CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Supporters of a private company’s proposal to build a brewpub and restaurant in the Town Center have begun gathering online.
Southern Saratoga County resident Marcel Wing created his petition in support of the Druthers Brewing Company proposal for a Clifton Park location late last month on Change.org. As of Tuesday, the petition had 68 signers.
The Druthers plan calls for constructing a 10,000-square-foot building on a vacant five-acre lot at the corner of Maxwell Drive and Southside Drive. The lot, which is owned by DCG Development, is on the western edge of the Village (Hannaford) Plaza across Southside Drive from a Staples store.
The site is also across from the planned 37-acre Town Park.
The building will have brewing equipment, dining areas, kitchens, and bathrooms. There will be an outdoor dining area that can also provide opportunities for recreation, musical performances, and private events. A parking lot for 120 cars is planned with an overflow area kept in reserve for 130 cars.
Opposition to the proposal arose almost immediately with a number of letters to the town Planning Department coming from residents living in the Bentley Condominiums, a four-story building centered on senior living. The building is within walking distance of the Druthers’ site.
Reading about the bubbling opposition to the brewpub’s plans in the media, Wing created a page on the popular website to show there is also support in town for the business.
The petition’s descriptive paragraph focused on a changing community, one with hotels and luxury apartment complexes in a vibrant town center. That Town Center, the petition said, is as a key component of the town itself.
“Bringing such an esteemed local business such as Druthers to the center of town will not only provide new interest but also create a bigger sense of community,” Wing wrote in his petition.
In an email, Wing said he has never worked for Druthers and is nothing more than an appreciative customer who values a locally-owned alternative to the proliferation of sports bars and chain establishments in town. Those types of watering spots, he said, attract a specific crowd to which he is not drawn.
“I know that others are not [drawn] as well,” he wrote. “Druthers is a different breed of bar. Not only is Druthers a local business, but they support local talents with live music and create an environment that is more welcoming that people of all ages enjoy.”
He pointed to the positive effect the arrival of the coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, has had on the community and said Druthers could do much the same if not more. With all the new luxury apartments going up in town Wing said bringing a Druthers in is another step toward giving those who live in town an alternative to Saratoga Springs.
In referencing the opposition coming from the senior community in the Bentley and beyond, he wondered how many people are actually opposed to the plan.
“When I go to the other Druthers locations I see people of all ages including the demographic of those in The Bentley and they love Druthers just as much as me if not more,” Wing said.
With a changing demographic, that Wing believes is trending toward a more youthful population, he asked that those seniors opposed to the plan view the town as it is and not as it was.
“There are many more young people in this town than there used to be and I know for a fact, thanks to my petition, that they would love something different than what Clifton Park has to offer,” he said. “Druthers is a stepping stone to making Clifton Park even more of a place to live, work, and play. We need to live up to our motto.”
In recent weeks a letter was delivered to the Bentley Community Association from Druthers’ president Christopher Martell clarifying the business operation planned for Clifton Park.
The letter provided residents with a planning proposal narrative; a detailed description of what is being requested of the town’s Planning Board.
In the narrative, Martell discussed what is planned for the site in addition to the building, noise that may be generated by outdoor dining and musical performers and its abatement, a planned emergency access drive, potential odors, drainage, and landscaping.
“I present the preceding in the hope of providing a better understanding of our plans,” Martell wrote. “It would be my pleasure to meet with you to provide additional information and discuss, and comments, questions and, concerns that you or the residents of the Bentley may have.”
A copy of the letter was emailed to all residents at the Bentley and a copy posted on the building’s bulletin board.
The project was to be presented to the town Planning Board for an initial review on Wednesday, Sept. 9.