Guilderland zoning board asks DEC to review contractor yard proposal

— From Albany County Interactive Mapping

The Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals will offer the state Department of Environmental Conservation the opportunity to weigh in on a controversial contractor yard proposed at 4304 Frederick Road. The road at the top of the frame is Frederick Road.

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals will offer the state Department of Environmental Conservation the opportunity to become the lead agency for a controversial contractor yard proposed in a rural section of town.

At its April 6 meeting, the zoning board passed a motion to proceed with an uncoordinated review of Bernard Radtke’s special-use permit application that would allow him to store roll-off containers, trucks, and heavy equipment at 4304 Frederick Road. An uncoordinated review, according to the DEC, “is the process by which involved agencies independently review the impacts of a proposed action; issue a negative declaration; and decide to undertake, fund, or approve the action.”

The board, except for Chairman Thomas Remmert, then unanimously agreed to send the Radtke application to the DEC for review. Remmert recused himself from the Frederick Road application because a new hire at his day job is connected to the project and he doesn’t want the appearance of impropriety.

“I want to be clear that this is a recent development. So it had no effect on any of my actions prior to this on that project,” Remmert said during the April 6 meeting. “So [it’s] not like the project’s tainted or anything. That definitely is not the case.”

Jacob Crawford, who is acting as chairman of the board while Remmert recuses himself, told The Enterprise last week the board decided to move forward with the motion based on the recommendation of town staff.

The motion was made due to air quality and watershed concerns raised by residents in and around the project, because those concerns were “beyond the scope of what we would normally do,” Crawford said, “which is something that a town-designated engineer would obviously lead for us.”

“But some of these deal with direct DEC environmental impacts,” he said. “So that’s why we offered them the opportunity.”

Crawford said during the April 6 meeting that the motion for an uncoordinated review means the zoning board is offering the DEC the opportunity to act as lead agency on the project.

 “Our hope would be that the DEC will review the SEQR [State Environmental Quality Review] application and hopefully give us guidance and maybe even step up to be the lead agency,” board member Elizabeth Lott said during the April 6 meeting. 


4304 Frederick 

Radtke’s submitted site plan proposes a 36,100-square-foot storage area on the property, hours of operation from 6 a.m to 6 p.m., with several trucks entering and exiting the site each day, and the screening of topsoil on site. Four total acres of the site would be disturbed for the project, according to Radtke’s environmental assessment form.

The scope of Radtke’s proposal isn’t what the current owner of 4304 Frederick Road thought he was getting into when agreeing to sell the land to Radtke. “It’s not very complicated. He never told me his true intention for what he wanted to do on the land,” said Thomas Ensslin

But Ensslin admitted perhaps he, too, has some culpability in the situation. 

“I was guilty not pressing him,” he said. 

Ensslin said he took Radtke’s word: That he was just going to build a house and maybe place a couple Dumpsters on the property. “But he never said anything about running his full operation there.”

Ensslin said he wrote a letter to the zoning board saying as much. A similar letter to the editor, “The safety, health, and property values of town residents are at stake,” signed by 47 rural Guilderland residents, including Ensslin, was published by The Enterprise on March 17, 2022.

Ensslin said the purchase contract is contingent on approval of the special-use permit. Asked if there’s any way for him to get out of the contract, he said, “I’m working on it, I guess is what I’ll say.”

Radtke did not respond to requests for comment. 


February meeting

During the zoning board’s Feb. 16 meeting, approximately a dozen residents called in to voice concerns with the project’s impact on area drinking water and the safety of nearby residents. 

Some of those concerns appear to have been somewhat heard. 

Albany County will be restricting which vehicles can use the area county roads but the county’s new regulations will not stop Radtke from accessing his contractor’s yard, if approved, on Frederick Road.

Trucks over 25 feet in length will be barred — unless they are making a local delivery — from using Meadowdale Road (County Route 202) between Route 156 and Frederick Road, according to county spokeswoman Mary Rozak. The decision to bar trucks between Route 156 and Frederick Road was made “based on the road geometry.”

According to Rozak, “The signs have been ordered, but we don’t have an expected delivery date yet. They will be posted after we publish an official order in the legal notices.”

During the February meeting, Chief Building and Zoning Inspector Jacqueline Coons said, Highway Superintendent Greg Weir had “already signed off on the proposed quantity and weight of the trucks that are going to utilize the town roads, Frederick Road, and then any connecting town roads.”

In other words, Radtke will be allowed to use Frederick Road, and other town roads, for roll-off/dump trucks carrying construction and demolition materials or topsoil of a weight up to 33,000 pounds.

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