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Walmart agrees to sign limits at Niskayuna market

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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An artist's rendering shows the Walmart grocery store planned for  the Mansion Square shopping plaza in Niskayuna.
An artist's rendering shows the Walmart grocery store planned for the Mansion Square shopping plaza in Niskayuna.

— Signs for the new Walmart Neighborhood Market opening this fall in Niskayuna at Mansion Square were approved Wednesday night after the company made size reductions and offered lighting restrictions.

The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the changed signs after the sign proposal was put on hold last month after questions were raised on both the size and lighting issues.

As approved Wednesday night, the signs on three sides of the building — all but the main entrance side — will only be lighted between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Those three signs also will be smaller than originally requested.

The new grocery store is nearing completion, with the company hiring workers to begin this month ahead of the expected grand opening this fall.

The project was before the ZBA after the company sought permission to put up signs larger than town zoning ordinances allow and more facade signs than they allow.

Residents along Linda Lane, which runs behind the rear of the square, have closely monitored the development.

Linda Lane resident Brian McGrath on Wednesday night repeated earlier concerns, questioning the need for lighted signs on all four sides of the new market.

“I think Walmart should really take into consideration and be respectful of their neighbors,” McGrath said.

Zoning board member Keith Frary noted the lighting and size concerns, but he also said the new market location is unlike those of other Walmarts in the region.

The market will have traffic approaching from all four sides, with the rear covered by the road running through the square property. The actual front of the market faces east down State Street.

“It does present, hopefully you can understand, a unique situation,” Frary said.

To address the board and residents’ concerns, Terry Meissner, of Castleton-based Saxton Sign Corp., offered reductions to the size of the signs on three sides, and restrictions to the lighting of those three signs.

Signs on all four sides had been proposed at 97 square feet, with four pharmacy signs as well. Meissner instead offered to cap the size at 70 square feet and drop the request for pharmacy signs on all but the front of the building.

Regarding the hours of lighting, Meissner proposed that the signs on all but the front sides be lit only between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

McGrath indicated he and his neighbors had talked about being fine with limiting the hours, though they had discussed an 8 p.m. limit.

The front signs, facing east down State Street, will remain at 97 square feet and have the pharmacy sign. The front sign will also be lit 24 hours. There are no residences on that side.

Construction on the Walmart Neighborhood Market began in April and the company announced last month it was beginning the process of hiring up to 95 employees for the store. Some of those employees were expected to start work this month, ahead of the grand opening. No grand opening date was announced.

The Niskayuna market will be about a quarter of the size of Walmart‘s traditional supercenters and will focus on groceries, with limited general merchandise like health and beauty aids. The store is to measure about 40,000 square feet.

Walmart currently has about 250 of the markets nationwide.

 
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September 19, 2013
12:48 a.m.
ChuckD says...

After Niskayuna's desecration of that once beautiful site, all I can think is, 'who cares?'. It just seems fitting that it's a Walmart. A perfect fit.

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