Willow Street Again
The Government Plays Catch-UpBy Daniel Van Riper
Yerbury Flip-Flops Guilderland Supervisor Jerry Yerbury, who is up for re-election this November, has publically turned against the ravenous Pyramid Corporation and their plan to double the size of Crossgates Maul. Yerbury was quoted in the Daily Gazette as saying on Feb. 3rd, “I am personally opposed to the further expansion of Crossgates and I promise the residents of Guilderland that as long as I am supervisor, I will fight to keep this town the way the residents and I view it. If that means opposing further expansion of Crossgates then so be it. The future of our town should be shaped by the views and concerns of the residents of town, not by developers and special interests. Thus, in my opinion, the last thing Guilderland needs is another supermall.” A year or even six months ago this announcement would have been seen as a dramatic reversal, but now is universally considered an act of political desperation and has been greeted with yawns and derision.
Fear And Loathing We certainly applaud Mr. Yerbury’s brand new attitude, but it may be too late to save his fledgling political career. Out in the hallway after his talk at the Save the Pine Bush dinner in November, Yerbury intimated to several attendees that the Pyramid Corporation had expressed dissatisfaction with his performance and was considering supporting another candidate for supervisor. (Who will be the next Pyramid Puppet … town board member Lauren Ayers perhaps?) Meanwhile, the town government has been almost overthrown over this issue by a spontaneous uprising of angry citizens. Having lost credibility with the voters, and abandoned by the biggest corporation in town, Yerbury has nothing to lose at this point by his progressive rhetoric.
Moratorium?? Mark your calenders, the Guilderland town board voted to schedule a public hearing Tuesday, March 16 at 7:45 PM to consider a 6 month moratorium on all commercial development greater than 40,000 square feet while the town works on a master plan. Yerbury voted against having the hearing, and Lauren Ayers, interestingly, made herself absent. In effect, this would hold the Crossgates expansion right up until election time. The board also approved a new law that limits the size of shopping mauls to 1 million square feet, and another law passed in December limits the height of mauls to 35 feet, while still another December law limits commercial expansion to 5000 feet without special approvals.
They Need Water Pyramid has a reputation for not following through on legal obligations unless they really have to. Back in 1994, the Town of Guilderland and Pyramid quietly laid groundwork for the expansion of Crossgates by planning a water interconnect to quench the Maul’s ever-expanding thirst. The plan is to have Guilderland taxpayers spend $2 million for this infrastructure expansion, and for taxpayers to annually purchase water from the City of Albany. To accomplish this subsidy of Crossgates, Pyramid was supposed to hand over a little smidgen of land they happened to own on Gipp Road to be used for a pumping station. Despite a mountain of agreements and commitments between all parties involved (except the taxpayers, of course) it seems that Pyramid had no intention of handing over the deed to the land until it obtained approval for the present expansion. Work on the boondoggle through the Pine Bush could not go ahead until the piece of paper appeared, so the town of Guilderland threatened to sue by February 2, 1999 if Pyramid did not comply. After much fuss, Pyramid spit up the deed on the deadline.
published Feb/Mar 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 2/13/99
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