Niskayuna Spotlight Newspaper,
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NISKAYUNA: Residents seek moratorium
Posted on: 02/16/07
Written by: Jessica Harding, Schenectady County Reporter
The Niskayuna Town Board did not make any decision on the Ingersoll
Home or the property it sits on, but the board did listen to concerns
from residents for more than an hour at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Many residents expressed their fears about development in the community
and asked for a moratorium, so the town would have more time to decide
what to do with its historic sites and open spaces.
Resident Dart Strayer has done intensive research on the property
and the many options that are available to the town. He asked that
a moratorium become an option in this issue, because he said the gaps
in the town’s comprehensive plan, which was completed in 2003,
could lead to bad decisions in the future. Strayer said a moratorium
would give the town more time to look at its historic sites and open
“We don’t have a handle on important historical places
or open green spaces,” he said. “This is what makes our
town unique and makes Niskayuna a good place to live. A moratorium
would give us the opportunity to look at what we want to do with these
Strayer said he was concerned not only with the Ingersoll property,
but with land along the Mohawk as well.
Strayer also pushed for an environmental impact statement on the property,
which would make the town look at the environmental and economic impact
development at the site would have on the community.
Strayer said by amending certain zoning laws and limiting the size
of development, the town would encourage smart and appropriate development.
Bill Wilkerson of Dean Street said residents in the community have
become concerned with development in the area and the Ingersoll House
issue has brought those concerns out into the public.
Melissa MacKinnon of Wemple Lane said she was also concerned about
the general development in Niskayuna. She was particularly concerned
about the existing open spaces.
“I was encouraged that the town has looked at how we can make
more safe walking and biking routes. At a global level we have to change
and we have to start here. I think a moratorium would be the sensible
thing to do,” MacKinnon said.
Strayer said the town couldn’t be sued for imposing a moratorium
because the developer has not put enough money, or energy into the
It is unclear whether a moratorium would hinder the Ingersoll nursing
home from using the $3.5 million it was supposed to receive from the
developer to start another nursing home.
Strayer also stressed that Niskayuna already has vacant areas for
businesses, including St. James Plaza and Hannaford Plaza.
Residents want the town to look at more options before making any
“At the end of the day, if you decide to build the mall or tear
the home down at least you can say I looked at all the options and
I made a good decision,“ Strayer said.
Supervisor Luke Smith said he didn’t understand where the residents
were coming from when they said Niskayuna had out-of-control development.
“We made changes to the zoning laws to make sure we didn’t
have sprawling development on Route 7. There is limited available space
for Niskayuna to expand its tax base,” Smith said.
Smith said a moratorium would delay the process.
Councilwoman Liz Kasper said the moratorium is a delay, but for a
“It’s not a malicious delay tactic, but it will allow
us to come up with more uses and more ideas,” Kasper said to
Smith. “You have been pushing this, and I don’t like it.”
The board will discuss the Ingersoll House at its Tuesday, Feb. 27
meeting. Smith said action would probably be taken at the board’s
March 13 meeting.
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