Judge dismisses federal suit against proposed Costco developers

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FILE – This Jan. 14, 2013, file photo shows a gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver. The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the U.S. legal system, creating constitutional dilemmas as the accused miss their days in court. Judges from California to Maine have postponed trials and nearly all in-person hearings to keep crowds from packing courthouses. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino dismissed a federal lawsuit filed in March to prevent clear-cutting trees on the site where developers are planning a Costco near Crossgates Mall.

The federal suit was tossed out after the judge determined that plaintiffs failed to establish “that they ‘enjoyed an “individual” entitlement in the enforcement of the regulation.'”

As reported by the Times Union, crews razed 2.5 acres of forest within hours of D’Agostino’s decision. However, Town Supervisor Peter Barber imposed a cease-and-desist order later in the day, as the area was supposed to be undergoing environmental review.

Locals are sharply divided on the project. Proponents say the community would benefit from an area Costco, which sells bulk products to members. Currently, the nearest Costco to Guilderland—near Springfield, Massachusetts—is about a hundred miles away, accessible by a roughly two-hour car trip.

Opposition to the plan focuses on increased congestion in the heavily-trafficked area, construction worries, and environmental concerns. Opponents say the wooded area is part of the distinctive pine bush ecosystem that provides unique habitat for bats and butterflies.

Take a look at the judge’s decision below:

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