Welcome to the website for the Capital District Transportation Committee’s (CDTC) Linkage Program Grant to study the Hamlet of New Scotland.  Here you can find information about the study, presentations, and maps.

The Preliminary Draft Plan for the Hamlet of New Scotland is ready for public review and feedback  (See Documents Page to read the full report and recommendations).  Come to Public Workshop #2 and tell us what you think!

Why are we so limited in imagination? Edie Abrams 7/26/12

Altamont Enterprise article 6-7-12

Schreiber AE Letter 5_29_12

Altamont Enterprise article 5-24-12

SAVE the DATE  for our Public Workshop #2 . . .                          Wednesday May 23rd @ 7:00 pm, Voorheesvile HS Commons                                       (See Public Meetings Page) 

SAC Meeting #5 – Monday March 26th @ 6:00 @ Town Hall           (See Public Meetings Page) 

Altamont Enterprise Article 3/8/12

SAC Meeting #4 – Monday February 27th @ 6:00 @ Town Hall        (See Public Meetings Page) 

Check out this ROUNDABOUT in Illinois and tell us what you think:     http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards

See what they’re doing right across the border in Vermont:                                         VT Working Lands Bill

Also, take a look at the Hamlet of New Scotland Existing Conditions Report under the Documents section.  The report is meant to be informational, and not a separate project in itself.  The report will continue to be updated as new data becomes available, and the final report will likely be an appendix in the Master Plan, with key findings summarized in the body of the report.

SAVE the DATE  for our first public workshop –                         Thursday Dec. 1st @ 6:30 @ VHS Commons                                       (See Public Meetings Page) 

Third SAC Meeting – Thursday Nov. 3 @ 6:00 @ VHS Commons        (See Public Meetings Page) 

Second SAC Meeting – Tuesday Sept. 20 @ 6:30 @ Town Hall        (See Public Meetings Page) 

Letter from CDTC postponing future SAC meetings


24 responses to “Home

    Does our zoning code allow for this, or for a development of these MedCottages?

    Yes in my backyard. Many older people want to be with their families when they start to need help with daily living. But disagreements about where to set the thermostat, TV volumes and curfews for teenage grandchildren can make life difficult.

    For such families, several companies are developing cottages that either an older adult or an adult child could use as separate living quarters in the other’s backyard. Ken Dupin, a minister in Salem, Va., developed so-called MedCottages with help from Virginia Tech researchers after studying family-managed care in other countries.

    A MedCottage, which costs about $85,000, has a 12-by-24-foot living area with a handicapped-accessible bathroom, kitchen, hospital bed and living area, and is outfitted so that the person living there can be monitored online.

    One of the bigger challenges: getting building permits. Mr. Dupin’s company, N2Care, and its distributor worked to get a Virginia law passed two years ago that stops local governments from keeping out the structures as long as the family has a doctor’s prescription and meets lot requirements, he says. Now, several more states have approved or are considering similar statutes.

    Socorrito Baez-Page, a doctor who has spent a number of years caring for her elderly parents in Fairfax County, Va., has been working through the permit process to install a MedCottage for her 86-year-old mother. Her mother has been living in her home since January, but has trouble getting up stairs to bathe.

    “Having a cottage in the backyard will help,” Dr. Baez-Page says. “There will be a little bit of definition between here and there.”

  2. Here are roundabouts that I like. They are simple. There are no huge highway traffic signs. There is no garish paint on the ground. In many places, roundabouts have pieces of art or memorials in their centers, and very often flowers.

  3. FARMING LURING MORE YOUNG PEOPLE According to the U.S. Census, more young people, in their 20s and 30s, are going into farming. They cite 2 main reasons: corporate life with little job security and the demand for locally grown, organic foods. USDA senior economist Mary Clare Ahearn says that farming is becoming a great opportunity and young people want a part of it. This is good news because the average age of farmers is about 60 and we need to replace them in order to keep our food local. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has called for 100,000 new farmers within the next few years, and Congress has responded with programs to help young farmers with improved access to USDA loan programs and support. USDA has an apprenticeship program to train farmers.

    There are young people in the Capital District and in the Town of New Scotland who would love to be farmers.

    According to the author of the history of the Bender Melon Farm, there is plenty of arable land available for farming.

    Perhaps the Town, the landowners, and County, State, and Federal representatives can meet to work out a plan to return a portion of the Bender Melon Farm and neigboring acreage back to its agricultural heritage. This would allow young people searching for jobs to work, live, and participate in our community.

