There won’t be a moratorium on apartment complexes in Glenville, but proposed zoning changes would reduce how many apartments a developer could build on a site.
Town Supervisor Christopher Koetzle earlier this year tossed out the idea to halt any additional apartment complexes and multi-family housing units in Glenville. The town’s Small Business and Economic Development Committee later recommended backing off the moratorium and suggested the zoning code be changed to lower the density of housing developments.
Koetzle on Monday, Aug. 27, appeared before the town Environmental Conservation Commission and discussed the proposed changes.
The proposal would amend the multi-family dwellings section of the town code to reduce the maximum density of multi-family projects from 20 units per acre to 10 units per acre and increase the minimum size of apartments from 500 square feet to 900 square feet. Developers of mixed-use projects involving apartments and commercial usage would also be required to build a portion of the commercial facility alongside the apartments.
“What we are trying to do is get really closer to our sister communities,” Koetzle said. “I think it encourages a better project and it really encourages the developer to consider the projects carefully because they are not going to be able to put as many units on the acreage as they maybe would like otherwise.”
He said the increased apartment sizes and lower density would results in a “higher end” apartment being built. The town would still require 40 percent of the project site to be green space, too.
If the proposed density reduction were approved, Glenville would be equal to Niskayuna’s units per acre limit. Koetzle also pointed to the towns of Colonie and Bethlehem, which have an 8 unit per acre limit. The towns of East Greenbush and Guilderland are slightly above Niskayuna, with a limit of 12 units per acre, he said.
Koetzle said the number of apartment units already in the town is what spurred discussions on limiting future multi-family developments. He said the town currently has about 1,150 apartment units and another 400 units are in the pipeline. These figures don’t include anything within Scotia.
“The Town Board clearly has some concern about over building,” Koetzle said. “Having roughly 1,500 apartments in this town is a lot.”
The home market is also growing in strength, portending a move away from rentals, so so the town doesn’t want too many apartments built and units left vacant. Koetzle said the history of the town has been single-family based and it is important to protect neighborhoods and the value of existing homes.
“We saw what happened in the south, particularly in Florida, where overbuilding the condos created that housing crisis and we don’t want to see that same thing happen here,” he said.
Environmental Conservation Commission Chairman Michael Wright suggested the language on requiring developers to build commercial facilities alongside residential units should be tightened up to more clearly define expectations.
Wright said the town was seeking to have half of the commercial use be built at the same time as residential development, but what “half” meant wasn’t clear. He said it should be defined to the acreage, footage or cost.
“Just to make it clear to the developer that if we approve this mixed-use that this is what we expect from you,” Wright said.
The zoning changes would need to be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals before the Town Board could vote on any amendments to the town code. The Town Board would also be required to hold a public hearing before approving the proposal.