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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 23, 2010

More houses
Third development for NE quadrant

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Another housing development has been proposed along the Route 85A corridor, joining the Colonie Country Club Estates proposal for about 35 houses and the Kensington Woods proposal for 169 houses.

On Aug. 17, Country Club Partners submitted a proposal for a 19-lot subdivision of the roughly 22-and-a-half acres encompassing the former LeVie farm.  It bought the property in June of 2009 for $625,000.

According to the preliminary sketch it submitted, a horseshoe-shaped road would connect to Route 85A on either side of Hilton Road, on the opposite side of 85A, and loop through the proposed development.  When the town’s planning board was presented with the draft plan at its last meeting, members agreed that the state’s Department of Transportation would likely prefer a single entrance to Route 85A located directly across from Hilton Road.

Next to where that road would be is the 7,200-square-foot barn built by Frank Osterhout in 1898.  Currently, the barn is used by the country club to house maintenance equipment, but it will be moved or demolished to allow for another building lot, John Biscone told the planning board.  Biscone is the lawyer representing Country Club Partners and could not be reached for further information.  It is unclear whether the existing house or outbuildings will remain.

“I don’t know how they’d move it,” Building Inspector Paul Cantlin said of the barn this week, adding that he had heard an estimate of $45,000 to fix just the roof, which is slate.

In a letter to the Enterprise editor this week, Edie Abrams, a New Scotland resident active in planning issues, suggests that the community work with the country club to find a way to preserve the barn.

After the initial discussion between the planning board and the developers, Patricia Snyder, who was appointed to the town’s recently created ethics board, asked if the town ever takes a comprehensive look at the cumulative effects of proposed developments rather than looking at each one individually.  Each proposal requires various impact studies to be performed by the developer, but the town does not examine the combined impacts of the developments before approving them.

“I agree with your concept,” Planning Board Chairman Charles Voss said, explaining that there is no mechanism to allow for the board to consider the combined impact of the developments.

When a bill meant to limit the allowable size of retail centers met with disapproval from the Albany County Planning Board last year, that body recommended that New Scotland undertake a general environmental impact study to set up a framework for assessing growth and development.  A large part of the town’s commercial zone, which was affected by the bill, runs along Route 85A, in the same area as the three proposed housing developments.

Asked if the town would consider conducting a study of the area, Supervisor Thomas Dolin quoted an estimate of $50,000.  It “may get to the point where the next developer has to do something like that,” he said.

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