Two members of the New Scotland Commercial Zone Advisory Committee have resigned as of Tuesday, Nov. 18, according to Town Supervisor Tom Dolin.
Dolin said Roz Robinson, the committee chair and Cynthia Elliott handed in letters of resignation from the committee on Tuesday.
Robinson said she had two primary motivations for leaving. The first was the alleged conflict of interest regarding CZAC member Liz Kormos, and the second was the bullying tactics of the advocacy group New Scotlanders for Sound Economic Development, also known as NS4SED, regarding the direction new zoning laws should take.
Kormos was accused by Robinson of not disclosing a business relationship Kormos had with a potential bidder on the Bender Melon Farm, a key piece of property in the commercial zone.
`I still believe, and always will believe, she had a conflict. It really is a matter of trust for me,` Robinson said. `I don’t think I can serve the town and the committee without having confidence in the committee.`
CZAC was charged with drafting recommendations to change the towns zoning law to coincide with the Comprehensive Plan. Sphere Development LLC is planning to develop the Bender farm with a 137,000 square-foot retail anchor store if the zoning law changes permit it. Kormos, a member of NS4SED and supporter of a 50,000 square foot cap on retail developments, oppose Spheres proposal.
Robinson said that CZAC had completed about 80 percent of its work with the help of Mike Welti, a planner with Behan Planning Associates, the private planning firm contracted to assist in the zoning changes.
Robinson added that she is `saddened` by how the situation turned out and said the committee did a lot of good work.
Greg Widrick, a managing partner at Sphere said it has not changed its plans in light of the recent developments.
`We’re committeed and where here to the end,` he said.
He added that is also concerned with the information Kormos was giving CZAC because it was the same information she was providing her business associate Mark Shafer as his consultant. He also said Kormos also had the responsibility to disclose her potential agreement to be a `minority` partner in the ownership if Schafer won the bid.
Town officials will discuss how to proceed Dolin said, and no action has been taken at this time regarding the formation of a new committee or the replacement of Robinson or Elliott.
`Nothing has been discussed yet,` Dolin said.