COLONIE — A plan by Sam’s Club to build a gas station with 16 fueling outside its store at Latham Farms between Troy Schenectady Road and Route 9 is moving forward.
The Planning Board, by unanimous vote gave the project concept acceptance at its virtual meeting on Tuesday, June 16 after having questioning the lack of bathroom facilities for the attendant, traffic flow and the location of the facility.
The plan is to build a 136-square-foot kiosk for an attendant, and erect a canopy over the eight pumps with two fueling stations each. The southeast corner of the parking lot will be curbed to control the flow of traffic.
It will take up 243 parking spots, dropping the number available for Sam’s Club shoppers to 583, which is less than the town code requires for a retail establishment the size of Sam’s so it may need a variance.
Joe Grasso, the Town Designated Engineer on the project, said the parking lot is greatly underutilized so the loss of spots should not cause a problem.
There was some questions about the lack of bathroom facilities at the kiosk, and whether or not it had to be manned at all times. Keith Moore, who presented the plan during the virtual meeting, said while there is a water line running along the front of the existing Sam’s Club building, the sewer line runs behind it so it was decided to do away with the idea of a bathroom.
When the project comes back for final site plan approval, Sam’s Club will need to explain what happens when nature calls on the attendant, in addition to having a phone available to call the main store for relief.
The kiosk is not a convenience store, and the clerk will only be there to help customers should there be an issue with the pump. There will not be any cash transactions and all customers will swipe a membership card and then a credit or debit card at the pump.
One member of the public, John Fahey, spoke during the meeting held remotely by Zoom and said he thought 16 pumps was too many.
“There is going to be a lot of traffic moving around in there,” he said. “We don’t suffer from a shortage of gas stations in Colonie so someone is going to be eating someone else’s lunch.”
It will only be open to Sam’s Club members so the impact on traffic is expected to be minimal.
— Jim Franco