    It is difficult to start an enterprise by oneself. If we had a group that could share its ups-and-downs experiences with seasoned farmers for encouragement, and a liaison to government programs, perhaps small farms, which are growing in number faster than large ones, may return to the Town of New Scotland.

    With farms come ancillary businesses, which would be necessaary to supplement farmers’ earnings but which would also be attractive to residents.

    These are hard times. But even with cuts in loans and grants, people realize that you cannot outsource farming, and residents value farming for its fresh food, the open space it provides, and the retention of our historical roots.

    If there’s a will, there’s a way. Even those who would not directly be involved with a project like this would have to support it by buying its products and perhaps by providing tax incentives.

    I say let’s give it a go!

  4. During the December 1 meeting concern was raised about attracting businesses that the community would patronize. I believe that we should develop a wish list of businesses that would fit our hamlet that do not currently exist or are in short supply. One major deficiency is sufficient Day/Child Care facilities within the Town. We drive 20-30 minutes each way to Delmar. Further, the half day Kindergarten at Voorheesville Elementary creates a continued need for quality child care services.

  5. Because water is such an extreme issue with any land use in the study area, here are some thoughts that if were incorporated in the zoning might help entice Bethlehem to consider sharing their water. These basically approach water useage in residential & commercial as if the area was a desert. 1) 2-stage flush toilets such as available from TOTO & used in the ECHO Center in Burlington, VT 2) motion detection water facuets which also provides for universal design (ie-handicap use) 3) only water efficient appliances allowed 4) cisterns to collect rainwater from ALL roofs as the only way allowed to water landscape. Of note, Burroughs & Chapin, Conway, SC developed a recycling water system for their golf course in Grand Dunes. If you contact them for more information, indicate a friend of Larry & Ginny Biddle suggested it. Larry is on the Board and Ginny is a Burroughs. 5) when rain water cannot be collect in a feasible manner, use downspout gardens which prevents runoff from entering the street and storm drains. Now being done in Seattle to prevent run off & contaminents from reaching the bay. Hardscape should provide a way for the water to go back into the ground.

    Additional ideas for community space-a dog park like Bethlehem for the use by New Scotland residents. “Where to Retire” Fall 2011 edition had an article about renting vs buying when considering a retirement home. Many retirees are opting for long term rentals for the convenience. Keeping Rt 85 & 85A as 2 lane highways would mean a future roundabout at the intersection would one lane like at 85A & 155. Much more saner than those ##!!** two lane ones at Price Chopper. Those are death defying feats at commuter times & do nothing for one’s heart or BP. If considering progressive senior living as an option in the planning- independent living > assisted living > skilled nursing, a field trip to the Masonic Care Community in Utica, NY is a MUST to see how to have it done right. Don’t worry they are use to these field trips-planners have come from all corners of this country as well as from other countries. Noticed in the study the category in “Farming, fishing, & forestery” was zero but was noted several working farms in the Town. There are also DEC Conservation officers in the town that were missed and hopefully in another 2-3 years a graduate from the Fishery & Wildlife management program in Cobleskill. I like the idea of teaming up with the Ag & Wildlife colleges for input and possible land use. Properly managed farm fishing is going to be the way to go in the future to guarantee the quality of fresh fish & to save species bordering on endangered. It would qualify as light industry and food produced from within a 100 miles. Thinking outside the “BOX” with well defined parameters is going to in the future decades make for a wonderful community known as the Hamlet of New Scotland, Voorheesville, NY

  6. As I was mentally preparing to attend the workshop tonight, I thought of a conversation that my 9 year old daughter and I had last week. We were walking to the library from our house (not very easy before sidewalks start in the village, but manageable – it’s a 20 min. walk for us.) on an unseasonably warm November Day. We saw some people biking and started talking about the “coolest way” to get around town. We both agreed on what would be coolest right away – zip lines! Of course, we said it would be difficult in bad weather (so we hatched a light weight weather proof pod that could attach to zip lines), and we talked about possibly just having certain sections of town (from “zip stops” to places such as schools, library, village shopping, parks).
    As we imagined more, we came up with more potential areas for concern – what if riders got stuck (Evie said there would need to be a zip patrol), how old the person would have to be to ride a zip line (Evie suggested 9 yrs old and up), and what the stations to get up and down onto zip lines would look like. We also discussed the various ways they could have the power to move – we came up with solar or possible wind power, battery packs, and even possibly a foot powered (stepping or pedaling) version.
    It was a lot of fun to imagine this new community with my daughter. When we got home we researched zip lines to see what we could find out. We wondered – has anyone already thought of this or perhaps another community is doing it? I want to share here my favorite find from the search – a link off of the Work Place 2020 Sustainability website to an article titled “The Strange Future of Public Transit.” I recommend not only the article (http://www.greenchipstocks.com/articles/top-10-bizarre-public-transportation-ideas/1252), but I also want you to follow the link for the Kolelina City Zipline. It’s all about transportation using zip lines! http://kolelinia.com/kolelinio/. YOu should have seen my daughter’s face when I showed her that someone else was thinking about this too – Evie beamed!
    Thanks for letting me share this one very small aspect of a possible future transit option for TONS.

