Residents raise concerns over proposed 66-lot subdivision on site of former Guilderland pig farm

— From BM Guilderland, LLC submittal to town of Guilderland

The proposal from the limited-liability company owned by Carver Companies is for a 66-lot single-family residential cluster subdivision, with 62 of the homes accessible from either Route 146 or Concord Hill Drive and four located in a cul-de-sac at the end of Posson Road. 

GUILDERLAND — Neighbors known for voicing their opinions on matters affecting the land near William Vojnar’s former farm came to the Nov. 14 Guilderland Conservation Advisory Council meeting to continue that tradition.

Council members appeared surprised by the turnout and content of the attendees’ public comments because its jurisdiction is environmental and the concerns raised by those at the meeting were largely traffic-related. 

“This is fairly early in the process and our focus really is environmental conservation, land use, those kinds of things,” said councilmember Steven Sawicki. “There will be zoning and a bunch of other meetings … where you can ... raise your voices, let your concerns be known.” 

BM Guilderland, LLC is proposing a 66-lot single-family residential cluster subdivision, with 62 of the homes accessible from either Route 146 or Concord Hill Drive and four located in a cul-de-sac at the end of Posson Road. 

BM Guilderland’s proposal is to build the 66 homes on what’s currently four separate parcels of land, three of which are owned by either Karl or Ken Barth, who is a vice president at Carver Companies. The fourth property in the proposed development, 6458 Posson Road, is the final resting place of the prior tenant William Vojnar and the site of his former pig farm; suburban neighbors at Windmill Estates had objected to Vojnar’s farm.

To determine the number of lots allowed in a conservation or cluster development, Guilderland’s code says a developer has to submit a conventional subdivision plan to show the number of buildable lots that are allowed by an area’s particular zoning.

The proposed development is located in the Residential Overlay (RO40) District, where the minimum conventional lot size is 40,000 square feet. For a cluster development in an R40 District, the minimum lot size is 15,000 square feet.

A developer receives a density bonus, additional buildable lots, for providing “certain amenities,” like putting in sidewalks, protecting historically-significant resources, or allowing public access to conservation areas “in their cluster/conservation subdivision,” according to the town’s zoning code. Using a conventional subdivision plan, the developer shows 35 single-family homes spread across 87 acres. The housing number nearly doubles when a cluster plan is employed.

The town isn’t currently on board with a density bonus for BM Guilderland, an LLC owned by the Carver Companies. 

“A 100% density bonus was not supported by the town” at a September Development Planning Committee meeting, according to Town Planner Ken Kovalchik’s memo from the meeting, “as there is only 1 connection to a collector road (NYS Route 146) without having to cross a non-collector road. The other two ingress/egress points to the subdivision, Posson Road and Concord Hill Drive, require crossing non-collector roads.”

As for the actual environmental issues, the council walked through the environmental assessment form submitted by BM Guilderland and had the applicant’s engineer, Scott Lansing, clarify issues members had, which appeared to have been rechecking the correct boxes. 

The council then touched on stormwater-management practices, which Lansing said would have to be in accordance with state requirements. He was also asked to look at the local electrical infrastructure’s ability to take on the added capacity of the proposed development. 

The meeting took place on Nov. 14 and members were due for a site visit on Saturday, Nov. 19, after which Chairman John Wemple Jr. would write up a report.

In a Nov. 1 letter to planning board Chairman Stephen Feeney, Lansing requested, “We would like to request that the Barth Meadows Subdivision be placed on the next available Town Planning Board agenda for review.”


Locals’ concerns

Concord Hill Drive resident Dominic Paratore’s concern with the proposed development was that his street will be changed from a cul-de-sac to an access road to Western Avenue. 

There are two ways to enter and exit his current development, Windmill Estates, Paratore said: Hague Drive, which intersects with Western Avenue, and Halfmoon Drive, which intersects with Route 146. 

“I’m very confident that every resident in Windmill Estates, if they wanted to come to this meeting or go to Hannaford, they’re not using the 146 exit,” Paratore said. “They’re going to Hague Drive and they’re heading out to Western Avenue, [it] makes sense. Just like this new development would.”

Paratore said there’s a “very successful doctor’s office” on the corner of Hague Drive and Western Avenue and the approved development that’s proposed on the other side of Hague Drive from the doctor’s office and new self-storage facility across Western Avenue and the 66-home development would further  compound the traffic problems residents face. 

Concord Hill cul-de-sac resident Dan Harding said the new development’s roadway “would turn into a thoroughfare into the park. People would use this whole neighborhood to cut through to Tawasentha.”

Tom Townsend, who lives on Halfmoon Drive, said, “You can tell that our development has kind of become a, you know, thoroughfare for the high schoolers … It’s almost kind of common knowledge in the town that, if you take Hague Drive, you can sub-navigate the light on 20 in 146 … It’s not all those people, it’s the 10 people, each one of those people tell.”

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