year 2020 may be a long way off, but some local officials
are already thinking about what their towns will look like
when they get there.
On Wednesday (Aug. 25), Colonie will hold the first in a series
of workshops and meetings aimed at creating a plan for the
town’s long-term future. At each event, residents and business
owners will be able to comment on various aspects of town
growth, including traffic and transportation, open space planning
and other issues, to a committee appointed by the Town Board.
This information will be compared with the results of a town-wide
survey conducted last year, then arranged into a comprehensive
plan outlining the upcoming years of development—or lack thereof.
want to create a blueprint for where the community will be
[in 2020],” explained Philip Pearson, director of planning
and economic development for the town of Colonie.
Town residents and lawmakers will be joined at the meetings
by locally based planning firm The Saratoga Associates, who
were called in as consultants for the project. The firm was
also called in to assist the town of Bethlehem, where a similar
series of workshops and meetings began in February.
about halfway through the process,” said Bethlehem Town Supervisor
Theresa Egan. “The plan should be ready [for public viewing]
by the end of the year.”
According to Egan, once Bethlehem’s plan is assembled, the
public will be able to offer input via public hearings in
January and February. The Saratoga Associates’ Mike Welti,
project manager for both the Colonie and Bethlehem plans,
said that Colonie is on a similar timetable and should have
a plan ready for the public—and town board—around the end
of the year.
Wednesday’s meeting, a “Visioning Workshop” for Colonie residents
and business owners, will be held at The Crossings (580 Albany
Shaker Road, Loudonville), while a Sept. 2 meeting in the
Bethlehem Town Hall auditorium (445 Delaware Ave., Delmar)
will continue that town’s planning process.
been an interesting experience,” said Egan of the planning
process and the level of public participation in each phase.
“We’re basically saying to people, ‘Here’s the town and here’s
a marker—what do you think we should do with it?’”
more than four months of bickering and finger-pointing, the
New York State Legislature passed the remaining six bills
necessary for a state budget on the evening of Aug.
11. Despite criticism that the last-minute, hurried passage
of budget bills leaves little time for review [“Pledging My
Time,” Newsfront, July 22], legislators took less than an
hour to pass the bills, thanks to a “message of necessity”
issued by Gov. Pataki, who is expected to veto several aspects
of the Legislature’s budget. . . . On Aug. 11 the New York
State Assembly voted to override Gov. Pataki’s veto of a bill
that would have raised the minimum wage from $5.15
to $7.10 by 2007 [“Race to the Bottom,” Newsfront, Aug. 5].
It remains to be seen if the Senate will follow suit. . .
. On Aug. 9 the Albany County Legislature unanimously agreed
to redraw seven legislative districts in time for the
2007 elections in a way that gives more electoral clout to
residents of predominantly racial-minority neighborhoods.
After one court win last year, [“Back to the Drawing Board,”
Newsfront, June 10, 2003], Aaron Mair and the NAACP had continued
to press for a map that was even better than the court-enforced
fix. . . . The city of Albany also agreed to put in-car video
camera systems in six marked police cruisers by
the end of October, an idea proposed by Councilman Michael
Brown (Ward 3) in June [“Hear Us Out,” Newsfront, June 10].
After six months the police department and city will evaluate
if it is worthwhile to install them in more police cars. .
. . Despite international support and last-ditch efforts by
people from his neighbors to the Pakistani Embassy’s Deputy
Chief, Ansar Mahmood [“Removable Alien,” Newsfront,
July 8], was deported with little warning on Aug. 12 after
31 months in detention. . . . Also on Aug. 12, the California
Supreme Court invalidated almost 4,000 same-sex marriages
solemnized by San Francisco beginning over Valentine’s Day
weekend this year [“First Comes Love, Then Comes. . . ,” Apr.
8]. The court ruled that Mayor Gavin Newsom did not have the
authority to ignore state law, but they did not touch the
issue of whether same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
That question is still weaving its way through the state’s