Shenendehowa land deal vote Tuesday

April 03, 2017 07:22 PM

CLIFTON PARK -- Some have called the vote confusing, others say campaigns have been misleading. Tuesday, voters will decide the fate of 34 acres of wooded land in Clifton Park.  

The plot of woods sits between Staples, Route 146, and Shenendehowa schools.  

School district voters will be voting to approve or deny the board of education's decision to sell the land to BBL.

A no vote will simply shoot down a $2 million deal by the school board to sell the 34 acres of land to BBL developers.  

A yes vote will approve the deal. BBL will build a 55,000 square foot building, a connector road, and donate about half the land to the town, to become a park.

Friends of Clifton Park Open Space are in the opposition. They say a no vote is the first step towards turning all of the land into a park. However, a no vote will not guarantee a park, but only that the deal doesn't go through. The school district could still sell the land to someone else.

"It's a rare piece of property and its completely unspoiled. If you walk through there you'll see it's beautiful," said Susan Burton, Friends of Clifton Park Open Space. "A central park is a legacy. It adds vitality to the quality of life. An issue that came up again and again," she added.

BBL wants to put one retailer in the space. Shop Rite is interested.

If the deal goes through and the town doesn't accept the land donation, BBL is legally obligated to donate the land to a nonprofit, or back to the school on the grounds it isn't developed. Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett is not sure whether the town will accept the donation yet.  

The president and CEO of the Southern Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce says a yes vote is a good compromise.

"The connector roadway and trailway is something we've talked about for years, the idea that there is some open space that can be preserved for the public use, and there can be a mixture with commercial space because it is our downtown district," said Pete Bardunias.

It will all be decided tomorrow. Voting takes place at Gowana Middle school from 7 am to 9pm.

You can see maps of the proposed area here.

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Asa Stackel

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