Altamont officials should require Stewart’s to landscape well

To the Editor:

As the coordinator of the Guilderland Community Gardens, my concerns immediately turn to the landscaping plan of any building project and whether it enhances our public spaces in Guilderland. Speaking on my own behalf, I wish to offer a few suggestions regarding the proposed Stewart’s store in Altamont.

The decision to approve is entirely up to village residents. However, in considering a proposed site plan, village officials should keep in mind that the plans must include a variety of landscaping techniques that will ameliorate the impact of substantial amounts of asphalt and concrete that are a major part of a service station.

Well-planned landscaping sites can be observed at the corner of routes 146E and 20. The CVS, Sunoco, Carpenter Village, and Hannaford sites include a variety of techniques that include stone walls, large decorative rocks, fences, berms, and plantings — especially conifers — that hide from view the structures and especially the parking lots.

You’ll note that Trustco Bank next to CVS did little to beautify its location during a recent renovation. It did not eliminate excessive asphalt and concrete as recommended nor does this site have any attractive landscaping.

Two additional recent projects include Stewart’s and Cumberland Farms located at routes 146W and 20. While the buildings are attractive, drive by there today and you’ll see massive areas of concrete and asphalt with virtually nothing to provide the visual buffer needed to soften the view and make the sites and town more attractive.

A large footprint is not required to beautify Stewart’s in Altamont. Too often developers commit to add a few street trees and grass, which is totally inadequate.

This location will require sufficient plantings with other techniques previously mentioned. While daylilies are attractive in summer, they don’t act as a visual buffer any time of year for residents and passersby.

Plantings should include conifers and decorative shrubs such as red osier and yellow twig dogwood that will not only provide height but colors that are attractive in winter. Group plantings of paper birch trees or river birch with their peeling bark is also attractive. Stone walls and split-rail fences will further enhance the beauty of the site.

Stewart’s should be required to provide a detailed landscaping plan that accomplishes these objectives.

Gerard Houser

Guilderland

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