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Malta to update development study

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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— The town of Malta, coping with growth generated by the arrival of GlobalFoundries, is going to update an 8-year-old study used to calculate the townwide impacts of development.

The Town Board voted this week to hire The Chazen Companies of Queensbury to update the 2006 townwide generic environmental impact statement, at a cost of $169,950.

The study will look at the demands placed on town services as new development continues, estimate how much the town needs to spend to provide those services and recommend what developers should be required to pay to mitigate the impacts of new development.

The new study comes as the town is seeing what was only anticipated in 2006 — the arrival of the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant, which now has 2,100 employees, and the related demands for new housing and commercial services. The new study will weigh what’s happened since the earlier study, both anticipated and unanticipated.

“I know it’s out of date,” town Supervisor Paul J. Sausville said. “I see the cost for our downtown for public safety as being something that wasn’t addressed or anticipated.”

Under the findings of the previous study, which was done by Clough Harbour & Associates, the town has been charging developers for what was then expected to be $20 million in transportation, recreation and open space protection measures.

The current town fees, based on that study, include $1,025 per vehicle trip during peak evening traffic hour, a recreation fee of 89 cents per square foot on commercial construction, and $861 per acre for future open space protection. Those fees have been adjusted since then to reflect inflation, but the new study could recommend more drastic changes, Sausville said.

“We have been told by our planning staff they are inadequate,” he said.

He said there may also need to be a new public safety fee on developers to cover the cost of the new downtown fire station and some of the new fire equipment the Round Lake and Malta Ridge fire companies have acquired.

Chazen says its study will build on the previous environmental impact statement and make new estimates of the total growth the town might see over the next 20 years and how much traffic new development would put on the local roads.

The Chazen project will also incorporate other planning work the town has done since the earlier study, including development of a downtown master plan and designing possible improvements along the Round Lake Road travel corridor.

“We will identify suggested project enhancements in sufficient detail to prepare and update a capital projects cost estimate,” according to a summary written by Chris Rounds, Chazen’s vice president for planning services.

The study is expected to take seven to nine months to prepare, according to Chazen officials. Its $169,950 cost will come from fees paid by GlobalFoundries and other companies that owe development fees to the town.

 
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