The new Walmart Neighborhood Market under construction in Niskayuna will have to wait until next month to find out what kind of signs it can have after questions were raised Wednesday night by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
The ZBA’s questions focused on how bright the signs would be as well as their number and locations because board members are trying to keep excess light from falling on nearby homes.
A representative of the sign company, Saxton Sign Corp. of Castleton, did not have the information the board wanted, putting off a decision until at least next month.
The project was before the ZBA after the company sought permission to put up signs larger than town zoning ordinances allow and more facade signs than they allow.
The market is under construction at Mansion Square. The front of the building faces east down State Street, but all four sides are visible from one approach or another.
Attending the meeting was Brian McGrath, a resident of nearby Linda Lane. He told the board he is concerned about lighting for signs on the north and west sides of the market, both of which face Linda Lane residences.
Fences and trees are part of the overall Mansion Square project, but some residences are still exposed to the retail plaza’s lighting, McGrath told the board.
“I can understand a business is a business and they need to get people into their store,” he said. “But at night, especially during the fall once the leaves have fallen, we’ve got no protection whatsoever from light pollution.”
There was no information on brightness within the proposal before the ZBA. The board members needed to know that, as well as more information on why the variances are needed, board chairman Robert Hess said.
The board also needs to know when the sign lighting will be illuminated, board member Vincent Daly said.
“We don’t want to illuminate the neighborhood with these signs,” he said.
The board has granted variances to other businesses in the Mansion Square project. The board requested that the town Planning Department provide information on those variances at the next ZBA meeting, scheduled for Sept. 18.
Construction on the Walmart Neighborhood Market began in April, and it was expected to open in October. It was unclear whether the store was still on that schedule or whether the sign delay would impact that.
The Niskayuna market will be about a quarter of the size of Walmart’s traditional supercenters and will focus on groceries, with limited general merchandise like health and beauty aids. The store is to measure about 40,000 square feet and employ about 90 people.
Walmart currently has about 250 of the markets nationwide.