Saratoga County

Route 50 corridor in Wilton could get busier

Retail development would come to some of the last remaining open acres in the Northway Exit 15 comme
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Retail development would come to some of the last remaining open acres in the Northway Exit 15 commercial corridor under a proposal being review by the town of Wilton.

The proposal would develop 32 acres of open land on the north side of Route 50, most of it surrounded by existing commercial development.

The land in question is located along Lowe’s Drive between a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store and strip mall developments facing Route 50. The land has been cleared in the past, but hasn’t been developed.

Town Supervisor Arthur J. Johnson said he supports the idea of bringing more retail to that area.

“That was always intended to be retail,” he said. “It fits with what our comprehensive plan and the zoning allows.”

The only identified tenant is an Aldi’s discount grocery, but about 100,000 square feet of additional retail space is proposed, broken into four development areas. The land is owned by KMDA LLC of Columbia, Missouri, a national commercial real estate developer.

“They’re looking to get a concept approved so it will be easier to market,” Johnson said.

As proposed, strip-style development would be occurring on both sides of Lowe’s Drive. Plans include what would become a new town road running north off Lowe’s Drive. That road would stop at the edge of the development, but could eventually be linked through to residential developments along Old Gick Road, such as the Paddocks at Saratoga apartment complex. Town officials said that could relieve some existing Route 50 traffic congestion.

Aldi’s is looking to move forward as soon as possible, while the rest of the development won’t be built until tenants are secured, according to a presentation made by the developers’ engineers to the Wilton Planning Board in February. ThePlanning Board earlier this week gave a favorable recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday on dozens of variances developers are seeking from building setback and parking requirements and for reduced green space.

Overall, the proposed development would provide 20 percent green space, though the town standard calls for 35 percent. Sign-size variances are also being requested.

The Saratoga County Planning Board voted Thursday to send the town a letter containing a number of criticisms and recommendations because of the number of variances and small amount of green space.

“There are things that have to be mitigated all through the area,” said county Senior Planner Michael Valentine.

Among the concerns is how close the rear of some of the developed properties will be to homes in the back of the Pyramid Pines mobile home park, which abuts it.

Exit 15 has seen extensive commercial development over the past 20 years, including construction of the Wilton Mall, a Wal-Mart Supercenter and numerous other big-box and strip-mall projects, along with fast-food and casual-dining restaurants.

Johnson said it’s the next major commercial corridor north of Exit 9 in Clifton Park, and the town wants it there, because of the tax base and sales tax revenue it provides.

“With Saratoga County growing the way it is, people want to locate here, and it’s logical that Exit 15 will develop,” Johnson said.

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