Something may finally happen with a property west of Northway Exit 11 that was approved for development in the 1980s, though nothing was ever built there.
Malta Town Board members said Monday they’re ready to approve amendments to the Bishops Square planned development district that will allow gasoline sales — a critical piece in getting the Stewart’s Shop to come.
However, they postponed a final vote until March 21, to give attorneys time to draft final language.
Bishops Square would be located on 23 acres at the southeast corner of Round Lake and Raylinsky roads, just west of Exit 11. Most of the site is now vacant. It was approved for light industrial development in the 1980s, but nothing came of those plans.
Under the latest plan, the focus would be on developing retail service businesses. The Stewart’s Shop located on the north side of Round Lake Road — which doesn’t sell gas — would move across the street into a larger store that would have gas sales. If that happens, the Round Lake Hose Co. has expressed interest in the current Stewart’s site as a location for a new fire station.
Other uses that would be allowed in the development would include warehousing, a bank branch, retail businesses, offices and restaurants — potentially including up to two fast-food restaurants. Stewart’s is the only confirmed tenant.
Neighbors who live on Evans Road and other nearby streets turned out at a public hearing Monday to express concerns about loss of privacy and the potential intrusion of commercial lighting.
Town Board members said they will amend the project to require that developer Peter Belmonte plan more conifer trees in a 100-foot buffer area between the homes and the development, to provide more screening. Belmonte already plans to replace a deteriorated vinyl fence between the homes and the development that would screen the development, and said he would do the plantings.
“It’s always our intention to be good neighbors,” Belmonte said. “We realize this is a transition zone.”
Also Monday, the Town Board agreed to ask the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Round Lake Road in the same area from 40 mph to 30 mph.
Neighbors petitioned for the reduction in the area, where the road was reconstructed in 2015 with installation of two new roundabouts, at Raylinsky Road and Chango Drive. The speed limit reduction request could be expanded to include other roads in the immediate vicinity, including Raylinsky.
Town officials discussed a lower speed limit with DOT officials last year during construction, but was told the state wanted to see the impact of the roundabouts on traffic speeds before making a decision.
“The citizens’ request is well-founded in the interest of safety in view of the residential character of this area,” said resident Elwood Sloat, who is an opponent of roundabouts and organized the petition.
While the town can request such a reduction, the decision is up to state DOT officials.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.