GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A court has ruled in favor of a proposed Costco near Crossgates Mall. Save the Pine Bush, an environmental group fighting to preserve the Albany Pine Bush ecosystem, had filed a petition with the court to try and stop its construction.
Lynne Jackson, a volunteer with Save the Pine Bush has pushed against building a Costco and apartments on the plot of land near Crossgates Mall for a few years. With Thursday’s ruling in favor of the construction, Jackson says legally there is not much more Save the Pine Bush can do.
“Unfortunately, we took it as far as the courts will take it,” Jackson said. “Will the people and town of Guilderland and the town board listen to us? So far, they haven’t listened to us too much. I think the town of Guilderland needs to look at what it wants to do.”
According to Peter Barber, Guilderland’s town supervisor, the town wants this development. “The town went through a neighborhood study in this area because it was an abandoned subdivision,” he said. “The decision was made with community input to encourage commercial development.”
In October, a State Supreme Court judge dismissed the group’s petition, citing a decision made in another case related to Costco that also brought forward environmental concerns. Save the Pine Bush appealed. The State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department ruled to uphold the original dismissal of the petition:
It is, in sum, apparent that the Planning Board took the requisite hard look at the potential environmental impacts of concern to petitioner and offered thorough explanations for its determination. Although petitioner continues to argue that the studies upon which the Planning Board based its findings were incomplete and inaccurate, we cannot conclude that its decision to rely upon them ‘was irrational, nor may we substitute our judgment as to the accuracy of the data presented’ (Akpan v Koch, 75 NY2d at 573). Thus, we perceive no reason to depart from our prior decision upholding the Planning Board’s SEQRA determination (Matter of Hart v Town of Guilderland, 196 AD3d at 913-914).Apelate Division, Third Judicial Department
A case previously brought forward by neighbors in Westmere initially halted the project. In November 2020, a State Supreme Court justice struck down the project. In a 77-page decision, the judge stated the proposal violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act. However last July, the Appellate Court reversed that decision.
You can read the full Appellate Court decision below: