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What you need to know for 04/29/2017

Pro-Walmart signs slashed by vandals in Ballston

Pro-Walmart signs slashed by vandals in Ballston

Some signs supporting a proposed Walmart store in Ballston were slashed last weekend, while nearby s
Pro-Walmart signs slashed by vandals in Ballston
Officials say 20 to 25 signs supporting a proposed Walmart store in the town of Ballston were vandalized last weekend.

Some signs supporting a proposed Walmart store in Ballston were slashed last weekend, while nearby signs opposing the controversial plan were left untouched.

About 20 to 25 signs, mostly along Route 50 near the site of the proposed big-box store, were damaged, estimated Rossi Development, the project’s local developer.

As of Wednesday, no police complaint about vandalism had been filed, though the Rossis said they plan to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest.

“While it’s nice that people are passionate on either side of the issue, this kind of damage will not be tolerated,” Frank Rossi Jr. said.

The Rossi family and Walmart are seeking town approval for a 137,000-square-foot store on Route 50 just south of Ballston. Zoning for the site allows a store that large; the town Planning Board is doing a site plan review, and is early in the process of starting what may be an extensive environmental review.

Filed in April, Walmart’s application has reignited a debate that started a decade ago, when opponents and supporters of a larger Walmart store on the same site clashed. Walmart eventually withdrew its proposal. It now says the reduced size is a response to the community concerns voiced the last time around.

Signs both for and against the new project have sprouted on lawns and roadsides in Ballston Spa and Ballston over the past month.

Gina Rossi Marozzi of Rossi Development said the damaged signs were cut with a knife. She estimated the total cost of the damage at $300 to $400.

Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz said it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on whether there will be a police investigation, but he said the damaged signs will be replaced.

“The vandalism was certainly unfortunate, but it’s not something that will have any effect on our plans,” he said by email. “We’re ordering a lot more signs — not just to replace the ones that were vandalized, but to provide to many in the community who have called to request them.”

Ben Baskin, president of Smart Growth Ballston, which opposes the store, could not be reached for comment for this story.

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