Altamont is a refuge from commercialism, congestion

To the Editor:

I write this letter in opposition to the expansion of Stewart's.

There is a reason why I live in Altamont. The beauty of the village reflects in its residents, their homes, and the community as a whole.

Altamont is not perfect, nor is any place. However, if you compare it to other areas in the town of Guilderland, it is a refuge. A refuge from commercialism, traffic, congestion, noise, and light pollution.

The “new” proposed larger Stewart’s will greatly increase light pollution, decrease green space, and encroach upon residential buildings. We stood up for what we believed in the last time Stewart’s attempted to tell us what we needed. It is time again to inform Stewart’s that we do not need a new and larger store that will adversely affect our neighbors and neighborhoods.

It is also time that the Altamont Village Board reflect upon its residents’ concerns and review the Village Comprehensive Plan, which this project is in conflict with. The residents were asked for input with regard to the comprehensive plan, and we complied.

The plan is there for a reason; it should not be changed for a business entity because it wants to increase its bottom line. Stewart’s Shops’ most current plan is not about enhancement of our village; it is about its business and its profits at the expense of quality of life in the village.

This is a slippery slope: If we allow change (re-zoning) for one, then we set a precedent that we must accommodate these changes to the village plan in the future.

I fully support businesses in Altamont that conform with our comprehensive plan and I am very thankful that we have responsible businesses that encompass the values of Altamont.

The village of Voorheesville rejected Stewart’s multiple, overreaching plans, and we in Altamont must do the same. Perhaps a new Stewart’s could be welcome, though certainly not as this re-write of the original overreaching plan. I do not support changing our village goals and plans above the interests of the residents who reside in this community.

Jennifer Betancourt

Altamont

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