MALTA – After 15 months of resident review and neighborhood input, the town of Malta completed its zoning law overhaul to refocus development efforts on commercial zoning investment in key corridors.
“This final zoning update is the result of 16 months of hard work and diligent review, first by a volunteer resident committee, then the planning staff, and finally the Town Board,” said Deputy Supervisor Darren O’Connor. “These amendments mean the Town Board has completed its initial efforts to realign land use in town with market realities and enable real commercial investment.”
At the July 2 Malta Town Board meeting, the Town Board voted to finalize approval on the rezoning effort. The new amendment simplifies and amends local zoning laws by reducing the number of zones from six to three, while updating the law to allow more commercial uses.
In addition to this update, the legislation seeks to focus commercial zoning to the first 500 from Route 9 and increases buffering requirements to protect residential uses from commercial growth.
The legislation further includes significant land conservation designations to protect environmentally sensitive areas in the corridor.
Since 2016, town government has focused on a shift in philosophy regarding development, building a strategy that will increase private investment in the town and enable the town to remain tax-free.
This strategy has been focused on attracting commercial investment to broaden the town’s assessed tax base and grow the town’s share of county sales tax revenue.
Steps taken thus far include a variety of legislative and strategic actions, such as:
- In February of 2016, the board changed zoning on Route 9 South/Route 67 East to commercial from residential, based on longtime input from the community;
- In August of 2016 the town established an economic development committee to build a strategic plan focused on attracting commercial investment. That committee plans to issue its initial report by summer’s end;
- Following input from neighborhood residents, the Town Board voted in October 2016 to rezone Route 67 West from residential to commercial;
- Following input from the Economic Development Committee, the town’s engineers, developers, staff and local economic developers, in 2017 the town eliminated recreation mitigation fees on commercial developments. These steps led to the assessed tax roll growing by more than $160 million and revenue increasing more than $5.1 million from the town’s share of Saratoga County sales tax.
Following approval of this final component of the town’s commercial rezoning efforts, the town will shift its attention to updating the Townwide Comprehensive Master Plan in the second half of the year.