New plan for Hurst Road offers different configuration, adds several lots

— Revised site plan from Stephen Feeney 
A revised concept plan for Black Creek Estates, a subdivision of homes between Hurst Road and Route 146, has one entrance on Route 146 and another on Hurst Road, right in front of a 150-year-old working farm with its barn and farmhouse both located close to the street. 

GUILDERLAND CENTER — “They want to put the road right across from my barn driveway. I’m crying,” said Teri Conroy on Monday.

She was referring to a revised conservation subdivision plan submitted by B&D Properties, the developer that proposes to build homes between Hurst Road and Route 146. Conroy raises llamas at Wunsapana Farm at 4557 Hurst Rd., and lives in an 1865-era built on the property by Ira Hurst.

B&D Properties had originally proposed two different plans for the Black Creek Estate subdivision, each for 13 homes, many of them along Hurst Road.

The revised plan — which B&D Properties brought before the planning board Wednesday night for concept review — shows 18 homes, all along an S-shaped road that runs from Hurst Road to Route 146. The lots are all accessed by the road that has one access point on Hurst and one on Route 146.

The plan also calls for leaving a 100-foot no-cut zone of trees all along Hurst Road, which would maintain the canopy of trees that stretches across the road, prized by area residents.

The lots on the subdivision road would each be at least 20,000 square feet, with a minimum of 80 feet in road frontage, according to the site plan, which is on file at the Guilderland Town Hall. The area is zoned RA3 — which means rural-agricultural with a minimum of three-acre lots — but lots can be clustered together and reduced in size in a conservation subdivision plan in an RA3 zone, planning board Chairman Stephen Feeney explained at Wednesday’s meeting in response to a question from a neighbor.

The site plan stated that the additional lots were made possible by a series of incentives, and that just 13 would have been allowed in a conventional plan.

The incentives add a “10-percent bonus,” or 1.3 lots, the site plan said, for having more than 60 percent of the total 44-acre property left as open space.

Another 10-percent bonus of 1.3 lots is added for sidewalk extension.

And, finally, the incentives add a 20-percent bonus, of 2.6 lots, for public water service extension/loop.

The total of 5.2 lots is rounded down to 5 lots, which are added to the original 13, for a total of 18 in the conservation plan, the site plan says.

Feeney told presenter David Ingalls — who is with the engineering firm Ingalls & Associates and also a member of B&D Properties — Wednesday night that the bonus for water extension would not be applicable in this case. There is already water on Route 146 and on Hurst Road, he said, so this project would not be bringing water to an area that previously lacked it; it would simply be supplying its own subdivision with water.

That brought the number of houses in the plan down to 16, although Feeney told Ingalls that, if he revisited a possibility they had once discussed, of creating a “multi-use path” from the project along Route 146 toward Route 158, there might be a bonus of one or two lots granted for that.

Ten neighbors spoke at the meeting Wednesday night, many of them praising the developer for hearing and responding to the concerns they expressed at a previous meeting.

Many residents spoke about traffic through the area and about the difficulty, already, of turning left from Hurst Road onto Route 146. One noted that the speed limit, which is 35 miles per hour in the hamlet proper, and turns to 45 at Depot Road, just before the project.

Stephen Wilson of nearby Stitt Road handed the board a letter outlining various concerns, including the proximity to the Black Creek. Wilson said the creek provides one of the major high-quality water sources for the Watervliet Reservoir, which supplies Guilderland’s water.

Wilson also noted that the hamlet master plan of 2010 called for its own review in three to five years and said it was time to have another look at the plan, particularly in light of Phillips Hardware’s plans to build a gas station and convenience store at Route 146 and Route 158.  

Donald Csaposs, who said he boards an animal at Conway’s farm on Hurst Road, suggested that the New York State Department of Transportation could be requested to view the project as extending the hamlet of Guilderland Center further west and, as such, grant a reduction in the speed limit along Route 146 in front of the project — all the way to Route 158 — to 35 miles per hour.

Csaposs mentioned to the board that clients from Living Resources maintain Conroy’s barns in summer. Conroy told The Enterprise later that she volunteers her time and her farm to children and adults with physical and emotional disabilities — “hundreds, probably thousands over the last 15 years.”

Several neighbors asked the board to have the developer move the entrance to the subdivision entrance further to the west, where the houses are newer and set far back from the road.

Feeney said that the developer could look at tweaking the location of the entrance on Hurst Road. “We’re not going to add another 400 or 500 feet of asphalt,” he said.

Ingalls told The Enterprise after the meeting that he was amenable to trying to move it.

The board unanimously voted to approve the concept, which means that the developer will now come up with an engineering plan that will again go before the planning board.

Conroy said after the meeting that she is relieved that the road will likely be moved from right in front of her barn. “I hope it’s more than a few feet,” she said.


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