Schenectady County

Glenville hearing to focus on moratorium on certain new enterprises

At a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Wednesday the Glenville Town Board will consider a six-month ban
Lisa Durand, owner of La Moda Lisa, poses for a photograph at her Glenville shop on Wednesday, April 7, 2015.
Lisa Durand, owner of La Moda Lisa, poses for a photograph at her Glenville shop on Wednesday, April 7, 2015.

If someone wants to sell something quickly — something that could very well be stolen — Lisa Durand doesn’t even consider buying it.

The owner of La Moda Lisa, a consignment boutique on Route 50 in Glenville, says the seller has to be willing to give identification and consign the item — hand over the goods but retain ownership until they are sold at her store — to ensure everything is above-board.

And while she knows not all consignment shop owners take the same approach, she doesn’t think a six-month moratorium on new thrift stores and second-hand dealers will change that.

“What’s six months going to do? It’s not going to change the industry,” she said. “Maybe put a little bit more responsibility back on the owner to have a safely run place.”

At a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Wednesday the Glenville Town Board will consider a six-month ban on new strip clubs, adult video stores, pawn shops, vape shops and massage parlors — along with second-hand dealers and thrift stores.

The moratorium is meant to give town officials time to update the zoning code to address where businesses should be allowed as the town prepares for a $330 million casino planned in Schenectady, just south of the town’s Freemans Bridge Road corridor. Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle has said casinos attract adult businesses and pawn shops,

and town officials want to keep them from opening in the town’s gateway corridors.

As for thrift stores and consignment shops?

“They are very similar to pawn shops in the sense that you could essentially trade your goods for money,” Koetzle said. “We want to make sure we address everything once, and that’s why we want to do the moratorium — to give the town time to make sure we’re addressing everything equally and addressing it all at one time.”

The temporary ban would not affect businesses that are already open. Currently, adult businesses are allowed in the town’s research, development and technology zones, which include 37 properties in the area of Freemans Bridge Road, Sarnowski Drive and Maple Avenue as well as the Glenville Business and Technology Park on Route 5. Pawn shops, thrift stores, second-hand dealers, vape shops and massage parlors are allowed in the town’s more prevalent general business zones.

Christopher Silipigno, associate executive director for the City Mission of Schenectady, said he didn’t know enough about the intent of the proposed moratorium to comment on it. But he also said the non-denominational Christian organization’s thrift store on Route 50 in Glenville doesn’t engage in “pawn-type transactions.”

“Our clothing is strictly donated clothing,” he said.

He added, “Our general stance is that we would hope to be considered a value and a benefit to the community, that we’re in not in any way detracting from the community or adding to an element that’s thought of as undesirable.”

Koetzle said he has nothing against thrift stores and consignment shops, but he wants to make sure store owners don’t open one type of business and operate it as another.

“One example is a relaxation center opens up as ‘closely related’ to a massage parlor, but it’s not quite a massage parlor, and it’s not quite a relaxation center, either,” Koetzle said, referring to the X and Y Relaxation Centre on Route 50 where prostitution and unlicensed massage were alleged by Glenville police last month.

Koetzle also said the town has “quite a few” thrift and consignment shops — “I can think of four off the top of my head.” In addition to the City Mission, Glenville also has a Salvation Army thrift store on Route 50, which reopened after extensive renovations in June of last year. Less than 500 feet down the road from La Moda Lisa, there’s Worth Repeating, a consignment clothing shop for women.

“We want to make sure we’re not getting to a situation where we have an overabundance of them,” Koetzle said.

Durand said there should be more spot checks done at consignment shops and pawn shops to deter criminal activity, and the approval process could be more thorough.

“But to put a blanket grounding on those types of businesses is just unfair,” she said.

She added, “Why not do background checks?”

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