Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

Friday, 21 April 2017 01:17

Wilton Considers Going Solar

WILTON — At the request of town board members, Comptroller Jeffrey Reale is researching the means by which “community solar” arrays can be installed for more energy efficiency in Wilton.

“The town is very interested in joining in on a project that is both ‘clean energy’ and can save the town money in the future,” Reale wrote on April 11 to Jeffrey Conrad, president of the advisory firm Solomon Energy. 

Town officials are considering the construction of an additional building at their Traver Road complex, so Reale explained in his letter that he “can envision our electricity usage going up considerably over the next two years.”

At the monthly Wilton Town Board meeting on April 6, Reale was asked by Councilwoman Joanne Klepetar and Supervisor Arthur Johnson about his previous attempts to study the installation of solar panels on town property.

“It’s still worth pursuing,” Reale responded, noting how the size of any solar array must be sufficiently large enough to qualify for state funding.

Conrad at Solomon Energy wrote to Reale that the state Public Service Commission “made significant adjustments to the crediting aspects of solar which will once again make projects financially viable for customers in the state.”

Details should be finalized by “late summer or early fall,” added Conrad.

Still, once solar panels are installed, some municipalities and even solar companies are “having a hard time” connecting to the electricity grid, Reale said.

He cited as an example the Town of Halfmoon, which was awarded a grant in 2014 to install a large solar array at a water-treatment plant but has been unable to supply the electricity generated as originally planned.

Halfmoon Supervisor Kevin Tollisen did not return a request for comment.

“You’re at the mercy of National Grid,” Reale said. “They don’t connect it to the grid so you can’t take advantage of it.” 

Friday, 21 April 2017 01:08

A Clean Way to Heat and Cool at Skidmore

[In photos: The slope behind Skidmore’s Bernhard Theater under which geothermal pipes were installed.  Levi Rogers (at left) and Paul Lundberg in one of Skidmore’s geothermal control rooms. Photos by Larry Goodwin.]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A gentle slope on the campus of Skidmore College—one that leads down to a pond rippled by two fountains—naturally hides the evidence of previous construction.

Several years ago, contractor machines had made a mess of it by digging straight down 450 feet to install a field of five-inch-wide pipes, which supply a sophisticated geothermal heating and cooling system at the college.

The lush green grass behind the Bernhard Theater building now makes the clean-energy infrastructure impossible to see.

Last year, another large geothermal installation was completed on campus after Facilities Services crews had ripped up a portion of the Palamountain parking lot, in preparation for construction of a Center for Integrated Sciences.

“Nobody really knows what we’ve been doing here for a long time,” stated Paul Lundberg, the assistant director of Facilities Services. Lundberg is widely considered on campus to be the most enthusiastic promoter of geothermal energy projects.

Lundberg is happy to explain how “closed-loop” networks of pipes circulate famously pure local water for indoor climate control at Skidmore. The goal is to get “the best bang for your buck” in terms of energy consumption, he said.

“Geothermal heat pump installations use the constant temperature under the ground’s frost line to renewably heat and cool homes and businesses without producing greenhouse gases on site,” the New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NYGEO) states in a summary of the technology.

Lundberg admitted that he was eager to attend the NYGEO conference this week at the Radisson Hotel in Albany. In 2015, the same conference—nicknamed “Geopalooza”—was held at Skidmore College.

In 2012, a national academic association recognized Skidmore with an award for the operation of its geothermal energy system.

Before giving a brief tour of one of the system’s two main “nodes,” or control rooms, Lundberg had joined an interview with Karen Kellogg and Levi Rogers, who direct and coordinate various activities through Skidmore’s Sustainability Office.

Rogers said his office works with “a large group of people on campus” who are united in their support of Skidmore’s environmentally sustainable projects. These include the promotion of solar power, ambitious recycling and composting programs, and the annual maintenance of a thriving community garden on campus.

Many students are currently participating in Earth Week activities, which include an off-campus March for Science starting at noon on Saturday in Congress Park and a film screening about the Hudson River on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Emerson Auditorium.

Kellogg, Lundberg and Rogers sat down together outside a coffee shop on the second floor of the Case Center, as Skidmore students and faculty were socializing or studying intently nearby.

Kellogg explained that, at present, geothermal energy heats and cools nearly 40 percent of the square footage inside all of Skidmore’s buildings. That includes the Arthur Zankel Music Center, Tang Teaching Museum, the Northwoods and Sussman student apartments, and numerous other structures on campus.

More geothermal projects are being planned to increase the college’s overall energy efficiency, she said.

Lundberg described how Skidmore’s geothermal system (in scientific terms) is able to store heat energy very efficiently due to a large underground formation of Dolostone, which he called “near perfect for optimum heat exchange.”

“We’ve done our homework,” Lundberg added.

Rogers pointed out that Skidmore utilizes all of the geothermal power generated on site, which he said eliminates any need for the college to participate in complicated “renewable energy credit” markets.

“I really do think that sets us apart from other institutions,” Rogers said.

According to John Manning, a spokesman for Earth Sensitive Solutions in Skaneateles, New York, a firm that has partnered with Skidmore to install geothermal pipes, emissions of greenhouse gases are “going to be a growing concern” in the years ahead.

Manning said the New York Energy Research and Development Authority is close to finalizing economic incentives that could spur more commercial and residential projects statewide similar to those being completed at Skidmore.

“It’s good to see geothermal finally catching on,” Manning said. He called it “the best sustainable way to lower our carbon footprint.” 

MALTA — Fewer than 10 percent of Malta’s residents participated in a water survey mailed last year by town officials, who are considering the installation of more water and sewer lines in several parts of town.

“We don’t have water out here and it’s something that everybody takes for granted until it happens to them,” said Councilman Craig Warner, chairman of the 11-member committee that has studied the matter since April 2016. “That’s what I found out.”

The committee’s four-part mission consists of identifying water needs throughout Malta; accessibility and priority needs, and the associated costs; potential funding methods; and analyzing the grant process to obtain funds.

At the April 17 Malta Town Board meeting, Warner gave a presentation regarding the water survey. Of more than 13,000 town residents, roughly 600 had responded.

“It was a very controlled survey,” Warner said, noting how multiple responses from property owners were not allowed.

Warner explained that residents on Knapp Road have significant difficulties drilling wells for water due to excessive shale deposits underground.

Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said homeowners in the nearby hamlet of Maltaville, in particular, have been“suffering”without sufficient water “for quite some time.”

“There are several places in the town of Malta that need water,” the supervisor said.

The current task is to build upon a previous study that focused on Maltaville, according to Warner. He said a final report should be prepared by June.

His committee established six separate “areas” of Malta; the largest includes Round Lake and extends north along the Town of Stillwater border. A majority of respondents live in Area 2, which goes from the southern end of Saratoga Lake west to Route 9.

Nearly 475 people rated the town’s water “average, low or very low” quality, the survey results show. A total of 576 people expressed a “desire to migrate to municipal water.”

According to DeLucia, there are water and sewer lines already installed along Route 9 to an apartment complex just south of the Malta Drive-In movie theater. New commercial development all along the Route 9 corridor is adding pressure to extend those lines farther north, he said.

In general, DeLucia added, it costs about $1 million per mile to install water and sewer infrastructure. It gets more expensive if rock formations impede progress.

Warner indicated that the town received two bids for further study. A bid by the Chazen Companies came in at $13,500, while Delaware Engineering’s bid was $22,320.

The town board has yet to choose the winning bidder to proceed. Warner estimated that the process of selecting contractors and securing the proper funds would be drawn out for another four years.

“If you guys can design a better mousetrap, we’re all ears,” stated Councilman Timothy Dunn. He had addressed his comment to Joe Lanaro and another representative of the Chazen Companies.

“I’m looking forward to working with the town to move this project forward,” Lanaro responded. 

