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Stewart's site

Seen here is property on Ridge Street that was once home to a Time Warner Cable office. The Glens Falls Planning Board on Tuesday approved a project to build a larger Stewart's Shop building across the street from its existing shop.

GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Planning Board on Tuesday approved a plan for a larger Stewart’s Shop at the old Time Warner Cable building site.

Stewart’s is seeking to build a 3,850-square-foot store and three-pump gasoline canopy, which will have six fueling stations.

The old Time Warner Cable building recently was demolished.

Neighbors continued to express concern that the new Stewart’s plans would not fit in with the character of the neighborhood. Company officials had declined to submit any revised plan that would have moved the building closer to Ridge Street.

The latest changes to the plan included a decrease in the number of gasoline pumps from four to three, addition of a sidewalk around the perimeter, replacement of the stone façade with gray brick veneer and relocation of the bike path connection and bike rack. Green space on the site has been increased from 33% to 38%, and asphalt reduced from 45% to 39%.

The vote was 6-1.

Chuck Marshall, real estate representative for Stewart’s said he is not sure when construction will start. It may not be until March or April.

“Obviously, we ran the risk of losing the construction season and we’ll know more in the next two weeks, develop building plans,” he said.

Construction on the roughly $1.5 million project should take about 10 weeks, according to Marshall.

The vote followed another lengthy public hearing in which neighbors expressed concern that Stewart’s did not come up with any revised plans.

Marshall reiterated his view that the company has a completely compliant plan that does not require variances.

“It doesn’t mean we’re unwilling to move lights or trees,” he said.

Matt Fuller, an attorney for Stewart’s, said he believes the building would fit in with the other commercial uses along Ridge Street.

He noted that the city’s zoning code has minimum setback requirements — not maximum setback requirements that exist in some other cities that are trying to pull buildings closer to the street. Other buildings along the street are nonconforming.

Resident John Caffry, who lives on Wing Street, said although the project complies with setback requirements, he does not believe it conforms to the character of the community. The plant is too auto-centric with its vast parking lot and is not pedestrian-friendly, Caffry said. He said Stewart’s should try to come up with alternative designs, as the company has done in other communities.

“There’s a lot of ways they can do it and they seem to be unwilling to change their cookie-cutter, slap-it-down design,” he said.

Resident Mark Noordsy, of Graves Street, suggested moving the building closer to Ridge Street and make it more like the overall design of the Stewart’s Shop on Glen Street.

Raymond Avenue resident Heather Shoudy Brechko said the board should take more time with the Stewart’s project. She said that the Cumberland Farms store on Bay Street took six meetings.

However, board members were ready to vote.

“I think you’ve done an extraordinary amount of work. I think the plans are satisfactory,” said board member Peter Accardi.

Board member Rachel Murray liked that there is more green space.

Accardi, Murray, Chairman Dan Bruno, Kathleen Doyle, Ethan Hall and Ronald Greene voted in favor of the project.

Brigit Culligan was the lone member voting in opposition. She said she wished that Stewart’s had presented different concepts to the board and had not just said it considered them and then dismissed them.

“I’m going to be the lone one who doesn’t like this at all and I will be completely honest,” he said. “I don’t think this fits in with our city at all.”

The board put some conditions on the plan, including that deliveries would be restricted to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; there would be a 6- or 8-foot privacy fence; the building signs would not be internally illuminated; there would be a series of staggered shrubs planted along Graves Street; and there would be two bicycle racks placed on site.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, Glens Falls and Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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