CLIFTON PARK -- The Town Board on Monday approved a six-month moratorium on residential subdivision applications in the town’s conservation residential zone as planners work on updating the general environmental impact statement for the western part of town.
The Town Board unanimously voted to approve the measure after holding a public hearing during which residents expressed support for the town’s effort to re-examine the GEIS, which covers the mostly rural area of the town. Officials want to conserve the area from an environmental standpoint.
The town’s GEIS states the western side of town should remain more rural and less developed, but is nearly 15 years old, Clifton Park Planning Director John Scavo said at the meeting. The plan was meant to be a 20-year projection, he said.
When the GEIS was initially created in 2005, an 18-month moratorium on development was approved while the town studied the issue.
“Now is a good time to look and take a new snapshot of where we are today, where we came from and where we think we’ll be going for the next 20 years,” Scao said.
“At that time, it was a very forward thinking and important document and continues to be to this day," Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said. "But as time passes we all understand, after conducting longterm planning studies, it’s important that they be reviewed and updated.”
While the plan is being updated, the town will consider several factors that weren’t necessarily present when the plan was first written, including the existence of new technology in town, such as solar farms, the town’s constantly growing Open Space Fund, which sets aside funding specifically for conserving land within the town’s borders, and changing traffic trends.
During the moratorium, the only residential projects that will be affected will be subdivisions or a project that requires the splitting of a parcel of land to make way for multiple new residences.
Previously pending subdivision applications will still be considered by the Planning Board.
During the public hearing portion of the meeting, David Miller, co-chairman of the town’s Open Space, Trails and Riverfront Committee, said the committee’s goals in general usually line up with the town’s efforts to conserve open space areas. He suggested a few goals of the committee that the town could keep in mind while updating the plan, including making sure to reach out to local farmers
“The open space committee fully supports the town’s efforts to further preserve, maintain and manage our open spaces,” he said.