Sustainable Saratoga supports development policies that reduce environmental impacts and make our community more livable for everyone.

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Click here for a summary of our “Smart Land Use” principles

The guiding principles that drive our advocacy are summarized in the document at right. They include:

  1. Protect the Greenbelt, the area surrounding the core of the city that currently retains a rural, low-density character

  2. Guide new development into existing developed areas of the city

  3. Reduce climate impacts of development in the city, and adapt to changing conditions

  4. Support a diverse and resilient local economy

  5. Implement mixed uses where possible in new buildings and within neighborhoods

  6. Promote compact design

  7. Provide ample and diverse housing

  8. Support a viable multi-modal transportation system

  9. Engage the public with transparency and inclusivity

To read the full-length version of our “Smart Land Use” principles, click here.

Recent Advocacy

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

Sustainable Saratoga has been an early and consistent supporter of efforts to create a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). We wrote a letter in support of the original NYSERDA grant application to help finance the development of the UDO. It has been our hope that the UDO would implement many of the sustainable development policies contained in the adopted 2015 Comprehensive Plan.  On October 14th, Sustainable Saratoga submitted a letter to Mayor Yepsen expressing concerns that the ordinance is so far behind schedule. Please click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Saratoga Places for All (SPA) Housing

Last, August, Sustainable Saratoga made a request to the City Council that they enact a zoning amendment that would mandate the creation of more middle-income housing in Saratoga Springs. For a sustainable future, we must have more diverse and affordable housing. This ordinance would add an important missing element in our community’s overall housing effort. For more information visit

City Center Parking Garage

Proposed Garage Rendering

City Center Parking Garage &
High Rock Area Mixed Use Redevelopment

Since 2012, Sustainable Saratoga has advocated for an open and transparent review process for the proposed 500-car City Center parking garage. The garage would be built on a key city-owned parcel, and would be built over Maple Avenue, creating a 120-foot tunnel. We are concerned that the design may leave the area lifeless, and we believe the parking should be integrated with commercial and/or residential uses to ensure that this area of downtown is enhanced for the people who live here.

In September 2014, we submitted extensive comments and five design alternatives to the Planning Board and Design Review Commission. To read our detailed position, click here. Also available is a brief history of Sustainable Saratoga’s involvement in the City Center’s parking structure.

On September 9th, 2015, Sustainable Saratoga submitted the following linked documents to the Planning Board regarding the City Center parking garage and the Hamilton Street Parking garage.

In July 2015 the City Council sent out “requests for proposals” (RFP) to developer interested in developing a mixed use project for the entire City owned parcels on High Rock Avenue. Sustainable Saratoga supported this more comprehensive approach to the redevelopment of the area that was spearheaded by the Citizens for High Rock. In late September the City received two responses to the RFP. To review these responses, click here. The public review of these responses is now underway.

For the latest information of our advocacy see the “News and Events” section of this website.

Saratoga NationalSaratoga National Golf Course Resort Expansion

Saratoga National Golf Course wants to construct more buildings and uses on their property that will include 148 lodging units, a business center, a spa and fitness center, and retail establishments in what is currently a low-density rural residential zone. To do this, they are seeking changes to the zoning rules that would allow this higher density commercial development. Sustainable Saratoga was against this intensive development in the Greenbelt area, and we worked with others to successfully defeat the reclassification of this land as part of the City’s comprehensive plan update. Sustainable Saratoga is also opposing a new zoning amendment that is an end run around the Comprehensive Plan.

For the latest information of our advocacy see the “News and Events” section of this website.

Saratoga Casino & Raceway Expansion

Rendering of Proposed Expansion

Saratoga Casino & Raceway Expansion

Sustainable Saratoga opposed and helped defeat a Vegas-style casino resort that the existing owners were seeking to build under the Upstate New York Gaming and Economic Development Act. The “racino” then announced plan to further expand by including a new hotel and a large event space. We and others immediately opposed the inclusion of the event space and the “racino” was forced to withdraw it. They are proceeding with the new hotel.. We are monitoring the current and future plans at the site to ensure that they do not threaten our thriving downtown or the quality of life in our community.

Comprehensive Plan

In 2012 Sustainable Saratoga started campaigning for the update of the City’s 2001 Comprehensive Plan. We held two community forums and with input from our supporters we prepared a “vision statement” of our own and a set of 135 recommended policies that we thought should be included in the new Comprehensive Plan. Click here to see the position paper.

In mid-2013 the City started work on the development of the new Comprehensive Plan. We closely monitored the progress and encouraged our followers to actively participate in the process.

On June 16, 2015 the City Council unanimously adopted the new 2015 Comprehensive Plan. Sustainable Saratoga worked to support the new Plan and we are pleased that many of our 2013 recommendations on sustainability have been incorporated in to the new plan. The most recent Final 2015 Comprehensive Planare available on the City’s website.

Sustainable Saratoga will continue to work to help with the implementation of many of the recommendations in the new Plan.

For the latest information of our advocacy see the “News and Events” section of this website.