Plans for a housing project five years in the making have run into a snag related to design issues and wording.
The Village of New Loudon project came before the Colonie Planning Board on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Daniel Clarey, of Clarey Development Services, LLC was there to address the board concerning four different amendments. Clarey said the amendments were necessary due to changes in the housing market and the building process.
The top issue that needed to be addressed was confusion over whether the project was made up of condominiums or townhomes. The issue is delaying construction of the Loudon Road development.
Wording of the submitted documents would have prevented the builders from beginning construction of townhomes. When a person buys a townhome, he or she owns the land beneath the building. If a person owns a condo, however, they only own the space in the unit itself, and a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) owns the complex and the surrounding land.
Some board members feared the change would cause an already-approved HOA proposal to become void. Board members, as well as residents neighboring the project, were also concerned changing from condominiums to townhomes would allow the owners to let their properties become run down or make a mess of their yards, creating eyesores.
Clarey disputed that argument.
“Absolutely, the way the grounds look and are controlled is in the HOA documents,” Clarey said. “I know unequivocally they’re all going to look the same, they’re all going to have the same design standards you won’t be hanging clotheslines or things like that. It’s a high end, these are $450,000 homes, not a trailer park.”
A vote to change the wording passed 7-1. Planning Board member Susan Milstein, the only board member to not to vote in favor of the wording changes, said she doesn’t want the “whole sweater to unravel.” She added that she was uncomfortable with the change because she wasn’t fully aware of the legalities of changing the wording and wanted to defer a vote until the board had more information.
Other issues that were deferred to a later meeting included changing the number of townhomes from 71 to 72 and changing 15,000 square feet of previously allotted commercial space to residential space in order to build apartments on that land.
Lastly, the developer would like the Neighborhood Commercial Office Residential (NCOR) code changed to allow the buildings height to go from 40 to 50 feet.
The developer would like to place decorative cupolas on the buildings that would extend above the 40-foot building height limit. Under the zoning law, as long as the building itself remains under 40 feet, structures such as church spires and chimneys are allowed to extend above that height.
However, since a cupola is a decorative feature, plans to extend six feet above that line it is not part of the exception. The developers would also like to have some leeway for elevator shafts or the potential to create parking spaces under the apartments.
The matters will be discussed at a future Planning Board meeting.