  7. I will not be able to make the meeting tomorrow, but I had a few design ideas to give any project in the area a “rural feel” to match the existing town “vibe”:
    Wood or stone style siding on buildings (no concrete block, poured concrete, or stucco)
    No flat roofs (maximize use of gables, parapets, and facades)
    Minimum 2 story maximum 3 story construction (Main street type building blocks)
    No more than 100 contiguous parking spaces, with vegetated barriers between parking blocks and along property lines

    I think these design elements help ensure that we develop properties that fit with the nature of our town and stay away from “stock suburban retail sprawl”

  8. I guess one of the main questions we must decide is what kind of town do we want – a bustling commercial town with a great nightlife or a sleepy village-kind of town, with enough commercial enterprises to support us.

    Here’s are excerpts from a recent The NY Times article:

    Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds


    The isolation of the prosperous…means less interaction with people from other income groups and a greater risk to their support for policies and investments that benefit the broader public — like schools, parks and public transportation systems. About 14 percent of families lived in affluent neighborhoods in 2007, up from 7 percent in 1970, the study found.

    William Julius Wilson, a sociologist at Harvard who has seen the study, argues that “rising inequality is beginning to produce a two-tiered society in America in which the more affluent citizens live lives fundamentally different from the middle- and lower-income groups. This divide decreases a sense of community.”

    I’m looking forward to a robust discussion on the values we hold as a town and how we will implement those values.

    Edie Abrams

  9. This email is in response to Rob’s Naragansett, RI, development. I encourage people to Google “The Village at South County Commons,” where you can see more photos. It might be useful to make a list of the characteristics that you like and the ones that you don’t, and the ones that you think would work here and the ones that you think would not. I think such lists would make for more directed and meaningful discussion when we all get together. Let’s also think about the values that we’d like to encourage in development, e.g., keeping the agricultural history alive, the rural ambiance, the “homeyness” of our community, businesses owned by locals, and affordable housing. Hope to see a good turnout at the next meeting: Thurs., Dec. 1, 6:30-9:00 pm, High School Commons, Voorheesville, HS. It will be the first public design workshop. Edie Abrams

    • I agree Edie. I think the more creative brains on this effort the better. It is often hard to articulate what you want or don’t want unless you have an example to work from. I would love others to contribute other links and ideas also.

  10. As a nearby resident, I have always wondered what a workable, appropriately scaled vision for this area would be. I think it might be helpful to use this forum for residents and the various committees working on this to share some examples of real places that might provide inspiration. Recently, I was in the Naragansett, RI area and stayed near a very interesting and appealing mixed commercial and residential development. I am not saying it is exactly what I would want for the area, but it had a village-type feel and it was definitely homey, walkable and very attractive. There are not many photos of it online, so I have included a link to their Facebook page. Please look at the photo albums to get an idea.


  11. PARKING LOTS: I think almost everyone can agree that parking lots, no matter how many trees, shrubs, dividers, or ameliorative aesthetics developers add, are simply ugly and anti-environmental. In some urban areas, such as around Washington, D.C., some stores are building underground parking garages. Mixed reviews from customers so far because they are not used to them. Please see this Washington Post article:


    In Portland, OR, some garages are on ground level, but entrances are in back of buildings so that the public sees store fronts at the street level.

    I think it’s useful to look at all these “new” ideas and incorporate the best of them of our Town.

    No question that we would have more open space, more commercial space, and more residential space, plus be more environmentally friendly if we didn’t have acres and acres of asphalted parking lots. In my opinion.

    Perhaps one of the main objections to a large commercial district would be mollified if we could figure out how better to design a parking lot.

    Just thinking and sharing. I hope that others are, too.

  12. An article from today’s Times Union (4/24), featuring our own Janna Shillinlaw from New Scotland!

    Long walk home
    Americans want walkable neighborhoods, poll says. So why haven’t they been built?

  13. Another idea that residents could consider is:

    Regional Public Bicycle Program Capital Bikeshare

    *Part of rail-trail is open to the public.
    *As this study is sponsored by Capital District Transportation Committee, perhaps a comprehensive route for bikers could be established that would incorporate New Scotland’s commercial district.
    *We are building homes for people ages 55+ who might be interested in biking as a way to keeping fit and healthy.
    *Of course, the environmental, financial, and health benefits of biking need not be analyzed; they are already known to everyone.

