Watertown council shows no support for Stewart’s Shop

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WATERTOWN — Neighborhood opposition has stopped plans for a new Stewart’s Shops store on Washington Street.

Neighbors on nearby Flower Avenue East filled the City Council chambers on Monday night to express strong opposition to the project that would have replaced a smaller store a half mile down the street.

The project failed to gain any support from council members.

Afterward, Steve Bolton, who has lived around the corner from the project site for 34 years, said he was happy that the project wasn’t moving forward.

“The council put residents and the neighborhood before a corporation,” he said.

Residents were adamantly opposed to the project, citing concerns for an increase in traffic, property values going down and it changing the character of the neighborhood.

Out of 12 speakers, 10 opposed the new store. A petition with signatures also was submitted to the city.

Stewart’s planned to replace a 2,500-square-foot store at 1226 Washington St. with a 3,975-square-foot store about a half mile north of the existing store.

The plans needed a zoning change from Residence B to Neighborhood Business for the project to proceed. Three other properties at 703, 707 and 715 Washington St. had the correct zoning.

But council members failed to introduce the resolution for the zoning change on Monday night, thus killing the project.

Chuck Marshall, real estate representative for Stewart’s, said he was disappointed that the project could not garner council support.

As a result, the Ballston Spa company will not continue to pursue the project, he said.

“I think that this was the only appropriately zoned property that was available,” he said.

Mr. Marshall said he doesn’t know what the future will bring for the existing store, which he has described as badly in need of an upgrade.

He also expressed disappointment for the eight employees who work at the existing store and won’t be moving to a new one.

The project was first proposed in the fall of 2020 and delayed to allow the company to put together information that showed that it would not impact property values and cause traffic issues.

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