09 Feb Town official: Guilderland Costco special use permit applic…
Meantime, a draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Rapp Road Residential/Western Avenue Mixed Use Redevelopment Project in Guilderland was submitted on Christmas Eve to town officials. From that point forward, Guilderland Town Supervisor Peter Barber told NewsChannel 13 the Planning Board has 45 days to review it, as required under NYS law. “With that period closing, at its February 12th meeting, the Planning Board will decide on its acceptance and proceed to a Final E.I.S. The Planning Board will soon start its site plan review, likely at its February 26th meeting,” Barber added. The D.E.I.S. according to paperwork made available on the Guilderland town website involves details of the development “with a specific emphasis on the pending applications for the development of 222 residential living units in five building that have been before the Planning Board since November of 2018 and the Costco Special Use Permit application that was submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals in November of 2019.
Chief Building and Zoning Inspector Jackie Coons added, “Because the environmental review does relate to the Costco application, which I am responsible for forwarding to everyone, I’ve been in contact with town Planning Board officials and was notified they’re going to set a public hearing and a public comment for that review, at the next planning board meeting. That doesn’t mean next Wednesday will be a public hearing that night, it just means they’re going to deem all of the documents submitted for that review to be complete enough to have a public hearing,” Coons added.
On February 13, 2020, Coons confirms the town will be able to begin accepting public comment related to the environmental review. “Not related to the Costco site plan but to the environmental review and then, they will hold a public hearing sometime in March and once they hold the public hearing, they will keep the public comment period open for 10 days after that and then they will proceed with the process of finalizing the environmental impact statement which can take several months,” Coons added.
Guilderland is using town-designated engineers to review the D.E.I.S. for completeness.
Coons told NewsChannel 13 this is typical to review issues related to traffic storm water and infrastructure.
“They’ll review the standards of design for traffic, for parking lots, for access to public right of ways, and for intersection safety and recommend ways to mitigate any increase that could come from traffic from both Costco and multi-family project that’s associated with the environmental review, before the board even considers the actual site layout of the project.”
So, what happens after a public comment period, when one is set? “If a lot of people come from the neighborhood out and they disagree it’s compatible with the neighborhood, the Zoning Board is going to be hesitant to grant the variance, but if there’s no concern that the taller light poles would have a negative effect on the environment, that they’re incompatible with the neighborhood, that the same benefit could be achieved another way, then the zoning board should consider to grant the variance,” Coons explained.
People living and working by the proposed development are divided.
Lisa Hart lives on Westmere Terrace
“I’m not very happy with it at all. The biggest reason for us is really traffic. We have a hard enough time getting off our street as it is. I know the town and Pyramid has been trying to work with us, but just putting it where it is, they’re literally turning our suburban area into a total commercial strip, and it is really affecting our quality of life.”
Hart says there are so many other reasons she and many of her neighbors are against it including for the environmental impact, air quality and illumination from the lights. As a taxpayer, Hart feels her views are being ignored. “They’re building a 222 apartment unit development back there and that traffic will also be coming up to this corner and it’s still going to impact us just as much, 360 plus parking spots there for people to come in and out of and then you add 700 parking spots for Costco and then again all the traffic is just ridiculous.”
Reporter Jill Konopka asked, ‘Is it safe to say you’ll be attending and speaking your mind?’ Hart responded, “Oh, yes, pretty much our whole street will be there.”
Drue Sanders who owns Drue Sanders Custom Jewelers on Western Avenue is excited for what may come and thinks it will have a positive impact on her business too.
“I think it’s wonderful. It will be a great opportunity. I know they have a great reputation. I think the traffic will be great, I see no downside to it.”
Behind Sanders’ business is the mostly vacant neighborhood of Rielton Court and Tiernan Court. The majority of properties were sold years ago in anticipation of future development and Sanders is ready for the “blight” she calls it to be developed. “Most houses have been sold so it’s very dark and scary. I’ll be happy to see some activity.
Jackie Coons knows the Guilderland Town Board has its work cut out for members.
“There has been a lot of public interest in the Costco application, a lot of local interest in the multi-family project affecting people in our area, larger scale public interest of Costco probably because there isn’t one in the near vicinity of the Capital Region and people are just anxious to see if it’s actually going to be constructed here.”
13Investigates called Costco Wholesale in Washington State. A spokesperson referred us to the same statement emailed NewsChannel 13 back in September of 2019.
Here is a copy of that email.
“Thank you for reaching out to Costco and filling out the Media Inquiry Form.
Unfortunately, it is our company policy to not comment regarding future Costco warehouses until we are ready to share details about the new location (usually 2-3 months in advance).
In the future, please visit our website https://www.costco.com/new-locations.html.
There you will find the names and dates of upcoming locations.
Please do not attribute my name to the information in this e-mail.
According to Costco’s website the West…