Apartments proposed for Sandidge Way will be a monument to corporate welfare at its most destructive

To the Editor:

It keeps getting worse. Dawn Homes has once again proposed to demolish almost everything on beautiful little Loughlin Street (renamed Sandidge Way) including many 100-year-old trees and 11 single-family homes.

The Albany Common Council had already granted the zoning change that Dawn Homes and its partner, Mr. Massry’s Tri-City Rentals, needed to build 173 apartments in five five-story buildings, along with a swimming pool and spaces for 301 cars. Now they want to increase the number of apartments and the number of spaces for cars by 70 percent each.

The Albany County Planning Board had twice unanimously recommended against the first outrageous proposal. On Dec. 21, it unanimously recommended against the current atrocity.

Reasons the board gave for its negative recommendation include, but are not limited to, the increase in traffic on Fuller Road, drainage problems that have caused flooding in some Guilderland basements, and the incompatibility of the proposal with the surrounding neighborhood comprised of single-family homes.

Unfortunately, the county can only recommend. The county can’t stop it.

On Dec. 21, The Altamont Enterprise published a letter from Don Reeb, the former longtime president of the McKownville Improvement Association. Of the many excellent points he made, he pointed out that the ugly (my word) design of the proposed development reminded him of “the army barracks [he] once lived in.”

This is a case where a picture would be worth 1,000 words. An even less attractive picture would be of the proposed exceptionally dense site plan. Obviously, it will involve clear-cutting and also obviously, there will be very little green space.

The importance of green space is not only about aesthetic appeal. Green space and trees play an important role in reducing runoff, thereby reducing basement flooding in the adjacent neighborhood.

Trees, especially very large ones like the ones that will be demolished, reduce global warming by trapping carbon. When they are cut down, the trapped carbon is released into the environment.

In addition to the effect of green space on environmental health, a considerable amount of research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of green space on physical health, mental health, and birth outcomes.

Over a year ago, we were informed that the previously submitted project would take around one-and-a-half years to complete. At a later date, we were told that it might be two years.

At the Dec. 21 County Planning Board meeting regarding the new proposal, Mr. Hershberg, the engineer on the project, said that it would take four years. Also, he stated that they were going to build one of the seven buildings at a time because “that would be easier for us.”

It will not be easier for homeowners in the adjacent neighborhood who will have to go through four years of listening to the noise, feeling the earth shake from the pile-driving, and breathing the toxic chemicals contained in construction dust.

It will not be easier for people who rent apartments in a completed building while construction of other buildings will be taking place. It will not be easier for students who will walk across Fuller Road while inhaling construction dust.

It will not be easier for people who drive on Fuller Road with traffic obstructed by construction vehicles going into and out of Loughlin Street/Sandidge Way. It will not be easier for anyone other than the developers who have never shown the slightest concern for the effects of their project on anyone but themselves, their tax abatement, and their profits.

The proposed development will be a monument to corporate welfare at its most destructive.

Carol Waterman

Albany

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