Good Article On Tuesday Night Meeting BY Saratoga Grid

This is an excellent article by Saratoga Grid on the Tuesday night city council hearing and meeting.  Link To Saratoga Grid

Dozens of residents stood in line and spoke during a 90-minute public hearing at Saratoga Springs City Hall Tuesday night regarding an application submitted by Saratoga National that would amend city rules to allow the golf club to develop large-scale development where it is not permitted to do so.

Members of the city council subsequently discussed the issue for an additional half hour. However, all efforts were rendered insignificant when it was revealed that the golf club had on Tuesday submitted an amended application which no members of the public and few members of the council had a chance to read, much less comprehend. In the end, it was as if Tuesday night never happened. There was no action for the council to consider, and as someone mentioned Tuesday night, like déjà-vu, all over again.

Here is how the day began:

After a variety of attempts to garner council approval for a large-scale development in the city greenbelt had failed during the previous year, Saratoga National submitted a new application to the council in May. The council in a 3-2 vote agreed the proposal had merit for further review and forwarded the proposal to both, the city and county planning boards, for their respective advisory opinions. The plan was then returned to the council for review, and possible SEQRA analysis vote Tuesday night. That specific plan was why the required public hearing was staged Tuesday night.

Here is what happened after the public hearing:

It was announced that Saratoga National had submitted a new application with “significant changes,” (specific detail regarding the changes was not clear Tuesday night), and due to its late arrival council members had not had ample time to review the modifications. Any potential vote that may have occurred on the original plan was deemed a moot point.

Here is what will may happen next:

As it did in May when receiving an amendment application, the council must first decide whether there is merit for further review by Land Use boards. (It is possible that none of the council members put the measure on the next meeting agenda, which is Oct. 6, but highly unlikely). If the application is voted down, the process ends. If a council majority votes there is merit for further review, the application is then sent to both, the city and county planning board, for advisory opinion(s), before being returned to the city council for a public hearing and eventual vote. Sound familiar? This is exactly where this day started.

“So we’re going to go through this all over again, and depending on how the vote goes, we may end up going through it all over again, again in a couple of months,” Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan explained, pretty much on-target.

A vote taken at this time would have been difficult to predict, and could potentially have gone 3-2 either way.

The first time around, the process took four months. Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said he suspected the late change by Saratoga National may have been motivated by jockeying for a better voting outcome with some potentially new faces on the council after Jan. 1.

“Isn’t it really odd that (the amended application) showed up today, of all times. The timing seems very odd to me. I think there may be some maneuvering here regarding the fact that Election Day is November third,” Mathiesen said. “I think that may be part of the strategy here. As we know this was referred to the planning board in May, it’s finally getting back to the City Council now and the day it comes back to the City Council – it’s being changed. So, tell me there isn’t some attempt here to manipulate. They had all that time to make changes to the amendment and now they’re making the change – the day of our City Council meeting.”

In addition to questions related to what the latest changes may suggest, there is the unknown status regarding the previous application which was to be discussed tonight. It doesn’t seem that it was withdrawn. Does it remain hanging out there, conceivably available for re-visitation at any time in the future should a new proposal fail? We’ll have to wait and see about that one.

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