Steps likely on YMCA and Wal-Mart projects

New developments are likely this week in the long-stalled Wal-Mart and YMCA projects.

New developments are likely this week in the long-stalled Wal-Mart and YMCA projects.

Wal-Mart may be presenting information to complete its draft environmental impact statement, and the Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday to rule on whether the zoning code will allow the YMCA to add about 30 housing units to its existing 23-bed facility on East Fulton Street.

Wal-Mart spokesman Phil Serghini said Monday that consultants on the proposed Gloversville Supercenter store plan to file new information this week designed to address issues raised in January by the Planning Board. The board is lead agency reviewing the impact statement and asked in January for more research on traffic impact, drainage and other issues.

If the new documents are filed this week, Fulton County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty, consultant to the Planning Board, said a work session will be conducted later in the month to review the documents.

Mayor Tim Hughes, an advocate for the project, said he was in contact with Wal-Mart representatives last week and characterizes their attitude as hopeful that the new information will be sufficient to answer planning board questions. Hughes said there are tentative plans to hold the work session May 20.

Serghini said the information will be filed, but it will be up to the board to decide what he called the important question: “is it complete?”

If the board declares the draft complete, a period of public comment begins, Geraghty said. Until the board approves an impact statement on the project, a group of more than 10 entities including state and federal agencies and other local governmental bodies cannot start their approval process, Geraghty said.

Though city officials initially forecast completion of the board’s environmental review by late spring, Geraghty said on the current schedule it could be fall or later.

Hughes agreed with that assessment, but said he still expects to see the store open by Christmas 2009.

Serghini declined to speculate on a timetable, but said a store opening normally takes a year after groundbreaking.


On the YMCA proposal to add about 30 housing units to its East Fulton Street facility, Geraghty said the project direction will depend on a ZBA ruling. If the ZBA upholds Building Inspector D. Robert Robbins’ interpretation that the zoning code would permit the project under the category of a hotel, then the Planning Board will resume its site plan review.

If the ZBA agrees with Planning Board member Timothy Mattice that the housing plan cannot be regarded as a hotel, then the YMCA must either seek a variance from the ZBA or ask the Common Council to consider revising the zoning code.

In any case, review of the proposal itself cannot begin until at least the June round of city board meetings. Geraghty said. YMCA officials were planning to begin the $3.5 million project over the summer.

Categories: Schenectady County

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