Asphalt firm sues town over zoning change
BALLSTON SPA An asphalt mixing company has sued the town of Ballston, alleging a zoning change adopted by the Town Board last September was specifically tailored to block the batching plant the company proposes to build.
Dolomite Products Co. is asking that a state Supreme Court judge annul the zoning amendment banning heavy industry on the grounds that it is “arbitrary and capricious, discriminatory” and was adopted without going through proper legal processes.
The lawsuit, filed last week, is the latest development in a 21⁄2-year dispute over whether Dolomite, a subsidiary of Callanan Industries, can build an asphalt plant at the Curtis Industrial Park on Route 67.
The zoning change, adopted as a local law, blocks the project; the lawsuit seeks to have the law overturned as improperly and illegally adopted.
“Dolomite does not have another adequate remedy at law,” the company states in court papers prepared by its attorneys, Couch White of Albany.
The company sought site plan approval from the town in June 2011, sparking opposition to the proposal from people who live in nearby housing developments.
The town Planning Board ordered that a full environmental impact statement be prepared. A draft impact statement remains under review by the Planning Board, which has made no decision on the application.
The Town Board, meanwhile, after months of discussion, adopted a local law on Sept. 24 that bans heavy industrial uses from the Curtis park while allowing light industry that is conducted primarily indoors.
At a public hearing that night, the audience appeared to be overwhelmingly in favor of the board adopting the prohibition. Heavy industry is already not allowed anywhere else in the town.
At the time, Dolomite threatened a lawsuit, and the papers filed with the Saratoga County clerk’s office last week make good on the threat.
In a statement, the company said it was “disappointed” to have to file a lawsuit.
“We hope the town is willing to work with us to resolve this matter as quickly as possible, allowing Dolomite the opportunity to move forward with its project and sparing the company, the town and its taxpayers significant additional expense,” the statement said.
Town Supervisor Patrick Ziegler on Monday declined comment on the legal matter, pending appointment of a new town attorney to replace Murray Brower, who has resigned. Ziegler, who took office Jan. 1, was not in town government when the decision was made.
Dolomite said in court papers that it has spent $845,000 to date on professional fees and various environmental studies tied to the application, including $50,000 paid to the town to cover review fees for the project.
The company says the 2006 town master plan that allows industrial uses at the Curtis park remains in effect, and the law was adopted without following proper legal procedures.
The company said it wants to be in the Ballston area because of the amount of paving activity in the Malta-Ballston area, and the fact that asphalt can’t be transported long distances.