Friday, 21 April 2017 00:37

Cudney’s New Owner a Natural Fit

[In photos : Joyce Ure in the Cudney’s plant on Aletta Street; Gatha Fair explains the dry-cleaning “ATM” at the Weibel Avenue Cudney’s; employee Priest Franklin at a shirt-press machine; the Weibel Avenue location as decorated with wall art by Cudney’s driver Steve Burr. Photos by Larry Goodwin.]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After twenty years of dedicated effort, Joyce Ure is more than ready to take the helm of Cudney’s Cleaners.

“I am so thrilled. I’ve known her since she was a teenager,” stated Lynette Whaley, whose father James Cudney started the popular dry-cleaning business in 1952.

Ure is “very organized and efficient,” Whaley added. 

On April 14, Ure finalized paperwork at the Adirondack Trust Company that officially makes her the new owner of Cudney’s.

Cudney’s, which operates in five locations spread across the city and Wilton, claims a solid reputation as “Saratoga’s eco-friendly dry cleaner.”

Ure first met Whaley and started working at the business in 1997. She said Cudney’s customers will notice very little difference in the day-to-day operations.

For about 10 years, Ure has basically managed Cudney’s while Whaley focused on her role as director of personnel development at Saratoga Springs High School. Ure lives in Northumberland with her husband Joe and one of their two sons. 

Whaley said she plans to retire from the school district this summer to spend more time with her family.

Ure realized long ago how much customers appreciate the dry cleaning and laundry services provided by Cudney’s. “We’re all so busy,” she said. “It’s worthwhile and it’s convenient.”

With support from 28 employees, including her mother Sandy Pellock, Ure is confident that the laundry needs of 3,000 active customers will be met as professionally as ever.

The business invested in computer software, she explained, that tracks each individual clothing item dropped off with bar codes, as well as modern machines that keep the garments moving and maximize employee health and productivity.

Cudney’s even purchased machines that bag the final product. Such technology has “made our lives a whole lot easier,” Ure said. 

“It’s my baby,” offered 42-year Cudney’s employee Nancy Bean, referring to the conveyor machine. “It beats bagging.”

In the Cudney’s Weibel Avenue location, Ure said apartment renters in the area find the dry-cleaning “ATM” machine quite convenient whenever employee Gatha Fair locks the main doors. That machine has 24-hour access.

Plus, according to Ure, the chemical solvents now used in dry cleaning activities are far safer for the environment than they were years ago.

“The thing that I like most is that I do something different every day,” Ure added, noting how it’s not uncommon for her to leave the management duties aside and hop in one of Cudney’s trucks to deliver orders.

“We’ve always given back to the community. That’s what keeps me coming to work every day,” Ure said. 

Friday, 14 April 2017 14:40

Kona Ice ‘Chill Out’ Day

SARATOGA SPRINGS — With Tax Day right around the corner, many of us are reaching into our pockets to pay off Uncle Sam. To relieve taxpayers of the stress associated with meeting the federal deadline, Kona Ice will be hosting its fourth annual National “Chill Out” Day.

On Tuesday, April 18, an island-inspired truck will be parked at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs from 12 to 3 p.m. to hand out free cups of tropical shaved ice and complimentary Hawaiian leis to all who stop by. The refreshing treat will ensure that there is no taxation without relaxation this tax season.

National “Chill Out” Day is one of the many ways Kona Ice is encouraging the nation to take a step back, relax and enjoy a Kona. It is one small, yet powerful, way the brand hopes to put a smile on people’s faces. Through partnerships with schools, youth sports leagues and other neighborhood organizations, Kona Ice has given back more than $40 million to the communities it serves.

For more information about booking Kona Ice for a fundraiser or event, visit www.kona-ice.com. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017 22:46

Milton Officials Debate Ethics

[Author's Note: The Town of Milton announced that its Ethics Board will hold a public meeting on Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at Town Hall, 503 Geyser Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020. Questions can be addressed to Ryan Isachsen at 518-288-3018.]

