Miller proposed the village annex his Pangburn Farms development
GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Town Board and the Altamont Village Board of Trustees held a joint public hearing on Tuesday night to discuss annexing more than 50 acres of land from Guilderland to the village.
The land, collectively known as Pangburn Farms, off of Bozenkill Road, is being developed by Troy Miller, who said, at the hearing, that he wanted the subdivision to be in the village of Altamont because it is where he has lived most of his life, and it would also make sense geographically.
Guilderland Supervisor Kenneth Runion and Altamont Mayor James Gaughan both recused themselves from the discussion, Runion because his house is for sale with CM Fox Realty, with which Troy Miller is a principal, and Gaughan because he is considering buying property in Pangburn Farms.
The remaining members of the boards heard from two residents and talked about the potential annexation for more than an hour, but said a decision would not be made until September.
The 52.6 acres are located off of Bozenkill Road, close to the intersection with Dunnsville Road, and are currently part of the town of Guilderland, located just 2,000 feet from the village line.
The Guilderland School Board, faced with declining enrollment district-wide, is currently looking at a consultant’s report that, in four out of five scenarios on making changes for more efficient use of space, recommended closing Altamont Elementary School in the village.
Altamont Trustee Kerry Dineen, acting as the chairperson for Altamont, described some of the ways an annexation to the village would be beneficial, including a reduction in taxes for homeowners and an increase in general fund tax revenue.
The development is zoned by Guilderland to allow 10 single-family homes, and the estimated assessment on each potential home is $500,000. The village tax for a $500,000 home would be approximately $1,331.05 per year, which would result in an additional $13,310.50 in revenue.
The owner of a village house assessed at $200,000 would see a reduction in taxes of roughly $26.38 per year.
The case was also made for the Altamont Police Department being able to respond more quickly to the development than the Guilderland Police Department, because it is much closer to the area geographically, although Altamont’s fire department and ambulance squad would serve the development no matter which municipality it ends up with.
Kathryn Provencher, who lives on Thacher Road in Altamont, voiced concerns about the condition of Bozenkill Road that the village would be taking over, and whether the village would incur costs to repair it, to which Dineen responded that several repair options had been considered, including paving it using consolidated services with Guilderland.
Questions were also asked about whether the houses in the subdivision would meet the design standards of the village’s comprehensive plan, since the site plan was approved by Guilderland’s planning and zoning boards, not Altamont’s.
Provencher asked if the developer would have to start over by going through the village’s planning board, but Dineen said no, since construction has already begun on some of the houses.
The zoning, however, would not carry over from to Altamont to Guilderland, and, with the annexation, the land would become an un-zoned parcel.
“That would be something the board would have to consider,” said Dineen.
Norman Bauman, who lives on Maple Avenue in Altamont, asked if the people who had already bought property in the development, knowing it was in the town of Guilderland, had been consulted about the possible annexation.
“This is why we have a public hearing,” said Dineen, noting that the town and village boards would be accepting public comments until September.
“The timetable is a little tricky,” she said. “According to the New York State guidelines, after a petition is submitted for annexation, you have 20 days to review it, 40 days to hold a public hearing on it, and 90 days to make a decision.”
Both boards said they would discuss the annexation again at future meetings.
During a second public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting, developer Armand Quadrini requested a rezone of a six-acre parcel of land on Ashford Drive so he could build condominiums on it.
A handful of neighbors spoke against the rezone, saying it would destroy the quiet neighborhood they enjoyed.
Quadrini proposed two four-unit buildings on two of the six acres and said he would donate more than two acres to the town to be used as park space.
Jim Ryan, a resident of Kraus Road, which runs behind Ashford Drive, said that, when he bought his house in 1979, he did research which showed that the land would never hold apartments, since it was zoned for single residences.
Runion read statements from the town’s planning board, as well as Albany County’s planning board, which both expressed concerns over wetlands on the parcel, and the water-table level, which appeared to be quite high.
The statement from the Albany County Planning Board strongly advised not allowing the rezone, for fear of disturbing the water table and disrupting the wetlands.
After taking the planning boards’ comments into consideration and hearing from more than half a dozen residents who were vehemently against the rezone, the town board voted unanimously to deny it.