Hearing scheduled for Wolanin's 210 apartments

GUILDERLAND — A development company is back in front of the town board with its proposal for a 22-acre subdivision, after meeting with all three boards — including planning and zoning — numerous times over the past five years.

The Wolanin Companies Ltd., founded by Vincent Wolanin, will hold a public hearing on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. to talk to residents about the 210-unit luxury apartment complex it wants to build at 1700 Western Ave.

The land is currently zoned Residential R15 and Residential R40, and would need to be re-zoned to Planned Unit Development — which can exceed zoned density requirements — in order for the project to go forward.

It hasn’t gotten that approval yet because of concerns over traffic problems due to the density and the proximity to Westmere Elementary School and homes on Joseph Terrace.

Wolanin Companies has made several adjustments to the proposal, and hopes that, after the public hearing, it will finally get its approval from the town board.

“We have worked for many years to mitigate every legitimate concern presented, and we have,” said Mr. Wolanin this month.

The original plan was to include 248 units, and it has since been reduced to 210; the project has been moved west by several hundred feet, away from Joseph Terrace; and access to an easement road used by the Westmere Elementary School has been removed.

“No one will be able to see anything of the completed development from Joseph Terrace over the high earth berms, landscaping, and trees, as well as the property fencing,” said Wolanin.

He said the development would be targeted toward professionals of all ages and senior residents who might wish to keep a home in Guilderland, but no longer want the stress and upkeep of owning a large house.

“The people I have spoken to want to be able to lock up the place tight, including the car, and travel on extended vacations, knowing that the community where they live is a safe, monitored place.”

He described the complex as a modern, gated community, featuring enclosed garages, on-site recreation, and 65-percent green space. It would include 10 two-story buildings, housing apartments, as well as a clubhouse and a pool.

“Virtually all of the similar housing in town is over 40 years old,” said Wolanin.

He said the density of the complex would actually fit in with the town’s comprehensive plan, which says to “Concentrate higher density development within densely populated areas such as the Westmere/McKownville area…Westmere and McKownville provide the most services and the best access to public transportation.”

Wolanin said the town would see positive benefits in terms of taxes.

“Any thriving town needs planned new growth with continued investment of major dollars that fits into the character of the area,” concluded Wolanin earlier this month. “The development fits the character of the town’s comprehensive plan, which calls for development like this exactly in this specific area.” 

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