MILTON — At its regular meeting on April 5, the Milton Town Board voted to violate its own Code of Ethics on the condition that changes would be made to accommodate a new town officer.

Milton Supervisor Dan Lewza advised the town attorney to review the ethics code and determine the proper changes. A public hearing would have to be held for the town board to formally approve them.

Lewza did not return a request for comment regarding when either the public hearing or such a vote would occur.

The April 5 vote followed a presentation given at a previous town board meeting by Megan Soden, who was approved as a new member of the Milton Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Soden is also an active member of the town’s Republican Committee.

“No town officer or employee shall hold any office in a political party or political organization,” reads Section 14-15 of the Milton Code of Ethics. “No town officers or town employees shall serve as a committeeperson of any political party or political organization.”

Other sections of the code pertain to town officers’ actions and the appearance of impropriety; use of position for personal or private gain; treatment of the public; disclosure of interest in legislation; holding investments or being employed in conflict with official duties; use of municipal property; nepotism; and more.

At the town board’s March 15 meeting, Soden had argued that her constitutional rights would be violated if she were denied any town position as a member of the Republican Committee. Her comments elicited a round of applause from board members and supporters in the room.

“There are many people that want to be involved” in town government but they are “handicapped” by the ethics code, said Anna Stanko, who chairs the Republican Committee in Milton.

The existing code was passed by the town board in 2010 after being revised and is enforced by a five-member Ethics Board. They are among about 25 people in total who comprise Milton’s governing bodies.

Members of the ethics board serve three-year terms, and they are empowered to review complaints, issue subpoenas and obtain records directly related to all town employees and officers. Board members also must adhere to the code’s strict confidentiality rules throughout the process of investigating complaints.

In addition, the ethics board is empowered only to “recommend appropriate disciplinary action” to the town board, which must then vote to actually do so.

“To me, ethics is all about appearance...and we should take the high road on it,” stated Councilwoman Barbara Kerr, who voted against the motion to appoint Soden as a ZBA member on April 5.

“I think she’d be fine on any board. I think she’d be a great addition,” Kerr continued. Yet the proper route for Soden would have been to “resign from the committee,” Kerr added, before the vote that approved her spot on the ZBA.

Prior to the 2010 revision of the ethics code, according to Kerr, a committee of town leaders was convened over the course of a year and thoroughly considered every aspect. “It wasn’t something they took lightly,” she said.

“Our ethics code still stands. If the board votes to change it, that’s fine,” Kerr concluded. “This is the law of the town.” 

Thursday, 13 April 2017 22:37

Village Faces Difficult Budget Future

In photos: The Ballston Spa Village Board in action. (From left) Volunteer firefighters Glenn Bowers Jr., third assistant; Kevin Krough, second assistant; Michael Bashore, first assistant; and Chief Bill Lewis. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

 

BALLSTON SPA — In the 16 minutes before he invited comments about the budget from village residents, Mayor John Romano shared his own blunt assessment of the $4.1 million spending plan.

“We’re facing unprecedented fiscal challenges,” Romano told a full Village Hall conference room.

Rising costs, he said, are “devouring” the village budget, including a 99 percent increase in workers’ compensation payments and a 116 percent increase in contributions to the New York state retirement fund.

When combined with “aging infrastructure” and various unfunded mandates from the state, the mayor said, small villages like Ballston Spa are in a bind.

“There’s a lot of hidden issues that people don’t understand,” Romano concluded. “We have to come up with creative ways to increase our revenues.”

Newly elected Trustee Noah Shaw suggested redeveloping for commercial use the former Angelica industrial property one block north of Village Hall. “Those are the kinds of things that jump out to me,” he said.

“The question is how do we build from here” and find ways to ensure that “the village is properly funded,” Shaw added.

About a half-dozen local residents spoke up during the public comment period, inquiring about subjects that ranged from online access to Ballston Spa’s budget, to fund balance procedures, to discounted water and sewer rates.

