Conservation Conversation Held in Malta
Saratoga PLAN and the Town of Malta invited the public to a free public “Conservation Conversation” on April 13, 2017, in the Malta Community Center. More than 25 local landowners and concerned citizens attended the educational event lead by Maria Trabka, of Saratoga PLAN, Jaime O’Neill, Planner for Saratoga County, David Haight, Chair of the Town of Malta Farmland and Open Space Committee, Audrey Ball, Director of Parks, Recreation and Human Services for the Town of Malta, and Tony Tozi, Building and Planning Coordinator for the Town of Malta.
Topics discussed included currently conserved lands in Malta, five different options for conserving farms and other properties, town regulations, and the pluses and minuses of different approaches to protecting nature spaces.
Trabka also provided information on the costs and necessary steps, what makes for a feasible project, and sources of funding. O’Neill noted that there are county and town funds, as well as state funding, to support land conservation. Local farm owners commented on their experiences, working with PLAN, Saratoga County, and the Town of Malta to protect their farmland for agricultural use today and for future generations. Haight explained several additional sources for farmland funding, particularly for new and younger farmers.
Tozzi explained how clustered development can benefit both the landscape and the business interests of developers, while Ball discussed how outdoor recreational opportunities can be tied into new development.
Informational handouts, maps, and contact details were provided for those who wanted to keep the conversation going after the meeting.