Our town character is diversity, we have enough space to handle what comes our way

To the Editor:

Thank you to Elizabeth Floyd Mair for her outstanding article on planning for the town of Guilderland. It was good to read about people taking part in this process even though some of their conclusions need tweaking.

The main point of the article centered around the 1,200 or so apartments either approved or requested. To that, I say good.

We are a very large geographically as well as diverse township. McKownville is different from Westmere, which is different from Guilderland Center, which is different from the Fort Hunter area, which is different from the Lone Pine area, which is different from the village of Altamont, which is different from the Route 20 corridor. Our town character is diversity.

Regarding the apartments proposed or approved, some of these will get built. Some won’t.

The one factor that apparently was not considered in the discussion held at the library on Sept. 13 was the fact that the residents of these structures will become customers for local businesses. We, in the town, need to consider all aspects of what planned growth will accomplish.

Economics is one of these factors. I applaud Mr. Van Epps, the owner of Hiawatha for his careful consideration regarding a potential purchaser for his property. If concerned-citizen groups are going to limit what Mr. Van Epps can do with his property, they have the responsibility to provide suitable viable economic alternatives as to the purchaser of his property. You can’t just say no to an owner and let it go at that.

One of the speakers asked that nothing should be approved until the town “looks at all of them [proposals] collectively and asks what’s the impact?”  This is not intelligent planning so much as a “nail-strip” approach toward economic development.

Planning has been ongoing. The current plan took eight years to come to fruition. I have attended meetings regarding planning changes. Very few others took the opportunity to comment on these changes.

The zoning changes are a framework. They are not “written in stone” as apparently some would want.

What is your suggestion on the use of the Governor’s Motor Inn, the Bohl property at the corner of Foundry Road and Route 20, or Nedco pharmacy at the corner of Carman and Lydius Street? All of these are festering eyesores. It would be wrong to not have some flexibility in the future uses of these properties.

Regarding another situation mentioned in the article, I really hope the speaker was misquoted. This speaker indicated that the newly constructed Cumberland Farms was an example of “bad planning.” Huh?

Maybe it was “good planning” to allow the Marine Midland Bank building to exist for 20 years, deteriorating, or the vacant lot that served as an overflow for Stewart’s. Like businesses tend to locate near each other. For example, there are the car dealerships on Central Avenue in Colonie.  If you need a car, you know where to go. This works for pharmacies also.

Speaking of Cumberland Farms, it was great to attend the unveiling of a plaque honoring the Tommy Polito Tavern formerly located at the corner of routes 20 and 146 as well as Tommy Polito. Thirty-five to 40 people, almost all former Polito customers, came to the new Cumberland Farms to be a part and remember lots of good times. Thank you, Cumberland Farms, for becoming part of our town.

It is important to consider all aspects of planning and development but in as diversified township as Guilderland we have enough space and interest to handle what comes our way.

John B. Haluska


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