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New Hartford board approves budget, schedules public hearing for Sangertown Square zone change

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 11/5/22

At a Thursday, Nov. 3 New Hartford Town Board meeting, councilors voted to adopt the 2023 budget and set a date for a public hearing regarding proposed apartments.

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New Hartford board approves budget, schedules public hearing for Sangertown Square zone change

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NEW HARTFORD — At a Thursday, Nov. 3 New Hartford Town Board meeting, councilors voted to adopt the 2023 budget and set a date for a public hearing regarding proposed apartments adjacent to the Sangertown Square mall. 

Town Budget 

The board held a public hearing for the budget, where no one spoke. 

Following the closure of the public hearing, the councilors discussed the final tax rate increase in the budget. 

Town Supervisor Paul Miscione said the final tax rate will be a .6% overall of all taxing authorities. He said that for an average $100,000 home, the increase will be $2.86.  

The board then voted to adopt the budget. 

Sangertown Square public hearing 

The board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 about changing the zoning of Sangertown Square from strictly commercial to commercial with a residential overlay to allow the construction of an apartment complex on the property.  

There was a split vote about the hearing, with Ward 1 Councilor James Messa and and Ward 2 Councilor Richard Lenart voting against the hearing and Ward 3 Councilor David M. Reynolds and Ward 4 Councilor Richard Woodland voting in favor of holding the hearing.   

Town Attorney Herb Cully said that after the public hearing and the town board’s vote to change the zoning, the project developers would have to go to the Planning Board for site plan approval. 

Cully said that at an Oct. 27 meeting, the Planning Board recommended the approval of the zone change. 

“Nobody’s committed to anything at this point,” Cully said. “This just gives the opportunity to have the public hearing and have the board decide whether or not to go forward with the change.”  

A representative from Sangertown Square said that there is no set location or number of units at this point, and that information will be presented after the zoning has been amended.   

“It doesn’t make sense. If there’s going to be a public presentation, and people are coming to comment, they don’t know what they’re going to comment on because there’s no plan,” Messa said. 

Cully reiterated that the public can comment on the proposed zone change, and that Pyramid Management Group, which owns Sangertown, has presented examples of other apartment complexes that have been built on mall properties, like at Crossgates Mall in Albany. 

Messa said he thinks the public should have a better understanding of what is being proposed at the public hearing. 

Cully said that Pyramid Management Group will likely prepare a presentation to convey its plans at the public hearing, and residents can express their thoughts about the information, or the lack thereof. 

Miscione said that throughout the process, Pyramid will have to seek approval from the Town Board for aspects of the project like the number of apartments to be built, location and others. 

“The text amendment allows the mall to explore all options and to invest the money into exploring that option to the fullest extent, come back and give a presentation about what we want to build, if we choose to build that way,” the representative from Sangertown said. 

Lenart expressed his concern that there will only be one public hearing for residents to voice their thoughts on the proposed development. 

“If it’s presented that way and people just don’t want it, they’ll never get another shot to say anything about it. That’s it,” Lenart said. 

Lenart mentioned that residents could go to the Town Board meetings when votes on the proposed complex are scheduled to express their approval or disapproval. Cully said that it is then on the councilors to listen to their constituents’ thoughts and to make a decision. 

Miscione said that because Pyramid had already paid for an application, the board has to hold the public hearing, which Cully agreed with. 

The board then went into executive session to discuss litigation against the town and the matter of a specific employee.  

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