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NISKAYUNA: Board to vote Tuesday

Several key aspects of the project would be reviewed in detail if a full EIS is required. They are:

Traffic

Lawyers for the development company have already submitted a traffic study to the town board that addresses the impact new stores will have on the surrounding area. The study highlights existing traffic patterns and indicates that most shoppers are already traveling through the area or shopping at the Mohawk Commons retail hub located across the street from the Ingersoll Home.

Critics have hammered the study, saying it doesn't go far enough and questioning some of the assumptions on which it is based. The mix of retail uses in the area would change if a new strip mall is built on the Ingersoll parcel, they have said. Traffic patterns at the busy intersection will also change if new stores are added to the mix.

Archeological

Highland Development LLC has taken the rare step of hiring an outside firm, Hartgen Associates, to conduct archeo-logical digs on the property. They have also revised their original proposal for developing the parcel. Under the revised plan, shopping mall developers will no longer move the historic Ingersoll Home from its existing site. They will, however, still remove part of the existing structure. That has left many opponents still expressing concern that the building will not ultimately survive if a shopping mall is added to the site. A formal EIS would address that concern.

Aesthetics

In a series of speeches and presentations before the town board, critics of the project have spent much of their time pointing to the visual impact a new shopping mall would have on the area. Pointing out that construction of the shopping mall would require tearing down of acres of trees to build stores and a parking lot on the parcel, Champagne has said that the impact would be devastating on the aesthetics for homeowners along Albany Street, Linda Lane and other nearby streets. If a complete environmental impact study is required, developers would have to provide a plan for mitigating and minimizing the aesthetic impact of the new mall. ""

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