52 acres transferred from Guilderland to village

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Under construction: 52 acres on Bozenkill Road, part of a subdivision owned and developed by Troy Miller, are now part of the village of Altamont.

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Town Board and the Altamont Village Board of Trustees each approved resolutions, with all affirming votes on Tuesday, to annex 52 acres of land from Guilderland to the village.

Guilderland Supervisor Kenneth Runion and Altamont Mayor James Gaughan both recused themselves from the discussion, Runion because his home is for sale with CM Fox Realty, with which Troy Miller is a principal, and Gaughan because he is considering buying property in the development.

The land, collectively known as Pangburn Farms, off of Bozenkill Road, is being developed by Troy Miller, who said, at a public hearing in July, that he wanted the subdivision to be in Altamont because it is where he has lived most of his life, and it would also make sense geographically.

The 52.6 acres are located off of Bozenkill Road, close to the intersection with Dunnsville Road, and had been part of the town of Guilderland, located just 2,000 feet from the village line.

The proposal for annexation was discussed for more than an hour at the July public hearing, and Altamont Trustee Kerry Dineen, acting as the chairperson for Altamont, described some of the ways an annexation to the village would be beneficial, including a reduction in taxes for homeowners and an increase in general fund tax revenue.

The development was zoned by Guilderland to allow 10 single-family homes, and the estimated assessment on each potential home is $500,000. The village tax for a $500,000 home would be approximately $1,331.05 per year, which would result in an additional $13,310.50 in revenue.

The owner of a village house assessed at $200,000 would see a reduction in taxes of roughly $26.38 per year.

Kate Provencher, who lives on Thacher Road in Altamont and is a member of the village’s zoning board of appeals, voiced concerns at the hearing about the condition of the portion of Bozenkill Road that the village would be taking over. She asked whether the village would incur costs to repair it, to which Dineen responded that several repair options had been considered.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Dineen told the board that she had recently discovered that, legally, the road can’t be annexed with the land.

“It has to be two separate action items, and the annexation has to be first and separate,” said Dineen.

There would have to be a legal process, after the annexation of the land, to transfer ownership of the road.

The Guilderland Town Board members voiced concerns about approving the annexation before the legal transfer of the road.

Patricia Slavick asked whether the town could include a provision in its annexation resolution stating that, if it approved the annexation, the village would be required to take control of the road or the annexation would be nullified.

Dineen said that would be against the law.

“According to New York State law, you can’t have an annexation contingent upon anything else,” she said. “I’ve read the law, well, let’s just say many times.”

James Melita, the town attorney, said he would work with opposing counsel to file a quitclaim deed, which allows a transfer of property ownership without a sale.

Guilderland Town Board members wanted assurance that, once the land was annexed, Altamont would not renege on taking control of that portion of Bozenkill Road.

Dineen said the resolution that Altamont passed had included “broad language” implying that the village would take any legal steps required to acquire the road.

“So there is no expectation that Guilderland would be asked to take on any financial burden to repair the road?” asked Paul Pastore, a Guilderland councilman.

Dineen said the village would not ask the town to repair the road before ownership was transferred.

“If you transfer the road, you will be losing highway funding, and we understand that,” said Dineen, indicating that the village had already investigated ways to fund road repairs, including using money donated by Miller.

“I’m not sure that, after we transfer the road, we care who maintains it,” quipped Melita.

The Guilderland Town Board ultimately approved the annexation proposal and agreed to discuss the status of the quitclaim deed for Bozenkill Road at an October meeting.

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