Gina Marozzi, a village property owner, said more residents should make it a priority to pay their property taxes on time. “Everybody’s got to do their part,” she said.

Romano responded by explaining that an average of $160,000 gets caught up in collection efforts each year, usually for about 6 months, but that Saratoga County provides financial support to the village in that time.

Eventually, the board voted unanimously to adopt the $4.1 million budget as written. An estimated $1.3 million of that amount will be raised through property taxes.

In other business, Trustee Robert Cavanaugh announced that a yard-waste pickup has been scheduled to take place in Ballston Spa from Monday, April 17 through Friday, May 12. Crews will start in the south of the village and work north, and he suggested that residents should act sooner rather than later to avoid second trips by work crews.

Residents are not permitted to mix their natural piles of leaves and branches with any type of household garbage or construction debris, Cavanaugh emphasized.

The board also approved the Ballston Spa Fire Department’s new leadership team. They represent both the Eagle Matt Lee and Union Fire Company stations.

Chief Officer Bill Lewis said the all-volunteer department has nearly 130 members, who elect the leadership team internally before presenting the lineup to the village board. 

In photos: The Wilton Town Board concludes its weekly meeting. James Norton and Janine Stuchin at The Prevential Council's main office. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

WILTON — With his laptop in hand on a recent Thursday evening, James Norton politely informed the Wilton Town Board about his group’s coordinated efforts to tackle opioid addiction in local communities.

“If you have any questions as to how we, as a government, can help your organization, let us know,” responded Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson. “It really is a big problem in this area.”

Norton, a coordinator for The Prevention Council in Saratoga Springs, shared his findings with the board on April 6. He said drug addiction is not caused solely by heroin and fentanyl sold illegally in the streets.

He talked about the hundreds of pounds of prescription pills—most containing synthetic opiates—that people have thrown out during drug take-back events.

Norton said more than half of “misused medications” are emanating from cabinets inside the homes of friends or families, which often leads to more serious problems.

“Four out of five individuals in treatment for heroin misuse started with a prescription opioid,” Norton says in a written compilation of his research.

“There has been a 222 percent increase in treatment rates in upstate New York and a 136 percent increase statewide,” Norton added.

He also described the measurable impacts on both drugged and drunk driving.

“The younger generations tend to drive under the influence of drugs more than they do alcohol,” Norton said.

Norton went on to promote the next prescription drug take-back event scheduled for April 29, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at eight locations from Clifton Park to Moreau.

The Prevention Council supports a variety of programs that are aimed at young people and funded mostly through state and federal grants. The group “is always looking for new members” to help out, Norton told the board in Wilton.

The council’s motto is “Helping Youth Navigate Life’s Challenges.” It is part of a coalition of groups and law-enforcement agencies organizing the pill take-back events, including another on August 26, with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

On May 10 at the South Glens Falls High School, the group Community Coalition for Family Wellness is organizing more informative presentations on the subject of “Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic.” That event starts at 6 p.m.

“We’ve got to get the drugs out of the medicine cabinets,” insisted Janine Stuchin, executive director of The Prevention Council, in a subsequent interview arranged by Norton.

Stuchin admitted her surprise three years ago when a family member was prescribed two bottles of painkillers for the removal of a wisdom tooth. Many of those pills went unused and were later discarded, she said.

According to Stuchin, there was a time when opioids were prescribed by doctors only for intensive medical care at the end of life. But by the late 1990s, she said, economic markets motivated doctors to rely more heavily on pills for all sorts of “palliative” relief among their patients.

That, in turn, fueled much higher abuse rates for opioids, which are classified in federal law among the most addictive of all drugs.

Stuchin thinks that medical professionals should prioritize finding solutions for such problems right alongside cancer research. But the public stigma of opioid addiction prevents the emergence of more compassionate strategies, she added.

“People relapse with addiction,” Stuchin said, “and they need community support.”

