CHATHAM – The village Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal to expand the Plaza on Route 66 that currently houses the Price Chopper supermarket. The board reviewed the plans at the monthly meeting this week and set the hearing for Monday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m.
The Hampshire Company, which owns the Plaza, plans to change the configuration of the stores in the Plaza, cutting one retail space completely, so that the space now used by Price Chopper would expand to twice its current size. The plaza overall would be reconfigured so that the expanded retail space occupies the center of the structure with smaller retail stores on either side of it.
Even as Hampshire plans this expansion, Price Chopper plans to leave the Plaza at the south end of the village and construct a new building literally next door on a lot that lies mostly in the Town of Ghent. That move has generated controversy and a suit filed by the Village of Chatham against the Ghent Planning Board over whether a new supermarket building would have a significant environmental impact on the village.
This week the Village of Chatham Planning Board reviewed plans for Hampshire’s expansion of the existing plaza, addressing several issues, including potential flooding along nearby state Route 66. Doug Clark of Clark Engineering, which has been hired by Hampshire, said the new plans will have more storage area for water, though he believes the existing system at the Plaza is working.
“You have a drainage issue and it’s not going to be solved parcel by parcel,” he said of the potential for flooding.
Planning Board Chair Daniel Herrick said he hoped that the Plaza would keep the same neutral impact to the flooding issue as it does now, “or do a little more,” he said.
Mr. Clark also pointed out the building is within the service area of the village and already uses water and sewer services provided by the village.
The board also looked at a traffic study done for the proposed Price Chopper building that included the expansion plans at the Plaza. The study concluded that there would be no impact on Route 66 traffic with the two, larger buildings.
William Better, a lawyer for Hampshire, mentioned the proposal for a road connecting the existing plaza to the new supermarket, saying that neither Hampshire nor Price Chopper owns the land where that road might go, so they have no guarantee that the road can be built.
The board voted to accept the application from Hampshire to expand the Plaza as complete and will hold the public hearing on Monday February 27 at 7:30pm in the Tracy Memorial.
Emails to Price Chopper about the expansion of the Plaza were not returned by deadline. Price Chopper holds the lease to the space in the Plaza for another seven years, and company representatives have said they plan to sublease the space once they move to their new building.