.

The Town Board passed the resolution amending the Form Based Code to limit the density of multi-family development downtown after delaying the vote during the last month’s board meeting to add language that would exempt developers whose projects exceeded the proposed amendment, but were already under review by the Malta Planning Board.

The addition of the language protecting developments already in the planning stage constituted a substantive change, requiring that the board hold another public hearing on the amendment Thursday before voting on the resolution.

During the last board meeting on Oct. 16, Town Board member Timothy Dunn objected to delaying the vote on the amendment that the board had been working on for several months in order to add language protecting developers.

However, the other board members argued that it would be unfair to pass the resolution without the exemption for developers who had already spent time and resources designing plans that would immediately be outlawed by passage of the resolution without the added language.

Two proposed projects would have been impacted if the board had passed the amendment as originally written, one at Malta Crossings calls for the construction of 12 three story apartment buildings with a total of 96 units, one three story senior housing building with 70 units and two clubhouses.

The other proposed project that would have been affected consists of four two-story mixed-use buildings, two single-story shop front buildings, a hotel and 11 multi-family residential buildings with over 300 apartments. The project had final approval and was waiting for comments from the Town Engineer as of last month.

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Following last month’s meeting the Town Board added language to the amendment that would allow a 20 percent density bonus over the multi-family density limits if at least 25 percent of the proposed project was reserved for senior housing.

Town Board members Maggi Ruisi, Craig Warner, Dunn and Town Supervisor Vincent DeLucia voted in favor of the resolution limiting multi-family dwellings downtown to a maximum of 15 units per acre. Town Board member John Hartzell recused himself from the vote and discussion.

In other news, the Town Board voted unanimously to pass the $10.09 million 2018 town budget. The budget represents a $32,593 decrease over the current year’s budget and reduces spending by approximately $120,000 due in part to an increase in sales tax revenue and retirements.

The budget calls for a $12,000 tax levy to fund the ambulance service volunteers at a rate of approximately $.0063 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value and a library tax levy of $339,000 at a rate of approximately $.132 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value. Both tax levies were approved by voters.

The town plans to levy a $2.09 million fire protection tax, an increase of $72, 620 over the current year’s budget. The tax levy would result in a tax rate of $.834 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value.

The town’s fire protection tax levy covers the cost of the Volunteer Firefighter Service Award Program and fire service contracts with the Malta Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, the Round Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the Malta Ridge Volunteer Fire Company.

Under the 2018 budget a property owner with an assessed value of $250,000 will pay approximately $243 in real property taxes next year.

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The 2018 budget will not levy a town-wide highway tax for the seventeenth consecutive year and the sewer charge will remain at $170 per equivalent dwelling unit in Sewer District 2.

Appropriations under the tentative budget include a 1.84 percent cost of living adjustment applied to the salaries of town employees in addition to eligible step or longevity raises, $1.1 million for street repairs and improvements, $382,000 for highway machinery and repairs and $35,400 for senior programs and services.

Hartzell thanked Town Comptroller Kevin King, the town’s department heads, the other members of the board, Supervisor DeLucia and all those who worked on drafting the 2018 town budget.

“Folks really had kind of a problem-solving attitude and we didn’t make a ton of changes, but we made a few important ones and there are compromise. Everybody, I think, in the end wound up with something that is not perfect, but it’s good and it satisfies out basic needs for the town,” Hartzell said.

“I’m very grateful for everyone’s contribution,” Hartzell said. “Really it’s a product of people’s work and our collaborative effort.”

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Reporter Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She wrote for the Mohawk Valley Compass for two years covering the GASD Board of Education. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.

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