Thursday, May 2, 2019

Stewart's Shops Elsewhere: Altamont

Matthew Frederick called his first post about the proposed Stewart's expansion in Hudson "One way to stop Stewart's expansion and six ways to make it better." The one way to stop it, Frederick explains, is a lawsuit: "The only obstacle to Stewart's ambitions I see is for someone to sue the city for 'spot zoning,' the largely illegal practice of preferentially zoning a specific property. This case seems to tiptoe very close to, if not over, that line."

The Hudson Planning Board has embraced Frederick's six ways, which grew to thirteen ways, to make it better, but in the village of Altamont, where Stewart's made a similar request of the village board to change its zoning to accommodate Stewart's desire for expansion, things have taken a different turn.

Gossips has been reporting about Stewart's efforts in Altamont since January 2018. The "Stewart's in Altamont" story is surprisingly like the "Stewart's in Hudson" story--even down to the appearance of the building Stewart's wants to replace. This is the Stewart's in Altamont.

Stewart's plan to expand in Altamont involved acquiring and demolishing an adjacent house and getting Altamont to change the zoning for the lot on which the house stood from residential to commercial. In October 2015, Altamont resisted and refused to change its zoning, but in December 2018, with new members on the village board, the zoning change was approved. Now the Altamont Enterprise reports that a citizens group is suing the village Board of Trustees and Stewart's: "Altamont residents sue to reverse Stewart's rezone." The article is recommended reading.

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