Malta Planning Board faces lawsuit

The Town of Malta may be heading to court following the filing of a lawsuit claiming the Malta Planning Board's decision to reject a site plan application for a CVS Pharmacy along Route 9 was unjust.

Paul and Joan Constantine, along with their contractor, Malta Properties, LLC, have filed suit against the seven-member board, alleging the reasons for the determination are not articulated and are not supported by the Record. The lawsuit was filed Friday, May 23, and sets an Article 78 proceeding for Wednesday, July 9, at the Saratoga County Municipal Center in Ballston Spa.

According to the Constantines' attorney, Michael Hill of Miller, Mannix, Schachner and Hafner, the Article 78 was filed to preserve his client's rights, and that the Constantines have recently filed a new application.

"We're trying to pursue the new application, and if our client is successful, we would probably discontinue the Article 78," said Hill. "Our client's preference is to obtain approval for the new site plan."

The Constantines own 2525 Route 9, where they have been planning to build a 13,225-square-foot CVS Pharmacy, complete with drive-through. The application has been appearing before the Planning Board for more than a year.

The suit contests that the application met all zoning ordinances and requirements of the town code. It also states that Malta's Planning Director Anthony Tozzi influenced the decision when he sent two letters to the Planning Board suggesting the store would not fit into Malta's downtown plans. On the date of the second letter, April 22, the Planning Board unanimously rejected of the site application.

According to the Constantines' lawsuit, this alone should be means to annul the board's decision.

"It was evident that the Planning Board improperly delegated its decision-making authority to the director and adopted his recommendation for site plan disapproval without critical review," states the lawsuit.

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