Apartment complex proposed for Guilderland’s Vosburgh Road

— From townofguilderland.org
This aerial view of the apartment complex proposed for Vosburgh Road shows the project’s location, across Western Avenue from Hannaford and the CVS which is next to the supermarket, at the corner of Carman Road and Western Avenue.

GUILDERLAND — New apartment complexes are cropping up along Guilderland’s Route 20 corridor at a quick clip.

The most recently proposed among them is slated for 10 acres of woods at the corner of Vosburgh Road and Western Avenue, where Viscusi Builders hopes to construct a complex of 12 buildings, each with eight apartments, for a total of 96 units.

The town is already expecting to add more than 300 units to its apartment supply with projects that have either recently been approved or are currently before the town’s various boards.

They include:

— Mill Hollow II, a complex of 88 apartments among 13 buildings currently under construction, with some units occupied, at Frenchs Mill Road and Western Avenue, three-quarters of a mile west of the Vosburgh Road project;

— A 210-unit gated apartment complex at 1700 Western Ave. built by Wolanin Companies, construction of which began this week;

— A large-scale project by Phillips Hardware at the corner of routes 146 and 158 that has been approved and is set to include several apartments as well as a sports dome, gas station, convenience store, drive-through fast-food restaurant, hardware store, and corporate offices; and

— A multi-use retail and apartment building project to include 11 apartments that is under consideration at Hague Drive and Western Avenue.

On top of that, in Albany, just over the border from McKownville, is the controversial Sandidge Way apartment project. It is expected to have 173 units on the former Loughlin Street, which has been renamed Sandidge Way, off of Fuller Road near the SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

The rezoning that the developer had sought for more than a year was approved in mid-May as part of a citywide zoning overhaul known as ReZone Albany. McKownville residents and Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber had all expressed opposition and concern.

Reached by phone this week, Spencer Jones of Dawn Homes Management, one of the companies behind the development, said he was not yet ready to speak on the record about what the next steps for the project would be.

Vosburgh Road

The Vosburgh Road project would combine three parcels that are now mostly woods, with two homes on it. The entire site is currently zoned general business, which means that it could be heavily developed, the board heard from the applicant Tuesday.

“Once they got over the idea that this wasn’t going to be 10 acres of woods, like it has been for years, they agreed that they would be better off with a series of apartment buildings than a large commercial enterprise,” said real-estate attorney Paul Sciocchetti, for the developer, Viscusi Builders. He was speaking at a public hearing to discuss the developer’s application for a rezone of the 10.15-acre parcel to multi-family district.

The site is on the southwest corner of Western Avenue across from CVS. The largest of its three parcels is nine acres of woods with no structures on it. The other two parcels have one single-family home each, which would be demolished.

The new apartment complex would be called The Preserve at West Creek. Amenities would include a security system, balconies. Apartments would feature two bedrooms, hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances.

The board is actually considering two scenarios — one in which a 1.27-acre portion in the front corner would remain general business, allowing for a business tenant to take over the entire 10 acres, and the remainder to be zoned for multi-family use; and the other in which the entire lot is devoted to apartment buildings.

In the latter scenario, Sciocchetti told The Enterprise this week, the developer would request to be allowed to put two more apartment buildings on the site, to make the project commercially viable.

The main entrance would be on Western Avenue, so construction vehicles, delivery trucks, and school buses would all enter there, rather than on Vosburgh, the board heard.

John Traudt, a resident of the nearby Twenty West luxury-home development, said he would rather see apartment buildings built there than a more intensive use. He expressed concern that several of the buildings will look down directly into his backyard and create a privacy issue.

Beverly Filkins, of 6518 Vosburgh Rd., said, “There is definitely going to be an impact on traffic.”

She can only back out of her driveway onto Vosburgh, because there is no room in the drive to turn around, she said. She already has a large mirror hung on a tree at the end of her driveway, to help her back onto the busy road, she said. She asked if a traffic light is planned for Vosburgh and Route 20.

Barber said that it is not.

Board member Rosemary Centi said she was also concerned the impact that 96 apartments might have on traffic at the nearby intersection of Carman Road and Western Avenue, which she said is already busy. Centi named Hannaford, CVS, Mobil, and Ruggiero’s as businesses that are all “impacted by that constant flow of traffic.”

Wendy Holsberger, transportation systems director for VHB’s Albany office, conducted a required traffic study for the project that showed, she said, that the addition of the apartments would not affect the flow of traffic at Vosburgh Road and Western Avenue significantly.

More recently she had been asked by the town’s planning board to look at the accident data for the nearby intersection of Carman Road and Western Avenue.

She told the board that there had been just six accidents at the intersection of Carman Road and Western Avenue over the three years of her study, with no personal-injury accidents.

“There was a death,” said Centi.

“Not during the three years of our study,” Holsberger replied.

The Enterprise could not confirm any record of a fatal traffic accident at that corner, and Deputy Chief of Police Curtis Cox, reached by telephone, could not remember any over the last 10 years or so. Reached by phone the next day, Centi was unable to remember any details about a fatal accident there.

During the meeting, the board was handed printouts of the results of the second traffic study.

