GHENT — The Ghent Planning Board met last week with representatives from Price Chopper, The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club and The Nature Institute about the proposed projects of each organization. The board has not yet granted final approval on any of them, but it did make progress on all three applications.
The Price Chopper people spoke first at the June 1 meeting at Ghent Town Hall. Chatham village trustees and members of the village Planning Board attended the meeting since the proposed Price Chopper building would be partly in the village and would hook up to the village water system.
Price Chopper began discussions with the municipalities on the plan to build a new store on the lot next to the existing store on Route 66 last year. Village officials are facing the need for upgrades to the sewer, so Price Chopper plans to build its own septic system for the new store.
There have also been discussions with the town and village Planning Boards about the land Price Chopper plans to use. “We are fully aware there is flooding there,” said Mike Tucker, one of the designers working on the project for the supermarket company. The new market would add more drainage areas and green space. “Everything was designed to meet the updated DEC requirements,” he said of protected wetlands on the property.
The new store, which would be twice the size of the old one, would remain open 24 hours a day and have a drive-through pharmacy. Steve Duffy, vice president of architectural design for Price Chopper, said the company has reduced the size of the sign on the front of the building and given the whole store a barn-like look to fit in with the rural setting. These decisions were made after many discussions with the boards.
The two Planning Boards will hold a joint public hearing about the project Wednesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. at Ghent Town Hall.
The next issue that was brought before the board was the Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club on Fowler Lake Road in the Town of Ghent. Club members came to the board months ago to ask for approval of an addition on the club to be used for storage and for permission to repair the roof.
The board debated the issues, with some members wanting to discuss shorter hours for shooting due to neighbors’ complaints.
But the club’s lawyer, Tim Nugent, said the board does not have the right under town zoning laws to enforce shorter hours since the addition did not change the use of the club. “They do want to be good neighbors,” he said of the club.
The board could not come to any consensus on whether or not it had the authority to require new rules affecting the club. Board member Larry Machiz made a motion to deny the club’s request until club officials came to the board with a proposal that reduced the impact of sound from the firing range on neighbors. That motion was not carried.
Another board member proposed a motion to restrict the hours, which also didn’t pass. The town’s lawyer, Ted Guterman, said that if the board makes no decision the application will be approved automatically two months after the public hearing, which was closed in April.
“I’m very disappointed in the applicants for not working with the neighbors,” Planning Board President Jonathon Walters said to the club members at the meeting.
The final issue at the meeting also involved neighbors, this time on May Hill Road. The Nature Institute is planning to add on to its building on the private road and hopes to add 48 parking spaces so the organization can hold a handful of large events at the space each year. Neighbors and one lawyer representing a neighbor on the road worried about off-site parking and traffic on the street.
The board received new materials from the Nature Institute’s lawyer about the upgrades. The project was not approved but the board did close the public hearing. Anyone who wishes to submit comments on the proposal may do so up to one week before the July meeting.
The Ghent Planning Board meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .