Saratoga Springs, NY – September 11, 2015 – Sustainable Saratoga continues to support new growth and development in the core area of the city. What we don’t support are large-scale, intensive new uses in Saratoga Springs’ outer rural district.

For several decades this community has reaped the rewards of a visionary development roadmap and sound economic development policy called “the City in the Country.” This vision promotes dense urban development in our “city,” the core area of the community, surrounded by low intensity development in our “country” or greenbelt. Not “no development,” but “low- intensity development.”

Conserving land is an important feature in the greenbelt, one that is already required in the city’s existing standards for greenbelt development. Each greenbelt development must already allow for significant conservation in its plans.

The proposed zoning amendment that is now before the City Council would create a new allowed use — golf resorts — in the entire outlying Rural Residential zoning district. It is our view that a “golf resort” that allows up to 148 lodging rooms, unspecified-sized banquet hall, unspecified number of retail establishments, unspecified-sized health spa, and unspecified business meeting space is completely contrary to the “low density” requirement of this district. These uses are not compatible with the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan.

It is also a bad precedent to allow high density land uses, such as “golf resorts” in the greenbelt. Not only may other large-property owners in the greenbelt develop similar high-intensity commercial projects, but it sets the stage for new high-density zoning proposals that are exceptions to the “city in the country” model.

Sustainable Saratoga supports the appropriate development of hotels, retail, business centers, industry and office buildings in the designated economic development areas of the core area of our city. We support new health spas in the core area and the Spa State Park. We supported the city’s new Comprehensive Plan with increased development potential in five locations within the core area. Sustainable Saratoga is not an organization that says “no development,” but we do advocate for good development that follows the City’s own successful standards. To achieve smart sustainable growth, development first needs to be located in the right place. Let’s remember that, first and foremost, our downtown is our “resort destination” and that’s one of the things that makes Saratoga Springs unique and attractive to visitors, residents and business owners.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on this zoning amendment on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm at City Hall. We urge everyone to come express their views on this proposal.

For a summary and further details on Sustainable Saratoga’s position on the “golf resort” rezoning proposal please view this document.

Contact: Harry Moran, Chair

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