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Guilderland Holds Steady

History In The Making?

By Daniel Van Riper

The people have spoken, and the politicians are running to catch up to reality. Nobody with even a shred of self-respect wants to see the evil and rapacious Pyramid Corporation expand Crossgates Mall and possibly eventually plant a mega-casino. The effects on the Pine Bush ecosystem and on the regional economy are too horrible to think about. Meanwhile, Pyramid waits for it's chance, brooding over Guilderland, like some dark and foul-smelling carrion eater.

Moratorium Passed The Guilderland Town Board passed a resolution March 16 to stop all contruction larger than 20,000 square feet for the next nine months, until right after the next elections. Called the Interim Development Limitations Act of 1999, it expires December 31st, but can be renewed as the board sees fit. The measure passed 4-0 with Anne Rose absent. Crossgates, coming in at nearly 2 million square feet, is out luck of until next year.

The Master Plan The official reason given for a moratorium is not to stop Crossgates from expanding, but to give the town time to create a master plan, the purpose of which is to create a consensus on the direction of town development. So far, $100,000 has been budgeted for the process. They're off to a rocky, partisan start. The Republicans, who control the Town Board, were barraged with criticism after stacking the 15 member Comprehensive Plan Advisory Board with 10 Republicans, 4 Democrats and one non-aligned appointee. The extremely competent and fair-minded planner and environmentalist Peter Buttner, who offered to resign his seat on the town planning board after 13 years in order to volunteer on the committee, was pointedly ignored. Noticeably absent are any members of Friends Organized for Responsible Community Expansion (FORCE), thus guaranteeing that the committee will produce little more than backroom rubberstamping.

Could Be Desperation To everyone's shock and amazement, the Committee members of the Guilderland Republican Party, which has ruled the town since before living memory, voted to oppose the Crossgates expansion and only endorse candidates who are opposed to it. All 52 members voted unanimously, which clearly indicates that the decision was pre-arranged by town political bosses. Chairman Paul Laudato sheepishly explained that the ruling party needed to do this because of a "misperception" that "members of the Republican Committee will make money from the Crossgates expansion."

Another Surprise Union leader Harold Joyce, President of the Tri-Cities Building and Construction Trades Council, in a letter to the Hearst-owned Times Union, voiced support for Guilderland Supervisor Jerry Yerbury and stated opposition to the proposed expansion of Crossgates. Back when Mr. Joyce was the majority leader of the Albany County Legislature, he personally engineered the give-away of 25 acres of prime Pine Bush along Washington Ave. Extension to the Pyramid Corporation (which then County Executive Michael Hoblock heartily endorsed, calling this piece of Pine Bush "useless land") for $186,000. Pyramid quickly sold the land to the Walmart Corporation for a profit of $7 million. Now Mr. Joyce is fighting his friends at Pyramid, perhaps he expects them to be a little more friendly with him.

published Apr/May 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 4/20/99


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