Planners eye Route 50 proposals favorably
MILTON Plans for a new supermarket on Route 50 and a Cumberland Farms store on a busy nearby corner both got favorable receptions Wednesday from the Milton Planning Board.
Both projects appeared aimed at drawing passersby on Route 50 between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs, as well as a growing number of motorists on Northline Road, a main route to the Northway.
The proposal for a 50,000-square-foot supermarket drew questions about how to handle traffic and wetlands on the site, but board members said they support a market there.
The supermarket chain behind the plan has not yet been identified, though speculation has focused on Price Chopper. A company spokeswoman has declined to comment on its plans, if any.
“There’s a lot of site plan issues, but it’s an interesting project,” said board member James Whittel.
The initial reception was favorable enough that the developer will apply to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a wetland disturbance permit, leading to what is expected to be a lengthy review.
“They have told us it could take about a year,” said project representative Joe Bianchine, an engineer with ABD Engineers & Surveyors of Schenectady. He said the 11-acre site includes about five acres of federally regulated wetlands, about one acre of which will be disturbed.
The supermarket would be located on the west side of Route 50, at the southwest corner of Route 50 and Northline Road. In addition to the supermarket, the plan includes a 3,400-square-foot fast-food restaurant and a 2,300-square-foot bank.
The developer plans to buy Rich’s Route 50 Service Center, a used car dealership and garage, and tear it down to create a new four-way intersection with a traffic light at Saratoga Avenue. Bianchine said the highway would be widened and turn lanes added at that intersection.
There would also be an entrance from Northline Road. To accommodate this, two residential properties will be bought and the houses demolished.
Board members said they’re particularly concerned about how traffic on Northline Road will be handled and want to see what can be done to address it.
“Everyone in our town will tell you moving traffic down there is the worst thing in the world,” said board member John Frolish. “But I do support having a grocery there.”
Cumberland Farms, meanwhile, is hoping to get final approval next month so it can start construction on its own plans. A public hearing was scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at Town Hall.
The convenience store would be at the southeast corner of Route 50 and Northline Road. The land was cleared of trees several years ago, but sits vacant. It was approved in 2009 for a convenience store/gas station/car wash project that was never built, and Cumberland Farms now has a contract to buy the 2.4-acre site.
The Rhode Island company is proposing a 4,500-square-foot store with five gas islands. It is a smaller building with fewer gas pumps than what was previously approved by the board, said Chris Boyea, of Bohler Engineering, who represented Cumberland Farms.
“We want to get off and running as soon as possible,” he said.
Boyea said the company would make traffic improvements the board set as conditions of approval in 2009, including widening and re-striping Northline Road at the store’s entrance.