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Tops officials asked the Alden Village Board Monday night for quick approval of new store design that includes a playland for children.

"Tops envisions one of the most exciting places for parents to shop," said Tops associate counsel Michael Biehler. "It is something we see as a value-added feature for our customers."

The project has been on hold for more than a year, but the company now wants to begin site work immediately on the 47,000-square-foot store with an enclosed playland to complete the store in 1999.

And with wetlands permits due to expire Dec. 13, the company needs fast approval from both the village and town boards.

But the plans given the Village Board this week were not the same approved last year, nor do they address stipulations imposed on those plans.

"It's like throwing the plans away. I can't do that," said Village Engineer Guy Puccio.

"I have to make sure the changes are consistent."

In addition to the playland and other interior alterations, the newest design calls for changes in the store's dimensions and scaling back adjacent retail space to 7,500 square feet from 24,000.

Scaling back the extra retail space was necessary because of site conditions that would slow down site work that must be completed before winter, Biehler said.

Mayor Michael Retzlaff disagreed with Biehler's description of the design changes, but he did agree to help Tops meet the wetlands permit deadline for site work. However, he refused to rush through final approval for the new store design.

"I have a big problem with contingencies that have not been met," Retzlaff said. "Those were the conditions agreed on then, gentlemen, and these things have not changed."

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