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Dolin: Target realistic commercial development

New Scotland zoning regulations reform could help growth; affordable housing

— Town officials will soon release a request for individuals interested in joining the new Economic Development Advisory Committee, but there is some debate over the process.

Town Board member William Hennessey, who spearheaded the effort, said he plans to have a formal request urging people to apply for the committee posted to the town’s website before April. Hennessey, at the board’s meeting on Wednesday, March 12, said the committee could provide recommendations on how to attract economic development and foster existing businesses.

Resident Saul Abrams questioned how the board could appoint the committee before amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan were completed. Abrams, who read comments from his wife, Edith, said the plan would be the vision residents have for the town and “blueprint” to follow.

“Aren’t we putting the cart before the horse?” asked Abrams. “Shouldn’t we set up our criteria before we set up the committee?”

Hennessey said the committee could be part of the process of determining what would work best for the town, along with getting input from residents. He said the plan, as it exists, recommends forming the committee and believed there was one previously in the town.

“All of those things are all part of the public information process that we could bring into it to determine what elements would work, what we are looking for and what fits,” Hennessey said.

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said the committee could help determine what business would be interested moving to the town.

“We need to know what is available,” Dolin said. “We don’t really know if it’s realistic to have a certain kind of an enterprise. … The population density is so low that apparently retail is not going to happen here any time soon.”

Dolin said if a “vision is not realistic” then “it’s a waste of time.” He said often times a vision for a municipality is created in “vacuum” and isn’t realistic of what the community would support or attract.

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