Health care offices would be the only exception to a requirement that buildings in downtown Ballston Spa have retail businesses on the first floor, under a newly proposed zoning change.
The proposed zoning change being considered by the Village Board would require downtown buildings to be retail, with the exception of “medical doctors, dentists, physical therapists and chiropractors.” Current language referring to exemptions for “other necessary human services” would be dropped.
“This is to insure there’s no confusion as to what the law means,” said Mayor John P. Romano.
A public hearing on the proposed change will be held at 7:15 p.m. Monday, April 22, at the Village Hall. Romano said he expects the board to act on the proposed change that night.
Another proposed change would state that 80 percent of the ground floor in the downtown must be retail. The current law doesn’t make any reference to a percentage of retail space.
The zoning revision is being proposed as the village remains in a legal dispute with the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council over that organization’s efforts to locate downtown. It wants to move its offices from Saratoga Springs into the Hayner House building on Bath Street, which is considered part of the downtown area.
A state Supreme Court judge in January ruled in EOC’s favor, citing the “other vital human services” provision. The village has filed a notice seeking to appeal that decision, and Romano said the appeal will keep going forward.
The village Zoning Board of Appeals last summer denied EOC’s application for a variance, saying it wasn’t a “vital human service” under village law.
EOC, a nonprofit organization, provides government-funded social benefit programs, including the Women, Infant and Child feeding program, the Head Start preschool program, home weatherization programs, Wheels for Work, and the Latino Community Advocacy Program.