A packed audience of Ballston residents were in attendance for the proposal of a new Hannaford supermarket off Church Ave. on the southeast side of town off the intersection of Route 50 and Route 67.
The store will offer produce, online shopping services and employ 100-110 full and part-time associates.
Since 2011, the Rossi family has pitched a plan to use the site for commercial purposes but repeated troubles prevented any development. The most notable example occurred when they found themselves reigniting a conflict spanning over a decade involving the construction of a Walmart in the Town of Ballston. The Rossi property sought approval for a Walmart on the land from the Ballston Spa Planning Board in 2015 after attempts by Walmart to setup a store failed years prior.
To the dismay of Frank Rossi Jr., and in the wake of public backlash, Wal-Mart ended up dropping out of the plan on November 30, 2016. The next day, after a radio interview about the ordeal, Rossi Jr. received a call from Hannaford to build a supermarket on the property.
Public anger surrounding the previous plan led Planning Board Chairman Jon Van Vorst to preface public comments at Wednesday’s hearing with a warning.
“Having gone through a very challenging ordeal with previous applicants…it makes me a little apprehensive to have a public hearing with many of the same residents who may have the same concerns,” the chairman said. “I remind you that public hearings are a privilege, not a right, therefore they can be curtailed…There will be no foul language, swearing or cursing. I had enough of that last time.”
But no cursing occurred—at least not loud enough for anyone to hear.
The Hannaford supermarket will take up only a fraction of the space of previous plans. At 38,000-square-feet and contained in only one of the lots, the more modest building was received with generally positive remarks, albeit some reasonable concerns.
“This is a very different project than previously,” said one resident. “I’m actually in favor of a 38,000-square foot supermarket. It’s something people have been asking for.”
Residents expressed a desire for reasonable delivery hours for store produce and goods, potential sound absorbing fences to protect nearby people from noise, safety precautions for potential traffic entering and exiting the property and sidewalks for safe pedestrian travel.
The board will continue to review concerns going forward.