Is there a need for so much senior housing?

To the Editor:

Welcome to Builderland.

I’ve been a resident of Guilderland for 40 years, and I’ve never seen such a frenzy of development in this small hamlet. Maybe you noticed? If not, you will.

Because if the town boards (town, planning, and zoning) continue to blankly approve developments, you’ll notice the impact of an additional 448 approved “senior living” apartments along an approximate half-mile stretch of Route 155.

Please, take the time to absorb this fact.

The apartment complexes, already approved by our current council and board members include: Summit (south toward Voorheesville across from Stewart’s); Pine Bush Senior Living (to be built on the west side of Route 155 heading north near the post office); and Hiawatha Trails, a large senior-living apartment complex approved to be built across from Guilderland’s Farnsworth Middle School, which will be the second-largest single structure in town after Crossgates Mall.  

It’s not difficult to forecast the effects of so much added congestion will have on the simple quality of life in our hamlet, which is rampantly becoming urbanized. The Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth has repeatedly asked that a moratorium be placed on any large developments until the town and its citizens have considered the cumulative impact of so many proposals. This includes an updated town plan (the current one is two decades old).

Also, I ask if there’s a need for such senior living development. Data from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission indicates that the number of citizens of Guilderland aged 75 and above is expected to grow a modest 444 additional people (22.8-percent growth) over 10 years (from 2010 to 2020).

But can one extrapolate that every one of these elders will leave current residences to migrate to some “senior living” apartment complex in town?  A 2018 Wall Street Journal article claimed that much of the senior housing being built is not being fully occupied, and that many boomers prefer to age in place.

Finally, planning of these complexes is well defined and initiated before the citizenry really knows about such plans. So, now that such commercial age-restricted complexes can be built within residential areas, you can expect more.

If you want to add your voice to such concerns, please go to and see how your neighbors are galvanizing to critically address such unplanned growth.

Robert Mason 


Editor’s note: Robert Mason is a member of the Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth.

The Guilderland Town Board will hold a public hearing on Sept. 3 to decide exactly where commercial age-restricted facilities can be built.

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