Updated: November 21, 2020 11:53 PM
Created: November 21, 2020 11:46 PM
GUILDERLAND - Town residents who live just west of Crossgates Mall in Guilderland are angry enough about the boarded up homes, the fallen timber, and the other man-made eyesores they're forced to stare at every day. It would have been much worse for many of them if a 158,000 square foot Costco warehouse store had been built in their neighborhood.
"I have nothing against Costco," Guilderland resident Tom Hart asserted, "I just don't want it built here."
Hart was one of the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the Pyramid Corporation, which owns Crossgates Mall, and against the Guilderland Planning Board which green-lighted a proposal to build Costco, and a gas station, along with 222 residential apartments in five adjacent buildings, in the neighborhood where he lives.
"They felt that this was going to be the best thing for Guilderland," Hart stated, "however a lot of people don't."
Lynne Jackson is one of the people who doesn't want to see any more commercial development in the environmentally unique area.
"Preserving and protecting the Pinebush is extremely important to us and this would have quite an impact on the Karner Blue Butterfly, on various species including bats and birds, and all kinds of species."
In his 77 page decision, State Supreme Court Judge Peter Lynch sided with the plaintiffs.
"The judge was very careful in calling out the mistakes that the planning board made," Jackson points out, "In some ways, you could say the Court really hammered the planning board."
Judge Lynch wrote, "The record is replete with conclusory, self-serving and equally troubling representations made by the project sponsor without the support of empirical data. Unfortunately, the planning board relied on."
The bottom line: no Costco, for now.
"Yes, we went against them and we won," Hart stated.
"When I look at the detail, and the arguments and the decision that the judge makes, it's very hard for me to see how Pyramid could possibly win on an appeal," Jackson concluded.
News Channel 13 reached out to Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber on Saturday. He told us he hasn't had the chance to read the judge's decision yet.
He also told us he's surprised because the last papers in opposition to the petition were filed by Pyramid late Thursday night and the lengthy decision was filed the next day.
Said Barber, "It's too early to decide about the next steps."
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