Town planner to make presentation on need for apartments and senior housing in Guilderland

The Enterprise — Elizabeth Floyd Mair 
Kenneth Kovalchik started as Guilderland’s planner in July. The town had had no planner for a year-and-a-half until Kovalchik was hired. Previously, Jan Weston spent 28 years in the position before she resigned at the end of 2016. Kovalchik comes to Guilderland from Bethlehem, where he was a senior planner.

GUILDERLAND — New town planner Kenneth Kovalchik will make a presentation to the town board, at its Dec. 18 meeting, about all of the existing and proposed apartment and senior-housing complexes in Guilderland. Kovalchik will also address the main concerns residents have raised about whether these kinds of development are needed.

Meanwhile, Pyramid Management, the owners of Crossgates Mall, submitted an application this week to the planning board for a project that would bring 222 apartments and townhouses to Rapp Road, just west of the mall. (See related story.)

Kovalchik told The Enterprise that themes have emerged in the many emails and phone calls he and other town officials have received, including:

— Cumulative impact;

— Traffic;

— Character of the community; and

— Whether all of these apartments and senior housing are needed.

His overview of projects will feature the larger multifamily or senior-housing projects existing or approved, he said, giving as examples Riitano Senior Living on Johnston Road, Pine Bush Senior Living on Route 155, 1700 Designer Residences on Western Avenue, and Promenade Senior Living on Western Avenue across from the university.

“Most of the time will be spent on the concerns we’ve heard,” Kovalchik said. “I may not change anybody’s mind, but I’ll try to give my perspective.”

More Guilderland News

  • “We have been challenged to not only reinvent what we do for an online platform, but innovate at the same time,” said Timothy Wiles, director of the Guilderland Public Library. The library is proposing a $4 million budget, drafted before the coronavirus shutdown. Residents of the Guilderland Central School district will vote through mail-in ballots that must be returned by June 9.

  • Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber is expecting a 20-percent reduction in sales-tax revenues for the second quarter, which amounts to a loss of about half-of-a-million dollars. But, he said, the town, is “in fairly good shape” financially since it has “healthy reserves,” which he described as being “in the millions of dollars.” He has no immediate plans to lay off or furlough town workers.

  • “I think it’s the unpredictability that is the challenge here, trying to plan for something that we don’t really know what it’s going to look like or what our needs are going to be,” said Guilderland schools Superintendent Marie Wiles, discussing next year’s budget. “I do think we’re going to need more resources, not less as we open the school year.”

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