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What you need to know for 01/17/2017

Ballston Town Board to review zoning law limiting heavy industrial activities

Ballston Town Board to review zoning law limiting heavy industrial activities

The Ballston Town Board plans to start a new environmental review of last year’s zoning law prohibit

The Ballston Town Board plans to start a new environmental review of last year’s zoning law prohibiting heavy industrial uses in what is now its light industrial zone.

The actions scheduled for tonight’s board meeting appear tied to a lawsuit filed in January by Dolomite Products Inc., which contends last year’s law was intended to block its proposed asphalt-batching plant at the Curtis Lumber Industrial Park.

The board’s agenda includes initiating a new environmental review of the light industrial zone. The board will also schedule a public hearing for Tuesday, May 13.

Town officials won’t publicly admit the actions are linked to the Dolomite lawsuit, but Town Attorney James Walsh conceded a new environmental review could address one of the claims Dolomite has made in its lawsuit — that the process was flawed when the light industrial zone was adopted.

In the controversial vote last September, the town’s industrial zone at Curtis Lumber was redefined as applying only to “light industry,” or manufacturing operations with small impacts.

Plans to do a new environmental review first came up March 11, after a Town Board executive session that focused on the Dolomite lawsuit, according to meeting minutes.

The lawsuit is currently pending before state Supreme Court Judge Ann C. Crowell.

Walsh said the town has found oversights in the law unrelated to Dolomite, including lack of provisions to regulate fuel storage and junk car storage.

But he said the review would cover the whole law, including the sections contested by Dolomite.

Dolomite’s attorneys have termed the zoning change “arbitrary and capricious” and said it was adopted without going through proper state-mandated environmental review. Among other things, Dolomite alleges the county Planning Board and neighboring town of Malta weren’t notified in time to comment on the final proposed changes.

Walsh said the town wasn’t conceding it made errors.

Dolomite, a division of Callanan Industries of Schenectady, applied to build its asphalt plant nearly three years ago. The town has not made a decision on the application itself — it remains pending before the town Planning Board, which has suspended its review because of the lawsuit.

The company’s application for what it said was a legally allowed use sparked an outcry from residents in nearby housing developments, and led to proposals to ban heavy industry.

Dolomite contends that the 2006 town master plan, which allows heavy industrial uses at the Curtis park remains in effect. The company said it wants to have a location in Ballston because of the amount of paving activity in the Malta-Ballston area, and the fact that asphalt can’t be economically transported long distances.

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