The Prevention Council, in conjunction with Project Safe Point, offers training classes and free kits every month to parents, teachers, nurses and many others to administer the nasal spray Naloxone (or Narcan), which can prevent opioid overdoses.

According to Mike McEvoy, a coordinator for Saratoga County Emergency Medical Services, there was a substantial increase last year in overdose calls to 911— an average of roughly 30 per week—but they appear to be decreasing in frequency.

“There are occasional spikes but the steady increase we had been seeing prior to and during 2016 seems to have leveled off,” McEvoy said in an email.

Saratoga County Commissioner of Mental Health, Dr. Michael Prezioso, said equally important addiction services are provided to individuals by emergency departments, drug courts, counselors and treatment centers.

He said establishing short-term detox facilities also should be considered by local officials as a means to address drug addiction.

“It’s not just the arrests” that make a difference, Prezioso said.

On April 10, both Prezioso and Saratoga County Director of Public Health, Catherine Duncan, were scheduled to give reports to the county’s Public Health Committee.

At that meeting, Duncan was pressed on efforts being made in the county to counteract drug addiction.

She explained that her department, among other measures, is working with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to reduce drug problems during seasonal concerts.

Clifton Park Supervisor Philip Barrett ended the discussion by emphasizing how the Saratoga County Sheriff ’s Office routinely posts related updates on its Facebook page.

A major difficulty, according to Barrett, is that certain opioids are “easy to get” and “cheap” in the streets. He said those basic facts affect “every single community in the country.” 

Thursday, 13 April 2017 22:13

Daycare on the Hill

In photos: J’Mae Shemroske and her daughter Estrella with their baby goat. Shemroske in the entrance of her Sweet Chickadee School daycare. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

GREENFIELD — Amidst the boulders and tall trees of Daniels Road sits the homestead in which J’Mae Shemroske delights in caring for kids. 

Shemroske’s daughter and son—third and first graders, respectively, at the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs—are probably her most important charges.

But Shemroske and her partner, Alan VanDyk, make the best use of their woodsy one-acre property by operating a licensed daycare business for infants and kids up to age 5, as well as summer camps for kids between the ages of 3 and 11.

Parents drop off their kids at the bottom of a steep slope, and follow a wood-chip path to the daycare room itself.

“There’s not many daycare models that have a male in the picture,” Shemroske said during a recent interview. “It’s really special for us.”

“You feel appreciated,” added VanDyk, a former commercial truck driver.

In addition to demonstrating the value of vegetarian, all-organic and homemade meals, Shemroske said her goal is to “ease” children into their kindergarten years.

By next autumn, Shemroske hopes to reach the state-required maximum of 12 kids enrolled in her Sweet Chickadee School daycare.

At present, Shemroske and VanDyk watch over five little ones, mostly in a room that he renovated on the lower level of the house. A large woodstove in the middle of the space is cordoned off for safety. A second room will be renovated sometime this summer.

Weather and season permitting, kids can ascend the rocky slopes outside to observe and pet a herd of goats the family keeps in a pen, or even Polar Express trains passing by roughly 50 yards away on tracks in the woods.

Shemroske plans to let loose flocks of chickens to scurry in the yard as well. “We always accept random animal donations,” she said.

In a statement posted online, Shemroske makes her daycare’s mission clear: “Sweet Chickadee School invites children into our home to be nurtured and loved by our family. We provide the best care possible while offering a broad range of developmentally appropriate activities that will delight and inspire children,” she explains.

“We live a rich life here,” Shemroske adds, “where beauty, nature, art, warmth, animals, joy and farming are always present and eagerly shared.” She also notes the irony of her business “growing in a shrinking countryside.”

According to records at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the daycare received two inspections in the last six months and “no violations” were found.

VanDyk’s family members have long owned property on the opposite side of Daniels Road, near the intersection of Route 9N. Yet he has owned the property at 337 Daniels Road for about 20 years.

Shemroske admits that her “very wholesome, earthy” daycare plans took root in the Greenfield Farmers’ Market, in which the couple had become involved for the first time about 10 years ago.

