BALLSTON – The Ballston Planning Board granted final approval to plans for the CVS Pharmacy proposed to be built at the corner of Lakehill Road and Route 50 during Wednesday’s board meeting.
The project was first presented before the planning board in February of last year. The proposed CVS will replace the existing store. Plans call for a 13,225 square foot building, with 57 parking spaces, a drive through window and access to the parking lot from both Lakehill Road and Route 50.
In order to provide access to the CVS parking lot from Route 50, the Zaremba Group, developers for the project, negotiated an easement agreement with the Burnt Hills Fire District to share a driveway with the neighboring building, Fire Station No. 1.
The easement agreement allows the CVS to connect the parking lot to Route 50 utilizing the second driveway to the left of the fire station as a shared driveway. The agreement was approved unanimously by the Burnt Hills Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners in August and through a public referendum in September.
The results of the referendum were challenged by residents of the fire district due to “irregularities” and concern that ineligible voters had participated.
Doubts arose over the referendum results due to the late receipt of the list of registered voters from the Saratoga County Board of Elections on the day of the referendum. Residents who voted before the official list was received by the fire district signed their name on a notepad.
Following the challenge to the referendum results, members of the fire district verified that only registered voters had participated by checking the names that had been signed on the notepad against the list provided by the board of elections. The review confirmed the passage of the referendum.
As part of the easement agreement, the fire district will receive $280,000 from CVS, 2.5 acres of land adjacent to the fire station, CVS will replace the station’s septic system, CVS will expand the station’s existing parking lot and CVS will be responsible for all costs to constructing and maintaining the shared driveway.
Final approval of the project comes after nearly a year of discussion by the planning board and disagreement among members of the fire district over the impact of the easement agreement.
Throughout the planning board’s review process for the project, members of the fire district utilized the public comment period to debate the usefulness of the land being offered to the station and the impact that the CVS and the shared driveway would have on traffic and emergency response times.
Creighton Manning Engineering completed a traffic study for the project in December 2015, which found that the CVS would generate approximately 79 new vehicle trips during peak hours for the store. For CVS peak hours would be in the evenings and the impact to traffic would cause an estimated delay of 14.5 seconds. This delay is acceptable under state guidelines and would be lower during non-peak hours.
During Wednesday’s meeting Board Member James DiPasquale voiced concern over the continued increase in traffic due to development, noting that both the County and the New York State Department of Transportation had reviewed the traffic study and agreed with the findings.
“I think this is a great project and I realize traffic from the existing CVS is going to go to this site, which will be developed very nicely for the downtown. As a planning board in the long term what I am concerned about,” he said, “is the level of service at that intersection is a D and as things keep moving forward it is certainly not going to improve.”
“I would like to make sure as we review these projects we’re making provisions to do the best we can to improve the intersection, because eventually it’s going to need to be improved. It’s rated as a D and I would say based on my experience of 40 years living here that during certain hours of day it is an E or an F with school district traffic.”
The planning board voted unanimously to approve plans for the CVS. Lawyers for CVS and the Burnt Hills Fire District are still in the process of finalizing the terms of the easement agreement.
The planning board gave approval to two additional projects during Wednesday’s meeting. The board approved the construction of two single story flex buildings at the intersection of Charlton Road and Route 50. The buildings will be 5,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet respectively.
The board also approved a special use permit allowing the establishment of a used car lot at 800 Rt. 50. The property currently features retail space, including a nail salon, barber shop and the Burnt Hills Café. The section of the site that will be utilized for a car lot was previously used for the sale of gazebos and sheds.
The used car lot will be limited to a maximum of 15 cars for sale, car maintenance or washing will not be permitted on the site and the cars will be placed at specific parking spaces along the rear of the preexisting parking lot.
Signs and advertisements for the business will be limited to those presented to the board. Banners will not be permitted and the signs will meet town code. The board approved the permit with the stipulation that the permit will be terminated in 5 years subject to renewal.