Stewart’s upgrades in Altamont, submits plans to build in Voorheesville

Stewart’s Shops is making headway in the neighboring villages of Altamont and Voorheesville.

In Altamont, a “standard upgrade” is underway, according to Chuck Marshall, who works in real-estate development for Stewart’s. He estimated it will cost about $150,000.

The project — which involves new flooring, new lights, new counters, and an updated bathroom — has been going on for a week and has about three weeks left, Marshall said. The convenience store and gas pumps are closed certain evenings while the work is underway.

Last fall, after months of listening to residents’ objections on a zoning change that would have allowed Stewart’s to expand, the Altamont Village Board defeated the change in a 2-to-2 vote.

This fall, Stewart’s purchased the property adjacent to its store at 1001 Altamont Blvd. — a two family house at 107-109 Helderberg Ave., the very property that would have had to be rezoned from residential to business for the expansion.

But Marshall says his company has no immediate plans to expand. “We just did some repairs on that property,” he said this week of the two-family house; the repairs involved plumbing and stairs.

“I really think we gave our best effort,” Marshall said of last year’s proposal. “Obviously, it did not satisfy the board’s desire.”

Altamont’s building inspector, Glenn Hebert, said at last week’s village board meeting that Stewart’s had applied for an “interior renovation” of the property but not for demolition.

Hebert also said, “In our code, any demolition must go through the planning commission process; it requires site-plan review with landscaping, paving, and the whole nine yards.”

The Altamont Stewart’s shop is an “older 2,400-square-foot model,” said Marshall, with brick walls and a mansard roof.

“We no longer build that building,” he said. The proposed replacement would have been larger, he said. “The Altamont proposal was customized to match the building between us and the train station, with a covered porch,” he said, referring to Jeff Thomas’s Altamont Corners.

We’re doing a lot of investment,” Marshall said. “We’re happy to do it for better customer service. We hope some day to redevelop the property in Altamont.”

Voorheesville

In Voorheesville, Stewart’s has made its application to build a gas station and convenience store on Route 85A where Smith’s Tavern now stands.

In September, the Voorheesville Village Board deferred taking action on a moratorium that would have suspended the construction of gas stations in Voorheesville for six months.

Before the September hearing on the moratorium, Mayor Robert Conway said the village proposed a moratorium because of longstanding concern about water contamination. “It’s more about zoning than water quality,” Marshall said at the time.

This week, Marshall told The Enterprise, “I think the village board realized the planning board is the appropriate board to determine the highest and best use for the property.”

The village engineer has been provided a copy of Stewart’s plans, Marshall said, and will send comments back to Stewart’s.

At its last meeting, the Voorheesville Village Board decided to field a committee to create a comprehensive plan for the village.

Asked how he thought that would affect Stewart’s plans, Marshall said, “It depends on the timing. Conceivably, they could change the zoning and we could lose the rights.”

Stewart’s plans to build a 3,700-square-foot store with gabled ends and porches in Voorheesville, Marshall said, similar to the one at the intersection of routes 20 and 146 in Guilderland.

Marshall estimated that the Voorheesville Stewart’s, including gas pumps as well as the store, would cost about $1.5 million to build.

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