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Archive for December 19th, 2008

expertise!

The City has been presented with a proposal from Saratoga Associates (TSA) to update our zoning ordinances and maps. At the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, December 16th, attorneys Paul Wollman and Bob Going offered to provide these services for “free” and at one point, for “minimal cost.”

I must express my discomfort with awarding this critically important task to two of the chief advocates for locating the overwhelmingly unpopular C&D landfill (aka, “the Dump”) within City limits.

As this process is critically important to future development in the City, I assert that this project should be objectively directed by an entity that is experienced in the technical and legal concerns necessary to draft a lawful zoning ordinance and new maps.

As landscape architects, architects, engineers and planners, TSA’s mission is to “ensure projects are carried out with imagination, intelligence, technical mastery, and a strong environmental conscience.” They have extensive experience in environmental regulatory planning, public policy and compliance issues. They work with federal, state and local agencies to design and implement creative measures that balance economic development with environmental protection for numerous communities in this state and across the nation.

TSA will facilitate the formation of a working committee comprised of planning, zoning and legislative representatives, along with code enforcement staff and volunteers from the public to ensure a healthy cross-section of participants in this process. Their comprehensive proposal promises deliverables in the way of committee meetings, agendas, public hearings, concepts and completed documents. In addition, they will draft a full environmental assessment in conformance with SEQRA and assist in the preparation of all required forms and other regulatory requirements. They will work with the Council to ensure the final draft is approved and all necessary steps are taken to file the document with the Secretary of State pursuant to State Law. TSA will complete all work in a six (6) month period.

It is my hope that all interested parties show support for this initiative and that the Council will proceed to contract with TSA. Implementation of these zoning changes had been identified as warranting immediate action in our Comprehensive Plan of 2003. This project has languished for five years. It is time to achieve this goal.

For more information about TSA, visit: http://www.saratogaassociates.com/

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