QUEENSBURY — What makes a building a mall? Is it the type of businesses inside, or simply that everything is under one roof?
The Town Board wants to vastly expand the types of commercial activity allowed in the Enclosed Shopping Center zone, which encompasses Aviation Mall. At a workshop meeting Monday, the board considered 29 additional uses, all of which it supported.
The proposal will go to the Planning Board for a recommendation and then return to the Town Board for a public hearing and a final vote.
The change began when Pyramid Management Group, which owns Aviation Mall, asked for a zone amendment to allow apartments.
That opened the floodgates.
Board members wanted to know why indoor boat and auto sales weren’t allowed.
The mall asked for permission to have live theater, in hopes of opening a comedy club.
Thinking about a 150-unit apartment complex next door, day care centers are now on the list as a potential use.
Well beyond the traditional ideas of retail and entertainment, the mall may be allowed to host health care facilities, a veterinary clinic and a church.
“There’s no good reason why we don’t, so we should add them,” Supervisor John Strough said of the ideas.
Board member Tony Metivier was also supportive.
“I foresee your mall turning into enclosed boat shops, auto shops and live venues,” he said.
Board members went through every commercial use in the code in an effort to add as many as possible. Several times, Pyramid’s director of government affairs, Dan Aitken, seemed to know the code best. He thumbed through his own copy of the town’s codebook, saying that he didn’t ask for certain uses because the mall wouldn’t fit the definition. For example, board members asked about allowing a nursery inside the mall, perhaps for a farmers market, but the definition is for greenhouses and outdoor growing areas for plants, not retail sale.
Board members even considered allowing a paintball facility.
“You’ve got the room” outdoors, Metivier said.
But Strough shook his head. “It doesn’t go well with residential,” he said.
And the definition allows only outdoor games of paintball, not indoor games.
Other uses that the board enthusiastically put on the list were for items that residents sometimes do not want to live near, including a kennel and a microbrewery. And some were for uses that are unlikely, including a museum and a TV or radio station.
Others seemed to be no-brainers: a bank, a fast food establishment, a tavern and a storage facility.
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