Developer wants to double size of store but village has questions
CHATHAM–An Capital Region developer wants to replace its existing Price Chopper supermarket with a 45,000-square-foot structure. But the plan raised questions for some village officials when the Village Board met last week with representatives of the developer, Schuyler Companies, to hear some of the details, including a proposal for water and sewer service from the village.
The new Price Chopper would be built adjacent to the current supermarket, the anchor store at the small shopping plaza on Route 66 at the south end of the village. Most of the seven acres south and east of the plaza, where the new building would be built, lie within the Town of Ghent.
The new store would be roughly double the size of the existing supermarket, Jonathan Walters, chairman of the Ghent Planning Board, said this week. He said discussions Ghent planners have had with the company are “highly preliminary” and very informal, but he expects the company will present detailed plans at his board’s meeting December 2.
The Schuyler Companies, a commercial real estate developer based in Latham with projects all around the Capital Region, co-owns the buildings that house the Hudson and Catskill Price Chopper markets. Mr. Walters said that Schuyler has told planners in Ghent that it does not own the building in the Chatham plaza currently occupied by the Price Chopper, but it did recently sign a 10-year lease on the space.
At the Chatham Village Board meeting last Thursday, November 12, the company offered to pay the village $20,000 a year for 20 years under a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement. Schuyler officials said they would also pay a $50,000 fee to hook-up to the village water and sewer and pay standard rates for those services.
“I don’t think it’s an unreasonable offer,” said Trustee David Chapman.
But other trustees had concerns about what the Town of Ghent was being offered and the possible overuse of the water and sewer lines. Trustee Patrick Wemitt said he wanted “to see the letter they sent to Ghent” before making any decisions about the offer.
“You’re basically trying to pay us off,” said Trustee George Grant to the five representatives at the meeting. He said the last time the Schuyler Companies came to the board with this proposal in a recent informal meeting, the village was not inclined to allow the firm to connect to municipal water and sewer lines.
Mr. Grant, who is the village water and sewer commissioner, said, “We are at capacity at that sewer.”
Representatives from the company said that they were trying to make the village better by bringing new jobs to the area. They said Schuyler was also attempting to avoid a situation that required annexing village land. “These numbers were arrived at with the intent of keeping the village whole,” said one company representative.
“This was a proposal given to us to review,” said Mr. Chapman, “we should review it.” The board was scheduled to meet Wednesday evening, November 18, to discuss the offer and plan to have an answer at the next meeting, December 10. Board members promised to have an answer for Schuyler by then.
“Everything is happening in Ghent,” said Village Clerk Carol Simmons to requests for more information about the plan this week.
Calls to the Schuyler Companies were not returned in time to be in this story.
Drinking water and sanitary sewers are not the only challenges facing the new supermarket project. Mr. Walters of the Ghent Planning Board, said there are also questions about storm water runoff at the site, which he described as very wet.
Reporting on the water and sewer in the village, Mr. Grant said that the village was replacing broken water meters and doing more smoke tests to find issues in the breaks and cracks in the lines. He also said that the state has set new rules for the open water reservoirs and will help the village meet the new standards at its reservoir. Right now the village is preparing a road around the reservoir to make it possible for village trucks to turn around.
On another water matter, Mr. Grant stressed, as he has in the past, that there is a problem with villagers using sump pumps to remove water from their basements.
The village has started work on a new sludge processing machine, and Mr. Grant said that once work is done on that project, the village can focus on finding the sump pumps that cause problems by overloading the village sewer system. He and the mayor said that people will start being fined, with Mayor Paul Boehme noting that he had already “noted that it was a $250 fine for the first offence and goes up from there.”
The next village meeting will be Thursday, December 10, at 7p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.