VOORHEESVILLE — Stewart’s Shops has filed a lawsuit against the village of Voorheesville relating to a development moratorium that prevented the chain from erecting a new store there.
This marks the first time in the chain’s 74-year existence that it has filed a lawsuit against a municipality, according to a Sept. 30 Stewart’s Shops press release. It also said the company had “conducted a nine-month rigorous regulatory review with the Village of Voorheesville” in hopes of building a new store on 112 Maple Ave. where Smith’s Tavern, a destination for local pizza lovers, used to be located. It would have taken up around 1.5 acres.
After the company “had expended significant resources on development,” the village established a moratorium on development, pausing the project’s progress. During this moratorium, the village changed the proposed property’s zoning which no longer allowed the new store to be constructed there — a move viewed by Stewart’s, according to the press release, as a “targeted effort to prevent the new shop construction moving forward.” The lawsuit was eventually filed last week.
A Stewart’s store had been located on 42 South Main St. in Voorheesville for more than three decades but it closed this past January as it was not making much profit and the village did not fully move forward with the new proposed store’s plan.
Spotlight News has reached out to Robert Conway, the village’s mayor, but did not receive comment at this time of publication.
“As an employee and family-owned company, we’ve historically been able to use a common-sense approach, working with our municipal partners to develop win-win solutions,” said Gary Dake, president of Stewart’s Shops. “In this case, we made our concerns clear regarding the path the Village was taking and the fact that our former shop was not able to meet the needs and demands [of] our customers. That shop has since closed.”
He added, “The fate of potential Stewart’s development is now in the hands [of] the Albany County Supreme Court. We remain confident that we will be able to return to the Village of Voorheesville and offer the residents a shop that can serve the needs of the community.”
Stewart’s Shops continues to operate 335 stores across 31 counties throughout upstate New York and Vermont.