At county’s behest, Guilderland delays adopting moratorium

— Enterprise file photo
Kenneth Kovalchik, Guilderland's town planner, sent out notices about the town's proposed moratorium to neighboring municipalities but, as of the May 7 town board meeting, had received no responses.

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Town Board has delayed adopting a moratorium on residential building until its next meeting, on May 21.

The delay, Supervisor Peter Barber said at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, is because the Albany County Planning Board said notification of the moratorium must be sent to neighboring municipalities according to General Municipal Law.

The county board made that recommendation in an April 18 notice.

The town’s planner, Kenneth Kovalchik, subsequently sent out the notices to neighboring municipalities but has yet to have gotten any responses, he said.

While Barber and Councilman Jacob Crawford questioned the requirement, Kovalchik noted, “There’s also probably a little known local law that dates back to 2005 … which was an agreement between the town of Guilderland and the village of Altamont that requires amendments to comprehensive plans to be referred to the village.”

Deputy Supervisor Christine Napierski referenced a pamphlet that said state Town Law requires local municipalities to be notified.

“So I think, whether it’s under the General Municipal or the Town Law, we have to do it,” said Napierski. “We don’t want anyone to challenge the moratorium … just simply because we did not send notice.”

“I think this is a bit of an overreach,” Crawford said of the county planning board’s notice, “but that’s my personal view.”

A committee is currently working with a consultant to update Guilderland’s two-decades-old comprehensive plan and the moratorium is to give the town board a chance to amend its zoning code accordingly.

To encourage affordable housing and also to protect the town’s water quality and quantity, the bill says, the town board is proposing a six-month moratorium on subdivisions of five or more lots, apartment complexes of 25 or more units, and residential care facilities of 50 or more units.

The bill outlines exceptions that the board may make for “extraordinary hardship” and says the moratorium may be extended for another six months.

The bill set the start date of the moratorium at March 14.

On May 7, Barber asked Kovalchik if there had been any applications since March 14.

“There have been plenty of applications,” responded Kovalchik, “but nothing really that would rise to the level of being caught up with the confines of the moratorium.”

“Right,” said Barber, “and you would probably let us know if you’ve got anything that would be triggered by that because my understanding is it’s not simply just a phone call or a letter or an email. You require a complete application, paying the fee and all that good stuff.”

At an April 16 hearing on the proposed moratorium, the handful of residents who spoke were about equally divided. The town board had postponed voting on the moratorium on April 16 as it awaited review from the county’s planning board.

While the hearing was closed on April 16, the board continued to accept public comments on the moratorium and received two.

Guilderland resident Gordon McClelland wrote in favor of the moratorium, saying, “Assessing our water infrastructure before we continue these projects is an excellent idea.”

Westmere resident Iris Broyde called not voting on the moratorium on May 7 as planned “downright irresponsible.”

She wrote, “While a consult regarding the moratorium process with a municipality who has already undergone one may be prudent from a purely informative standpoint, that can be done during the period between the board’s disposition of the law and its approval by the state.”


Other business

In other business at its May 7 meeting, the Guilderland Town Board:

— Awarded a contract for building a concrete slab for the new fire training tower to AJS Masonry Inc. of Clifton Park, the sole responsible bidder, in the amount of $156,740.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new training tower will be held on May 16 at noon;

— Agreed to buy a used ambulance from Global Emergency Vehicles Inc. of Levittown, Pennsylvania for $122,075. The odometer on the used ambulance says 83,300 miles.

“This is the vehicle that we had in mind when we went through this process,” said Barber;

— Awarded a contract for installing an irrigation system at Nott Road Park to DAF Services Inc. of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, the lowest of three bidders, for $76,955. The other bids were for $101,167 and $232,988;

— Canceled the board’s June 18 meeting.

“The reason why we’re doing it,” said Barber, “is we’re trying to create that new holiday, Juneteenth, like any other holiday. And typically, we would not schedule, like, a meeting on July 3rd … We want to make sure we respect the holiday”:

— Waived the building fee associated with fire damage at 3017 Sunset Lane; and

— Agreed to have Park Playhouse Inc., doing business as Playhouse Stage Company, perform “The Marvelous Wonderettes” at the Guilderland Performing Arts Center in Tawasentha Park on July 19, 20, and 21.

The town is paying $20,000 for the performances.

In March, the board had agreed to these performances at GPAC this summer: The Matt Mirabile Band on June 27 for $1,500; The McKrells on July 18 for $2,500; Aquanett on July 25 for $2,500; Big Sky Country on Aug. 8 for $2,100; and TS Ensemble on Aug. 15 for $1,500.

On securing The Playhouse, which typically performs in Albany’s Washington Park, Barber said, “I want to thank Jake Crawford for taking the lead and making this happen …. We’ve had some very positive conversations with the director of the Park Playhouse. They’re very excited. They would like to make this a long-term relationship.”

Barber also thanked the town’s parks department for “clearing the schedule” for use of the popular stage.

Crawford said GPAC’s new terraced seating was attractive to the Playhouse Stage Company as was GPAC’s covered stage so the show could go on in light rain.


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