The projects have been shut down after Westmere neighbors took legal action. Between traffic concerns, noise, and overall environmental worries, neighbors don’t want to add these new developments in their backyard.
“I was told by one of the officials on the planning board that no matter what we did, anything that we did, the project was going to go through at that point,” says Tom Hart, Guilderland resident.
Tom Hart is one of the neighbors who filed suit against the Guilderland planning board and pyramid management. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino dismissed a federal lawsuit that was filed in March to prevent clear-cutting trees on the site where developers are planning the proposed Costco near Crossgates Mall. Hart says he has nothing against the big box store, he just doesn’t want it in his backyard.
“Trying to get out of Westmere Terrace on a regular basis is a nightmare. And if you’re talking about a Costco being two blocks away— not even two blocks away, it would be even worse,” says Hart.
On Friday, Hart got the answer he’s been wanting to hear for months. In a 77-page decision, Supreme Court Justice Peter Lynch states the proposed project violates the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Steve Wickham, the chairman of the Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth says he was thrilled on the court’s decision and this will help preserve the pine bush ecosystem.
“They have acres of parking lot that they don’t use now, and their mall empty space in it, and will probably have more empty space,” says Wickham.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Lynch also said in his decision he found the Guilderland Planning Board only provided quote self-serving and equally troubling representations made by the project sponsor [Pyramid], without the support of empirical data, which, unfortunately, the planning board relied on.”
NEWS10 reached out to the Guilderland Town Supervisor, Peter Barber, for a comment. “I have not yet spoken to the town attorney who represented the town in this litigation. until I do so, I cannot comment. It is largely up to the applicant Pyramid Companies on how it may wish to proceed in light of the decision,” says Barber.
“With this decision, everything if they [Planning Board/Pyramid Management] wanted to proceed, they’re going to have to start over or they’ll have to win an appeal,” says Wickham.