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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 17, 2011

Serafini plans to build eight more units for seniors

By Jo E. Prout

GUILDERLAND — The planning board here approved a site plan last week for eight additional senior apartments at Serafini Village on Western Avenue.

“Our residents are different than [those at] other senior apartment complexes,” said builder Angelo Serafini. The residents, age 50 and older, receive help from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), a federally funded program that helps pay heating bills for those with limited incomes, or they receive Section 8 benefits, where the federal government subsidizes their rent, Serafini said.

 Even with recent federal cuts in benefits, Serafini said, “It’s worked out very well. We’re very happy with it.”

Apartment rents in the existing buildings start between $650 and $700 a month for one-bedroom units.

The proposed building would house eight one-bedroom units, Serafini said.

The units would be built on seven-tenths of an acre, according to Planner Jan Weston, on a “vacant sliver of land” between the existing Serafini Village and Hewitt’s Garden Center.

The existing senior complex is on 6.6 acres and has 92 units, she said. The additional building would lower the development’s density, said Weston.

The rear of the proposed building would face Western Avenue, and parking would be at the front of the building within the complex. The project requires a parking variance, Serafini said. He said that he cannot shift the building site because of the layout of the complex’s infrastructure.

Serafini said that the parking area for the current buildings is not used by many of the residents. Rather than driving, many residents are transported by their children, senior services, or Capital District Transportation Authority buses, he said.

Planning Board member Paul Caputo, whose mother lives in the apartments, agreed that few residents in Serafini Village use their own, or even have their own, vehicles.

“There really are a lot of empty spaces there,” he said.

The board’s approval was contingent on submission of sidewalk and landscaping plans, and notice of where an additional trash receptacle would be placed.

Other business

In other business, the planning board:

— Granted concept approval to Esther Marini for a three-lot subdivision of 2.4 acres at 109 Willow Street. The parcel is near the Albany Pine Bush, and neighbors there have complained of wet basements, according to Planning Board Chairman Stephen Feeney.

The board asked Marini’s husband, Vince, who represented his wife at the meeting last week, to provide documentation on where the groundwater level is.

Weston said that they must show on their plat map where test pits have been dug for each lot when the Marinis return for further approvals;

— Granted final plat approval to Thomas Paonessa for a four-lot subdivision of 1.5 acres on Norfolk Street. The lot straddles the town line between Guilderland and Bethlehem.

Weston said that the parcel has areas of standing water, but that there are adequate private wells. A new sewer lies along Monroe Avenue, she said.

Engineer Francis Bossolini said that the lots contain “court-jurisdictional wetlands” identified by the Army Corps of Engineers, restrictions of which are filed with the court clerk.

The majority of the wetlands are in Bethlehem, and the disturbance of the parcel is also in Bethlehem, Bossolini said. The lots will get public water from Bethlehem, and use Guilderland’s sanitary sewer system, he said.

Bossolini said that a drywell at the low point near Norfolk Street will help water get into the ground.

The planning board found that no Environmental Impact Statement was required;

— Continued a public hearing for Bernadette Giardina’s application for a four-lot subdivision of 4.7 acres at 3131 Old State Road. Weston had no objection to final approval, and said that a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan had already been approved. One of the parcels contains part of a pine bush dune.

Board members Terry Coburn and Caputo want the developer to put a conservation easement in place. Nick Costa, representing Giardina, said that he would have Giardina’s legal counsel discuss any easements with the planning board attorney.

“Our concerns are generated by the… Pine Bush Commission,” Feeney said. “How would you identify the area? How is it going to be marked for future homeowners to know? I’ll leave it up to you to propose. What we want to see is no disturbance of the hill — no excavation, no structures placed there. That is a concern of ours.”

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