Clifton Park finalizes land planning committee

A view of the undeveloped parcel of land Clifton Park bought from Shenendehowa schools, seen in September 2016.

PHOTOGRAPHER: GAZETTE FILE PHOTOA view of the undeveloped parcel of land Clifton Park bought from Shenendehowa schools, seen in September 2016. PHOTOGRAPHER: GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — The Town of Clifton Park has finalized a committee that will guide the planning process for 37 acres of wooded land that was previously owned by the Shenendehowa Central School District.

At its April 19 meeting, the town finalized who would serve on the committee, which is meant to review possible future uses for the land on Maxwell Road that the town officially acquired from the district in February.

The Maxwell Road land has been a controversial subject for over a year. A public referendum in April 2017 that saw thousands of residents oppose the district’s initial decision to sell the plot to BBL Development — for about $2 million.

BBL had planned to build a Shop Rite supermarket on the land.

Ultimately, the $1.1 million sale to the town was approved by voters in a second referendum on Dec. 5. By law, the land can now only be used as a public park.

The committee members are Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, town board members Lynda Walowit, Amy Standaert, Jim Romano, James Whalen, and planning department employees John Scavo and Jennifer Viggiani. Dave Miller from the Town Open Space Committee and Planning Board member Eric Ophardt will also be on the committee.

The committee will work with a group of stakeholders on the project, who either own land near the parcel or are public entities that already partner with the town.

That group of stakeholders will be Supervisor Kevin Tollisen from the Town of Halfmoon, Kathy Wetmore-Chase, assistant superintendent of finance at Shen, Alex Gutelius, director at the Clifton Park Halfmoon Public Library, Sarah Heslin, executive director at the Southern Saratoga YMCA, Don MacElroy of Clifton Park real estate company DCG Development, Pete Bardunias, president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, and Susan Burton from the Friends of Clifton Park Open Space.

“I think we have a very good group of people that represent various viewpoints,” Barrett said at the meeting.

The planning process will involve public meetings during which people can offer their input and opinions about how to develop the land for public use.