Accomplishments

TOWN OF BALLSTON DEMOCRATS CALL FOR CHANGE WITH 10-POINT ACTION PLAN

We have been listening– to the outcry from Ballston town residents who see the rapid and chaotic development of our town, and who fear that Ballston as we know it is falling away, in chunks, under the axe of outside developers.

 Time is of the essence — all of us, individuals and organizations in town, must work together to ensure that our children and our children’s children have the kind of community that we’ve had: healthy and safe, in a rural setting defined by abundant, visible and accessible natural resources.

 In part, this means preserving adequate open space for park and recreational areas for our growing population.

 Ballston Democrats will lead the way, beginning with a call for 10 key actions: 

1.  Town Master Plan, rewritten for the 21st century  (Accomplished)

A recycled, outdated plan is no plan.  The people of Ballston have asked for a new Master Plan that ensures that the inevitable changes to our town concur with our community vision and values—and Ballston Democrats intend to give it to them. 

2.  12-Month Moratorium on large development projects (Accomplished)

Like many surrounding towns, we need to prepare for the influx of outside builders and for a swelling population.  A moratorium dedicated to designing and implementing a new Master Plan will allow breathing space for careful consideration and extensive citizen participation. 

3.  Preserve Cappiello Farm for park and recreation land  (Stopped Saddle Club Development)

Stop the Saratoga Saddle Club development.  Period.  It is too big for our community and will forever change that character of Ballston.  It would produce a 20% increase in our population and bring with it all the suburban pressures of Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs.  Moreover, it will disturb an important part of Ballston’s Academy Hill historic region.   

4.  Ensure public access to Ballston Lake shores with a park off Route 50 (Plans in Motion)

The Cappiello parcel is large enough to ensure a pristine natural segment of local land as is has existed for thousands of years.  A park could provide cross country skiing, soccer fields, nature trails, wetlands, and such wonderful, community building amenities as public picnic areas, swimming, a lodge, and even a stage.  We will research options for funding and achieving this vision.

5.  Reverse Route 50 zoning—again (Accomplished)

The unbroken commercial zoning is one of the few contemporary revisions to the existing 1987 Town Plan, and has us headed for trouble.  Uninterrupted commercial development will bring commercial strip malls from Schenectady to Saratoga, and lead to tremendous traffic problems and eventual widening of Route 50.  Take a ride up Colonie’s Central Ave—is that what we want? 

6.  Extend setbacks on all steams and wetlands (Plans in Motion)

Protect these vital resources from encroaching development and pollution. Include affordable housing for seniors, young families, working people

Will our children be able to afford staying in Ballston where they grew up?  Will seniors have to move out in order to live on a limited income?  When the construction dust settles, who will live in these expensive homes and how many will never get out of debt with a huge mortgage? 

7.  Include affordable housing for seniors, young families, working people (Plans in Motion)

Will our children be able to afford staying in Ballston where they grew up?  Will seniors have to move out in order to live on a limited income?  When the construction dust settles, who will live in these expensive homes and how many will never get out of debt with a huge mortgage? 

8.  Connect existing greenways and bike path   (Plans in Motion)                        

 

Residents need safe access to nature, and to regionally linked foot/bike

  transportation paths. This supports the interconnectedness of our communities
  and encourages transportation by bike or foot, the ultimate “alternative energy”. 

9.  Establish a Recreation & Parks Commission (Plans in Motion)

Access to undeveloped, wild natural acreage and abundant recreational opportunities are hallmarks of a livable community, and a wonderful resource for the school district.  Development, preservation and maintenance of these resources must remain a top priority.

10.  Keep our water pure, and manage our growth (Still opposing County Water Plan)

We oppose trading our good water for the Hudson River water currently endorsed by some county representatives.  NYS  Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tags the proposed water intake site—where International Paper flushed its chemical waste into the Hudson for many decades—as a hotspot for PCB and chemical contamination.  Further, Corinth discharges its treated sewage just upstream.  Some county representatives tell us it’s pure, but…do we want to gamble our health on this? Pure water and adequate supply is a basic right.  A local water commission charged with joining all our disparate and unequal districts into one would ensure all residents clean, abundant, accessible water at a common, reasonable price.

It’s also no secret that the real impetus behind spending $70-$100 million dollars for a “new” water source is to generate additional unguided commercial and residential expansion into our currently rural areas. While we are not opposed to thoughtful growth as a necessary outcome of a larger population, we are certainly against random, unplanned development in which residents have little say. 

 

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