Will a Rite-Aid store be the right prescription for a new town of Ballston drugstore?
The town's planning board said don't line up with your shopping list just yet, because those doors aren't likely to swing open soon.
There won't be a decision for another six to eight months, said Richard Doyle, chairman of the planning board. "We're in the very preliminary review process."
A New Jersey-based developer for the national chain drugstore submitted application papers to the planning board for review at its meeting Wednesday, March 28. The application calls for constructing a 15,000-square-foot pharmacy on a 3.5-acre plot located at Route 67 and Route 50 in the northern end of town.
Ballston's new zoning laws prohibit any new construction of buildings greater than 90,000 square feet, so the Rite-Aid project doesn't go against those restrictions.
"In concept, the plan does fit," said Doyle. "Size-wise, it conforms."
If location, location, location is the crucial point for real estate, what's interesting about the Rite-Aid proposal is the location: directly across the street from one of the most hotly contested proposed projects in history, a Wal-Mart Super Center.
Last June, following more than a year of public outcry both in support of and opposition to Wal-Mart coming to town, the town board adopted new zoning laws capping projects at 90,000 square feet. The move created a permanent roadblock for the super center, spurring a lawsuit by property owners Frank and Marie Rossi of Ballston Spa. The Rossis have taken the matter to court three times, and vowed to continue to ask the courts to overturn the decision by the town board.
The Rite-Aid proposed site stands a stone's throw from the fault line in the debate about Wal-Mart. The property is located directly across Route 50, and is also owned by the Rossi family. Although it was the developer, not the Rossi family, who put forth the application for Rite-Aid, family members are keeping a watchful eye on the proposal as it moves through town committees.