The town of Ballston Zoning Board of Appeals has upheld the zoning that allows a Wal-Mart to be located just outside the village of Ballston Spa.
At a meeting Wednesday, the board rejected the arguments of Wal-Mart opponents that the land owner, Rossi Development of Ballston Spa, hasn’t made sufficient project on its development and therefore the zoning approval granted in 2011 should be overturned.
The ZBA upheld Building Inspector Tom Johnson’s ruling last fall that the Rossis have made progress by doing numerous studies, wetlands and stormwater management work and installing a section of sewer line at the site near the corner of routes 50 and 67.
“We appreciate the zoning board taking their own hard look, and obviously we agree with the findings,” said Frank Rossi II, the attorney representing his family.
The board heard arguments in the case brought by Smart Growth Ballston in March.
The group believes the Wal-Mart will be harmful to the village’s downtown business district. A Smart Growth Ballston spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment late Thursday.
The zoning legislation approved by the Town Board in 2011 stated that the planned development district expires two years after its approval if substantial progress hasn’t been made. That zoning allows a store of up to 137,000 square feet, about 50 percent larger than is otherwise allowed in the town. The Wal-Mart store proposed in the spring of 2014 is that size.
When Smart Growth Ballston challenged the zoning, Johnson found various activities in 2012 and 2013 constituted progress as required under the law, even though construction hasn’t started.
The town Planning Board is continuing to assess whether the environmental impact of the Wal-Mart has been adequately studied or whether a full environmental impact statement needs to be prepared.
The corporate retail giant’s application has revived much of the same public opposition that occurred when Wal-Mart proposed a larger store on the same site in 2004. That application was later withdrawn, though the Rossi family proceeded with efforts to rezone the land for commercial development.