Ballston Town Board puts off vote to weigh impact on asphalt plant
BALLSTON The Ballston Town Board on Tuesday delayed voting on industrial zoning changes after officials learned the changes would end an asphalt company’s bid to build a plant in the town.
A zoning amendment that would ban new heavy industry in the town is tabled until after Aug. 15, the date that the Saratoga County Planning Board is expected to consider the issue. The Town Board is required to wait to vote until after the county board issues a nonbinding recommendation, board member William Goslin said at a Town Board meeting Tuesday night.
Also, town officials recently learned that if passed, the amendment would stop a 2-year-old proposal for a hot mix asphalt plant in the Curtis Industrial Park on Route 67.
Goslin said he had believed previously that the Dolomite Products Co. application would not be affected by new legislation allowing only light industrial uses in the town’s industrial zone, since the development is already undergoing an environmental review process before the Planning Board.
But he learned on Monday from town attorneys that the legislation would ban the Rochester-based company from moving forward, Goslin said at the meeting.
“It sounds like it’s true,” he said of the legal opinion. “I can honestly say that’s not the intent of the law.”
“I would suggest that we huddle and we understand where we are from a legal perspective,” Goslin said.
Officials have three options if they decide to pass the amendment: Make an exception for Dolomite in the legislation; require blacktop plants to secure a special-use permit, an additional set of hoops to jump through; or leave the legislation as it is and exclude Dolomite.
More than a dozen people spoke at a public hearing before the meeting or wrote letters to the town, with most advocating for the zoning change from heavy industry to light industry, which would ban manufacturing operations that are more apt to be disruptive to residents in favor of quieter, cleaner ones.
Speakers expressed concern about noise, traffic and pollution that might go along with heavy industry.
And although the public hearing was not about the Dolomite plant, many people addressed it.
“I think the town needs to be not bullied around just because a company spends a lot of money,” said Ballston resident David Druzynski.
Although Goslin has maintained that the proposal, which he introduced about 18 months ago, did not target the company, an attorney for Dolomite believes otherwise.
Stephanie Ferradino, who is representing the company in the Ballston application, said last week that she believes town officials plan to ban the project, and if they do, the town will be sued.
In support of the company, town supervisors in Brunswick and Coeymans, which have Dolomite plants, wrote to the Ballston Town Board expressing support for the company and its positive economic impact on the community.
Ballston officials said Tuesday they need to make sure they’re on solid legal footing before they vote on the zoning amendment.