Guilderland planning board approves final environmental impact statement

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GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS 10)– The Town of Guilderland has accepted the final environmental impact statement for projects being proposed by the Pyramid Corporation Wednesday night.

Protesters who stood outside of the town hall were not in favor of the decision.

“One site is for 222 apartment and townhome units,” explained Kenneth Kovalchik, Guilderland’s Town Planner. “Site 2 is for a proposed Costco with fuel pumps, and site 3 is proposed for development for office, retail and apartments.”

The land for the proposed projects are are all located in the vicinity of Crossgates Mall and are apart of the Pine Bush ecosystem.

“The Pine Bush ecosystem is often called the best example of an inland pine baron ecosystem in the world. The town of Guilderland has an obligation to protect this ecosystem,” explained Lynne Jackson, a Save the Pine Bush volunteer.

Protesters said they do not want to see any further development on the land.

“There is no question that those sites can be restored back to Pine Bush ecosystem,” said Jackson.

“Within The Pine Bush Preserve, you have areas designated for partial protection, full protection, and then they have areas designated as white areas,” explained Kovalchik.

The Costco site and the mixed use development site are located within white areas which means, the land has already been disturbed.

“Both sites 2 and sites 3 consist of an old single family subdivision where you now have dozens of zombie homes,” stated Kovalchik.

However, Site 1 has been deemed a partial protection area. On the North side of Crossgates mall, there are 8 1/2 acres of land that is used as a migratory route for the Karner Blue Butterfly. Those acres have been given to the Pine Bush Preserve for full protection.

Tonight’s vote passed unanimously allowing the projects to move forward. One of the next steps is for the projects to undergo a site plan review.

Protesters say, for them, their next step may be litigation.

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