The Niskayuna Town Board by a 3-2 vote approved the special use permit and a negative declaration under SEQR for the Stanford Crossings development at the corner of State Street and Balltown Road. The vote will allow the project to go forward.
Board members Liz Orzel Kasper and William Chapman voted against Supervisor Luke Smith, and board members Diane O'Donnell and Maria Freund at the board's meeting Tuesday, March 13. The meeting was held at Iroquois Middle School to accommodate the amount of people that showed up to speak against and in favor of the project.
Both Kasper and Chapman said they felt there was enough unanswered questions about the project to warrant an Environmental Impact Statement, which would stall the project for up to a year.
It's been a long process for all of us. I have tons of information, but I truly believe it would behoove us to do a positive declaration. I vote no, Kasper said.
Chapman said he is still getting information pertaining to this project including an 11-page letter he received right before the meeting. He pointed out that the town board has voted for a Environmental Impact Statements for many similar projects within the town including the Glen Eddy on Consaul Road, St. James Square and the Hannaford Plaza.
O'Donnell, Freund, and Smith all said the developer Highbridge Developments has worked with the town to create a plan the accommodates the requests of neighbors, and various town board. Both the Planning Commission and Conservation Advisory Council recommended an EIS report for this project.
"At this point any development in the town is going to have controversy," O'Donnell said.
Smith pointed out that the Town Board voted years ago to ban future commercial development on Route 7. He said he voted in favor of that knowing that there was still commercial property left to develop in the town.
"We want to create a town that our children can be proud of," Smith said. "People in other towns are always tell me that Niskayuna has done it right to avoid the pit falls of sprawl."
Opponent of the project and part of the Friends of the Stanford House advocacy group Bill Wilkerson said, "We aren't sure what we're going to do now, but I can tell you this isn't over."