On Tuesday, April 22, the Town of Malta Planning Board heard an initial concept proposal for the development of an 85,000-square-foot medical complex between Route 9 and Hearn Road. Though the project is still in the early stages of planning, representatives of MSA Properties and The Environmental Design Partnership group presented two eco-friendly scenarios for development of the 34-acre parcel of land that slopes downward to Drummond Creek.
Representing MSA Properties was Matt Ward, who said the proposed medical center would provide educational services, ambulatory surgery, imaging services and outpatient practices. These services would either be split up into three structures in a campus-like setting or be consolidated into one larger, L-shaped structure that would lie largely along Route 9.
Both the board and planners agreed the latter would be preferable, especially when considering many patients would need to visit more than one area of the complex.
According to Clifton Park-based Environmental Design Partnership representative Gavin Vuillaume, the overall impact on the parcel would be virtually the same under either plan.
Although he said about three quarters of the site would remain undisturbed, the approximately 7.2-acre developable area would require significant overhaul.
In order for us to develop this parcel, quite a bit of material would have to be removed, said Vuillaume.
He estimated 140,000 cubic yards of earth would need to leave the site, but expressed hope it could be put to use at other nearby developments.
A portion — 1.47 acres — of that developable area is made up of steep slopes of a 15 percent grade or more. Special permission from the town would be required for these areas to be developed. Though Vuillaume said most of the parcel’s slopes would remain undisturbed, there was concern over the impact of the changes.
Board member William Smith warned that a storm-water management plan was of great importance.
`You’re going down from the property line almost 30 feet in elevation you’re going to create a big basin,` said Smith.
Mark Hammond, a 25-year resident of Hearn Road, lives just 60 feet from the edge of the proposed development.
`I’m not opposed to this,` said Hammond, `but I do have concerns.`
Aside from worrying that disturbing the flow of water to the Drummond Creek could affect his well, Hammond said he fears the development could present an eyesore. His property would overlook the proposed 350-space parking lot as well as the roof of the complex. `I would like to continue looking out of my window and seeing trees,` said Hammond. `I don’t want to feel like I’m living in the middle of some type of industrial complex.`
Ward said Hearn Road residents might take solace in the fact the proposed development is being planned in a `green` style. The possibility of a green roof ` featuring foliage rather than asphalt ` was discussed, as was the possibility of creating bike and hiking trails on the unused land for area residents’ use.
`The idea is to positively impact the community,` said Ward. `The architecture of this building, the scope of it, is going to be as organic and seamless as we can possibly make it.`
The project still has a long way to go before ground can be broken. Soil samples must be taken and the effects of development on the parcel’s steep grades must be assessed. Numerous permits must also be acquired from the town before a site plan can even be submitted for approval.
There was consent among the board members that the project holds promise, however.
Malta’s Deputy Supervisor and Planning Board Chairman Glenn Rockwood remarked that the project could be `a tremendous opportunity for green building,` and `would be somewhat of a community asset when we overcome some of the technical constraints.“