Proposal to build large apartment complex by St. Matthew’s Church is not senior housing

To the Editor:

The Aug. 11 edition of The Enterprise contained an article regarding a public hearing on a proposal by the Voorheesville Village Board to amend the village zoning law.

The amendment would create a “floating zone” called Planned Unit Development districts. This zone would apply to any parcel of land having at least 7.5 acres served by public sanitary sewer and public water. As stated in the proposed amendment, “Planned unit development regulations are intended to allow a mixed use of residential, commercial and/or manufacturing uses within a zoning district that otherwise would not be allowed by the existing zoning.”

In other words, if you live in a zoning district which currently allows only single-family residences, the area where you live could be designated as a planned use development district, which could allow a mix of residential, commercial and/or manufacturing uses.

At the hearing, the village attorney stated that the zoning change could apply to six parcels throughout the village. In total, the zoning change could affect over 250 acres of land in various locations such as Voorheesville Avenue, Route 85A between Crow Ridge Road and Urbandale Road and between Urbandale Road and the Village/Town line, Ridge Road off Crow Ridge Road, Bloomer Road and Foundry Road.

The village attorney also stated that, in addition to the area currently served by public sanitary sewer (Salem Hills, Mountain View Street, Maple Avenue and Quail Run), there are two parcels on Route 85A between Crow Ridge Road and Urbandale Road (containing approximately 71 acres as shown on the village tax map) that are in close proximity to public sanitary sewer and are currently eligible for designation as planned development districts.

Surprisingly, no resident living in any of the neighborhoods affected by the zoning change was notified by the village board. Also, the village board drafted the zoning amendment and has not asked the planning board or the zoning board to review or comment on the amendment.

The Enterprise article also reported on a developer’s plan to construct a large apartment complex that, I believe, would consist of up to 48 units on the property behind St. Matthew’s Church.

On Feb. 9, 2016, a developer discussed a plan for the construction of apartments behind St. Matthew’s Church with the village board. The minutes of that meeting indicate that the developer advised the board that feasibility studies show that there is not a viable market for senior housing. Some units would be reserved for seniors, but the remainder (I believe the majority) would be rented to tenants of any age.

What everyone should keep in mind is that, while reference was made to senior housing, the developer admitted to the village board that the market for senior housing is not adequate to make such a project economically worthwhile. Referring to this project as a senior-housing proposal is a misnomer and tries to sugarcoat what the developer wants to build: a large apartment complex in a neighborhood of over 300 single-family homes.

The village board has adjourned the public hearing to a future date to be announced. I urge all residents to attend the public hearing when it is held and I hope the village board will provide adequate notice of the date of the meeting to all residents.

The village board should reject its own proposal for Planned Unit Development districts. At the same time, the board should direct that the zoning law and the comprehensive plan be reviewed by the planning board and the zoning board. Hopefully, this will ensure that decisions of this magnitude will not be made in a vacuum or on an ad hoc basis.

Kenneth J. Connolly


Editor’s note: See related editorial on page 2.

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