Feeney: ‘It wasn’t built according to plan’

— From 1700 South LLC submittal to the town of Guilderland

The owners of an approved planned-unit development are seeking a four-lot subdivision of the property to obtain separate loans for the remaining phases of development.

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland Planning Board Chairman Stephen Feeney did not mince words with an applicant’s representative seeking additional approvals who’d yet to follow through on past promises

The applicant, 1700 South, a limited liability company owned by the Wolanin Companies, is seeking a four-lot subdivision of 6270 Johnston Road Rear, a previously-approved planned-unit development located behind Town Center Plaza and the Seventeen Hundred Designer Residences on Western Avenue, to obtain separate loans for the remaining phases of development. 

The proposal was before the planning board for a site-plan review; the town’s zoning board of appeals is the lead agency for the project. 

The planned-unit development, approved almost 10 years ago, allowed for the construction of nine apartment buildings, a mixed-use building, and a clubhouse with swimming pool. 

Only two of the apartment buildings have been built thus far. 

“My issue with this project is that it wasn’t built according to plan,” Feeney said to project engineer Peter Yetto during the board’s April 10 meeting. 

Feeney said there were no offsite sidewalk, sidewalk through the plaza, end islands, landscaping, sidewalk along the main entrance road, and connecting sidewalk from the plaza to the bus stop.

“So my question here is: Why?” Feeney asked. 

He said he was “very reluctant” to approve the subdivision because the initially-approved site plan was “essentially ignored.”

“So I’m just — you know, I would need some sort of explanation,” he said.

Yetto responded, “The project is currently still under construction.” The “NLT is still open,” Yetto said, using development shorthand for “not later than” or “no later than” — used to  specify a deadline or a time limit by which a certain task, milestone, or deliverable must be completed or achieved.

Feeney didn’t understand why none of the previously-mentioned improvements had been taken care of. He said, “I mean, the site plan, to me, if it’s not specified, like it needs to be built by a certain time, it needs to be built in the beginning,” not “we’re going to wait until [we] build our final units and then we’re going to do the site [improvements].”

He also noted that the already-built 64 apartments, which were put up sometime in 2017-18, according to Town Planner Kenneth Kovalchik, had tenants and that the improvements were meant to be for their benefit. 

Yetto responded that the Wolanin Companies were “obviously … responsible to construct the project as approved.” He then asked if there was language in the original approval that specified when the improvements needed to be done by.

Feeney said, “No, but I would assume” if the conditions were noted on site plans, “if you specify it, then OK, then it has to … then it needs to be done, I would think prior to the issuance of any COs, but whatever, they have COs,” he said of certificates of occupancy. 

While he wasn’t opposed to the subdivision, and didn’t “want to set a precedent and say, ‘Oh, it’s OK not to follow the site plan,’” and kicked around the idea of not granting future certificates of occupancy until the problem has been resolved, Feeney ultimately suggested tabling the request until Yetto could find answers to his questions. 

The board agreed to table the request. 

 

1650 Western

Craig Roopchand, the owner of 1650 Western Ave., was also before the board on April 10 after a proposed halal market at that address was denied by the project’s lead agency: the zoning board of appeals.

Roopchand is seeking a site-plan review for his latest proposal: to change the building’s existing office use to a shopping-center use. 

Roopchand doesn’t have any tenants lined up; he is just looking for another way to attract them with the use change. 

After some discussion about site access and parking, the board recommended to the project’s lead agency, the zoning board, that Roopchand receive conditional approval, provided he: 

— Extend pedestrian access to the proposed parking area; 

— Provide a lighting plan; and 

— Provide better signage to direct pedestrian traffic to the front of the building.

More Guilderland News

  • “With 80 percent of our clientele hailing from beyond Schoharie County — particularly from Albany, Saratoga Springs and Schenectady — expanding our business was a logical step,” said  Apple Barrel Group Chief Operating Officer Joshua Loden-Bray. 

  • “We are concerned that our message, which was supported by the board, has turned into a task force to look at all district spaces …,” said Julie Petti, president of the Guilderland Music Parents and Friends Association. “We are concerned that the music department’s voice will be lost among the many areas vying for resources.”

  • Bethlehem Deputy Chief James Rexford said of his department’s $746,642 grant, “We are planning on using the money to upgrade our dispatcher radio consoles in the department’s Communications Center.”

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