    I encourage other residents to bring forth their ideas to this site so we can share ideas, see what other towns are doing that would benefit New Scotland, and be ready when the community meetings begin.

    In essence, we, the residents, are planning what the future of our Town will be, thanks to Kate, Liz, and the professionals involved with this study.

  14. Love these initial ideas, and hope that this website becomes an actively used forum. Re buses or other public transit: An integrated version of Park and Ride is an excellent refinement. One thing I’ve noted about public transit in New Scotland is that the number of runs extending from Price Chopper to the Village of Voorheesville and a small portion of Rt. 85 are extremely limited in number – basically designed for (limited) commuter hour service. Unfortunately, this limited service does not time well with school bus route timing in New Scotland, and parents of elementary age children have no options to catch a public bus in town because the last CDTA bus leaves before the elementary school bus pick-up. And there are no-mid day options for catching a bus back to New Scotland/Voorheesville in time to meet younger children off the bus. CDTA is accepting comments from the public on bus route and associated planning throughout the system – I’ll post a link to their information.

  15. I am hopeful that, finally, the vision that our residents have, for years, been articulating will be written into our laws so that developers and the Town Planning Board will have clear directions as to what the future of the Town will be. A plus-plus for residents, land owners, and our future. Kudos to Kate O’Rourke and Liz Kormos for working so hard to get this grant that will involve not only residents but professionals from all fields to ensure that whatever is promulgated will be feasible.

    Love the website!

    At the first workshop meeting, Chris Galvin mentioned a park-and-ride lot that fits right into the philosophy of less individual car commutes and more use of public transportation.

    I have an idea that the community could consider: Instead of just an empty parking lot (as we see in our neighboring town of Bethlehem), perhaps the lot could be part of a mixed use project so that commuters could easily shop on the way home and people living nearby could walk to a bus stop.

    Look at the photo in The New York Times article:

    “The low-rise shops near Tuckahoe’s train station, and similar ones at its Crestwood station, provide most of its commerce…”

    Although the photo is of a train station, the style of the buildings could very well be mixed-use and include a bus stop instead. Since our area does not have a large population, what would make more sense than attracting commuters and commercial development to the same spot?

    What do others think?

  16. Historically, the Hamlet of New Scotland was one of several hamlets within the Town of New Scotland. When the town’s zoning code was established, it was included within the town’s “Commercial Zone” and thus never designated as a “Commercial Hamlet” (as most of the other hamlets were). This grant identifies and focuses on a study area that happens to be located in a place known to residents as the Hamlet of New Scotland thus resulting in the title of this particular Linkage Program study. Specific hamlet boundaries will not necessarily be delineated, however, “hamlet-style” zoning will probably be a topic of public discussion.

  17. Bruce Houghton

    Hi folks,
    Since there is no “hamlet” of New Scotland, and never was, is it the intent of the study to first delineate and establish the boundries of the proposed hamlet? It appears that the topo map displayed is more a study of the commercial zone surrounding the intersection of rtes 85 and 85a rather than what might be included in a larger segment of the village of New Scotland for incorporation into the proposed hamlet.
    You have a formidable task ahead and I wish you the best of luck.

  18. This website will be a critical resource for participating in and tracking this process over the next 9 months. Thanks for launching it, and I look forward to the input that will be coming in via this site.

    Rich, I agree with your points. It would be appropriate to identify additonal “proximate” resources. And it is my hope that “mixed use” development serves open space and recreation needs along with appropriate commercial/retail development.

    Looking forward to the public input and technical expertise that this process will bring together for this part of town.

  19. Nice start, Katy, can’t wait ’til you’re started. -Dan B.

  20. It looks like a good vehicle for delivering information and notice of meetings. I am disappointed, however, that while the Study Area Map indicates open space resources like lakes and the site of the future Rail Trail, it does not indicate important resources within and adjacent to the Study Area, like the Town Park and Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, which will likely be affected by the eventual master plan. Hopefully the CDTC will revise the Study Area Map to include such open space resources to give all interested parties more complete information upon which to develop a plan that serves the best interests of BOTH the Hamlet’s “main commercial corridor” (emphasized on this site) AND the Hamlet’s open space resources which are vital to the Hamlet’s cherished rural character.

  21. Looks very good. Keep up the good work Katy, and let me know if there is anything I can do.

    Best regards,


  22. Come On !!
    Tell Us What You Think !!

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