Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Melissa: A recent decision at the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division has seemingly sent proponents of a new apartment complex and a Costco store in Guilderland back on track toward construction. A prior court decision had stalled the construction plans for the sprawling new development, but the Appellate Division has now overturned the previous lower court decision. Here to help discuss this legal issue and the rights of our viewers is Managing Partner, Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
So a lot to get through, Paul. It seems that this local planning board for the town of Guilderland had approved the initial steps for the project, but that that decision was then overturned after an initial court reviewed the matter. Recently though, the Appellate Division reversed that lower court decision and sided with the Planning Board. So what about the lower court’s decision, did the Appellate Division take issue with in this case?
Paul: So that is a mouthful of legalese, right, at that point, but the bottom line is what happened here is you… To get approval, you gotta go in front of the Planning Board. They said, “Yes, they can go ahead and do this movement.” Now, we’re talking about Pine Bush, Karner butterfly, 40 years of litigation and people opposed to things but they got the green light. They appealed. They said, “No, you didn’t consider all the factors you needed to consider, Planning Board.” They appealed that and they said, “Yes, you did, Planning Board, it’s okay to go forward.” Right? So, in essence, where we are right now is it looks like they’re gonna move to the next level and they’re gonna be again, it’s neither full off approval to start building tomorrow but it is a hurdle that the private developers who are putting this on have gotten through.
Melissa: So it’s not necessarily a green light to start on construction at this point?
Paul: No, it isn’t. So now they’ve got to go through and they’ve got to go to a special-use permit, right? Now that’s when they dive deep into issues like the noise, congestion, historic district, and of course, the species that exists in the pine bush. So that is…that’s where they’re gonna camp out for a while. Now, along the way that could negate the deal. If they get past that, then they go to the zoning appeals, then they would have the approval to get building permits and go but we are still a little ways off. But I would say momentum, it looks like it’s gonna happen.
Melissa: So our viewers out there who are concerned, is there anything that they can do or any way that they can stay involved in the process?
Paul: So they voted for the people to be on the Planning Board, right? So you know, it is a political process. They can voice their opposition, which they’re pretty good at doing in Guilderland and they’ve gotten lots of things changed. So they’ve got to continue that effort if they wanna stop it. And they can attend these meetings which… Never been to one but I’m told they get pretty excitedly heated when you’re talking about topics of changing what they view is the neighborhood that they live and the species who live with us.
Melissa: All right, Paul. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Of course, if you’d like more information on this topic, just head to our website, cbs6albany.com.