The board continued the matter, so that members would have time to look over the study. Supervisor Peter Barber said that that the board would vote on the State Environmental Quality Review Act resolution and the rezone at its next meeting, which is now scheduled for June 20.

SEQRA resolutions

The town board adopted two resolutions under the State Environmental Quality Review Act — one for the McKownville Stormwater Drainage Improvements project and the other for the Guilderland Rotterdam Water Interconnect project, each declaring the town board the lead agency in the Type I action, issuing a negative declaration based on the full environmental assessment form (EAF) — meaning the environmental impact is minor — and authorizing the town supervisor to sign Part III of the EAF.

Barber told The Enterprise this week that this SEQR resolution for the McKownville project was the “last step to secure funding that will enable the town to address flooding on homes, particularly residential properties in McKownville.” State funding from three different sources will provide $3.25 million, he said, and “meaningful construction” will start later this year.

For the Rotterdam project, Barber said the resolution is an intermunicipal agreement between Rotterdam and Guilderland to “basically share water in the event of an emergency and also to allow the town of Guilderland to draw over three million gallons of water per day from Rotterdam.”

The town started establishing this link before last year’s problem with water from the city of Albany occurred, Barber told The Enterprise. He was referring to a water-main break in Albany last August that left Guilderland without a backup water source for more than a month. Guilderland banned sprinkling altogether throughout that time, as a precautionary measure, to ensure that it would have an adequate supply at its hydrants in the event of an emergency.

The state recently announced funding for a clean water infrastructure program, Barber announced at the board meeting, that the town will apply for. If the application is successful, the inter-municipal projects grant would pay for up to 40 percent or $10 million, whichever is less, of the project cost. The total project cost, Barber said this week, is in the range of $3.95 million. If approved, grant money would cover $1.58 million of that, with Guilderland paying $2.37 million. The town’s share would come from its reserves, with no financing or debt, Barber said.

Other business

In other business, the town board:

— Made these permanent appointments: Kassandra Baker as keyboard specialist in the assessor’s office; Linda Cardinal as keyboard specialist in the police department; and Michael Nardolillo as court attendant;

— Appointed Nolan Parker as a full-time laborer in water and wastewater management;

—Adopted a resolution establishing the standard work day for non-union job titles for determining days worked for the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System;

— Authorized the purchase of a crack seal machine from Cimline Pavement Maintenance Group for $58,756.25 as recommended by the highway superintendent;

— Authorized Barber to sign a contract with Technical Building Services Inc. for 2017-18 for heating and cooling preventive maintenance service as recommended by the supervisor of building maintenance;

— Recognized Deputy Town Clerk Anna Russo for achieving recognition as a Registered Municipal Clerk by the New York State Town Clerks Association;

— Recognized animal control officers Bob Meyers and Kathy Foley for hosting the Eighth Annual Dog Control Officer/Animal Control Conference at the Guilderland Fire Department;

— Authorized the town clerk and supervisor to sign a collector’s warrant for the Guilderland Water District in the total amount of $299,029.28, including $239,760.64 in water charges for the period of May 1 to Oct. 31, 2017, $59,781.74 in arrears and penalty under the collector’s warrant dated Dec. 1, 2016, and $513.10 in overpayments as recommended by the receiver of taxes;

— Authorized the highway department to issue a request for bids for the purchase of a used nine-ton split-drum asphalt roller; and

— Authorized the payment of $47,403.29 to Carver Construction from the drainage repair reserve fund for emergency repairs on Ridgehill Road — the site of a large sinkhole that opened recently when a catch basin beneath the road deteriorated.

Supervisor’s Notes

At the end of the meeting, in his “Supervisor’s Notes,” Barber updated residents on a few topics that affect them:

—He announced that, through the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Pet Waste Disposal Project, the town will get 10 pet waste-disposal units, to be placed in various parks throughout the town. Guilderland’s parks, Barber said, have a “carry-in, carry-out” policy, and no trash receptacles. These disposal units will mean that residents no longer have to carry bags of pet waste out with them.

Barber told The Enterprise this week that the town is also looking into creating a second dog park, in Westmere, possibly near the Westmere Fire Department, where there is adequate parking and the park can be “located away from residences.”

—Guilderland Performing Arts Center begins it summer season on Friday, June 16, with a performance by Nervosity, at Tawasentha Park from 6 to 10 p.m. The weekly concert series is free and runs through Aug. 10.

—The town pool at Tawasentha Park will open on Saturday, June 17. Barber said that the town usually tries to open on a weekday, to iron out any kinks, but has decided this year to open on a Saturday.

— National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 6 p.m. in Tawasentha Park.

—Summer water-usage restrictions are in effect. Automated sprinklers are to be used from 1 to 4 a.m. only, on odd or even days depending on the home address; homeowners who are unsure how to set a timer can call the water department and someone will come out to help. Old-fashioned sprinklers, Barber said, are also on an odd-even system, and can be used from 6:30 to 8:00, a.m. or p.m.

— Barber thanked Boy Scout troops 24, 50, 83, and 264 for their work in the Community Service Work Day on Saturday, May 6, and Troop 24 for its efforts at Prospect Hill Cemetery on Sunday, May 21, when about 550 flags were placed on graves.

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