A Stewart’s shop will be built at the southern entrance to the Luther Forest Technology Campus under a zoning change approved Monday by the Malta Town Board.
The town’s deal with the regional convenience store chain calls for it to provide $200,000 toward installing public water in the surrounding area, where many people have problems with their groundwater wells.
Stewart’s first proposed a store at the Route 67 entrance to the tech campus more than a year ago. Much of the intervening time has been spent on the water issue, since the area doesn’t have public water and groundwater quality is poor.
“Long ago we figured out that long term, the southern entrance to Luther Forest would be a really well-traveled road,” said Tom Lewis, a Stewart’s real estate representative.
The northwest corner of the entrance was rezoned from residential to commercial, allowing for construction of a Stewart’s shop and a branch of the Adirondack Trust Co.
The rezoning was approved by a 4-1 margin. Councilman Peter Klotz has consistently voted against the project and did so again, saying he doesn’t think commercial uses are suitable for that part of town.
The $200,000 payment will be a “community benefit” to extend public water from the Stewart’s site to about a dozen homes on Old State Road and Dugan Hill Road.
Residents of the Maltaville area have grown frustrated in recent years because of heavy truck traffic from the Halfmoon rail yard and high traffic volume during shift changes at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Luther Forest.
Resident Christopher Luhn said neighbors realize the vacant lot at the tech park entrance is unsightly. “We’d like to see something productive there, but we’d like to get something out of it,” he told the Town Board.
Under an agreement hammered out over several months, the town’s private water company, Saratoga Water Services, would purchase water from the Saratoga County Water Authority, which has a water main on Route 67.
The Stewart’s money would then be used to create a residential waterline, from which Saratoga Water Services would supply Stewart’s and as many residences as can be reached for $200,000.
Bringing water to the entire Maltaville area has been estimated to cost more than $1 million.
Saratoga Water Services will also put some money into the project, but hasn’t decided how much, said company President Alec Mackay.
The water deal still requires reviews and approvals from the water authority, the state Health Department and the state Public Service Commission. The state reviews could take months.
“It’s going to be quite some time before the shop is built,” Lewis said. “It could be 2016, maybe in 2015.”
The land sale will bring $600,000 in much-needed revenue to the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp. Most of the money, however, will go toward paying off loans from Empire State Development and the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency.