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Germantown residents file lawsuit; cry foul over Dollar General

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The plan for a proposed Dollar General at 4301 Route 9G in Germantown.
September 7, 2018 10:08 pm

GERMANTOWN — Several residents have filed a lawsuit against the Germantown Planning Board and two property owners, claiming the board did not follow the environmental review procedure for the proposed Dollar General, the plaintiffs’ attorney said Friday.

The lawsuit names the project applicant, Primax Properties, property owners Paul D’Souza and Henrietta D’Souza, and the Germantown Planning Board as defendants, according to court documents.

Primax, as part of its application for a Dollar General, has proposed a retail store on Route 9G north of the county Route 8 intersection. Primax will lease the space to Dollar General, a Tennessee-based company, on a 15-year term.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 22 in Columbia County Supreme Court, according to court papers. Acting Rensselaer County Supreme Court Judge Henry Zwack is presiding over the case.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn the planning board’s environmental determination — under the state’s environmental review — and approval of the project, Rhinebeck attorney Warren S. Replansky said.

The lawsuit claims the Germantown Planning Board failed to fulfill its responsibilities under the state environmental review process and allowed the applicant to prepare the final environmental impact statement, Replansky said. The findings are required to be prepared by the planning board, he added.

“As a result, the determination approving the project should be declared null and void,” Replansky said.

The planning board approved the project on July 26. Since 2015, Primax has submitted site plans, undergone an environmental review and resubmitted plans adhering to the town’s zoning code.

Initially, the board identified 11 potential negative impacts of the store, but after changes to mitigate those concerns, the board approved the environmental review in February.

The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are residents who live next to or close to the proposed project, Replansky said.

Court papers list the plaintiffs as Arthur and Elizabeth Cady, Carole Neville, Karen Targove, Angela Olszewski, Karen Targove, Douglas Trapp and William Kimmel. Several calls to the plaintiffs for comment were not returned Friday.

“I am sad,” Olszewski said in July after the project was approved by the planning board. “This will change the heart and soul of Germantown. A corporate entity for the first time is placing its stake here and Dollar General has a bad reputation of being a gross store that does not maintain itself.”

The proposal has been developed by Dollar General for three years. The lot at the center of the legal storm is 6 acres located at 4301 Route 9G. The store would have a 9,266-square-foot floor plan with 38 parking spaces.

Sixty residents packed the town hall July 11 to protest the Dollar General proposal.

Dollar General primarily sells convenience foods and discount household and beauty items. Germantown shoppers can drive to five major shopping centers within 30 minutes, including Widewaters Commons, which has a Walmart Supercenter, according to the project’s 2016 impact analysis report. The nearest Dollar General is 30 minutes away in Hudson, with a nearby CVS Pharmacy and Family Dollar.

Dollar General plans to hire eight or nine employees — three managers earning an annual salary of slightly more than $27,000 and five salespeople earning around $13.29 per hour, according to the applicant’s 2016 independent retail analysis report.

Town attorney Corrine R. Smith declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation Friday.

The defendants were ordered to draft a response to the lawsuit by Oct. 12, Replansky said.