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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, October 1, 2009
By Saranac Hale Spencer
NEW SCOTLAND His first term dominated by controversy over development, Democrat Thomas Dolin wants another two years as supervisor.
A retired lawyer, Dolin, 70, was a town judge for 14 years before taking the supervisor’s post.
On Tuesday, Dolin was preparing for Wednesday’s public information meeting on wind-energy zoning laws and said that he is still gathering information, but stated, “My initial investigation into this issue supports a set-back requirement and a noise requirement.”
Dolin expects that this year’s election will be a referendum on development and, he said, “I’m going to be guided by the results of the election,” in how to proceed on the issue.
As for water, he has had discussions with the village of Voorheesville about using the village’s water supply in the Normanskill and Johnston Road area and hopes that the aquifer under the Kensington Woods development will be available for use in the North East and Heldervale water districts in the next couple of years.
It costs about $1 million per mile of pipe to bring water, Dolin said, so he has been working with the town board to get low- or no- interest loans from the state.
Asked about the comprehensive plan, Dolin cited the town’s committee that is reviewing the document and said that its conclusion is that no substantial changes need to be made. It will be making minor recommendations, he said.
The farms in town are valuable, Dolin said, “They’re doing their best to survive.”
The town has created agriculture districts with protections from the Right-To-Farm law, he said, but the solution for struggling dairy farmers is with the federal government and the price of milk.
The Albany County Planning Board has said that New Scotland has the largest amount of undeveloped land in the Capital District, Dolin said, adding, “I suspect… eventually the board will limit commercial districts to a band of land that borders the major arteries,” meaning routes 85 and 85A. He cited the Sphere Development proposal that sparked the development debate, saying that it used only a third of the 179-acre Bender melon farm property.
“I’m upset with the representation that the meetings are out of control or uncivil,” Dolin said. “There’s an attempt to mislead the public as to what happens at these meetings… People are entitled to ask their elected representatives questions.”
Under a democratic form of government, the majority rules, Dolin said. Ideally, disputes should be resolved with compromise, he said, adding that regarding the recently divisive issue of development, “I’m looking to the election as a guide” for how the public wants to handle the matter.
The role of the planning board, Dolin said, is to administer the zoning law currently enacted in the town. “They certainly don’t answer to the town board,” he said,
“At the local level, it’s becoming less and less a question of political affiliation and more a question of where you stand on individual issues,” Dolin said of party roles. This election is a perfect demonstration, he said. “Both parties are split on the issues,” he said and new camps have formed.