The market, located on Middle Grove Road, opens at the end of June and runs through September. Local vendors sell products there on Fridays between 4 and 7 p.m.

The Sweet Chickadee School’s phone number is 518-567-9527. For more information, Shemroske also can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

MALTA — A large development called Sage Estates is being proposed for a densely forested area across from the Malta Drive-In movie theater, behind and to the north of the St. Peter Lutheran Church.

On April 3, the Malta Town Board discussed the proposal by Cohoes-based Prime Companies to build more than 100 homes of varying sizes, in addition to retail operations along Route 9, on about 75 acres.

The residential portion of the project calls for one-, two- and four-family structures.

“We’re trying to mix it up,” explained Dean DeVito, a Prime Companies principal and developer of The Hamlet luxury apartment complex in Saratoga Springs. “We’re trying to create a few different price points.”

DeVito said he’s owned the land in Malta for nearly 20 years. He estimated that construction would not start until 2019, considering his familiarity with the lengthy environmental review and approval processes.

The Sage Estates project is being designed in such a way as to attract people who aim to “downsize” in their older years, DeVito said.

James Easton, a land-development specialist at Clifton Park-based MJ Engineering and Land Surveying, joined DeVito in making the presentation.

As planned, the project “provides a nice community setting for everybody,” offered Easton. “There’s a lot of green space and a lot of trees that are going to be preserved.”

DeVito and Easton had sought input from town board members regarding the commercial frontage aspects, as well as increasing the number of homes specified in the Prime Companies proposal.

Councilman John Hartzell expressed his concern that too many residential properties are already being built in Malta. “I would not support increasing the density,” he told DeVito and Easton. 

Anthony Tozzi, Malta’s building and planning coordinator, indicated that the Planning Board—not the town board—has jurisdiction over the matter and would give any final approvals to the Sage Estates subdivision.

Water and sewer lines would have to be extended approximately 1,000 feet, but it is unclear if the town or the developers will pay for that extension.

The recently completed Steeplechase luxury apartment complex is located on the opposite side of Route 9, while another large development of townhouses is under construction off Cramer Road roughly one mile south.

In other business, the town board approved an amendment for a smaller project and referred it to the planning board for review.

According to the resolution, the Park Place Planned Development District would result in nearly 9 acres of “retail, restaurant and commercial uses” about a half-mile south of the town complex.

Steve Wilson, a project manager for Bohler Engineering in Albany, informed town board members that Park Place would add about 80,000 square feet of commercial space to property currently owned by SEFCU.

Wilson said he was not sure if the Malta planning board is expected to address the matter at its next meeting on April 20. 

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Blotter

  • COURTS Charles B. “Chip” Locke, 44, of Porters Corners, pleaded guilty on April 12 to third degree grand larceny, a felony, in connection with the theft of funds from the Greenfield Home School Association. Locke served as treasurer for the Greenfield HSA and admitted to stealing approximately $15,070.70, according to Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Locke is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, during which it is anticipated he will be ordered to serve six months in jail and pay back full restitution to the Greenfield HSA during a period of five years of probation.      Clifford…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON SPA 58 Cypress St., $309,900. Heritage Builders Group LLC sold property to Kathleen and Benjamin Kalesa, Jr.  16 Saddlebrook Blvd., $454,549. Legacy Custom Homes LLC sold property to Brenda and John Thomas, Jr.  810 Route 50, $175,000. Kirby Burnt Hills Realty LLC sold property to RECKDE LLC.  37 Sycamore St., $360,000. Claudette Nealy sold property to Alex Varghese and Mary Pladocostante.  GREENFIELD 35 Southwest Pass, $253,000. Ramon Posada sold property to David and Omega Moya.  17 Rebecca Dr., $430,000. Steven and Suzanne Cousineau sold property to Daniel and Young Elinskas.  280 Middle Grove Rd., $335,000. Carol Hopper sold property…
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