There are still several hurdles before a 210-unit apartment complex off Western Avenue is approved, but a bevy of people have already expressed disapproval or support for the project.
Wolanin Companies is scheduled to present an updated site plan on its proposal to build a luxury apartment complex at the Guilderland Planning Board’s Wednesday, May 14, meeting. The Town Board last month conditionally approved the rezoning of the 22-acre property in the hamlet of Westmere. Once the Planning Board approves a final site plan, the Town Board would then have the last say over the final site plan.
Spotlight News obtained several comments, along with a petition holding more than 80 signatures of neighboring residents in opposition, through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request on April 17. Additional documentation on the project, such as fiscal impact, was also obtained.
Sandy Smith of Church Road claimed she called every apartment complex in the town and found only two did not have openings. Smith also said homeowners would pick up the tab for any children from the apartments attending the school.
The project developer has contested a minor amount of children would be added through apartments, but single-family homes would generate a great amount more of children.
Some neighbors were concerned about the character of the community changing after the apartments are built.
“These have been quiet neighborhoods for a long time, and I would not like to see that change,” Church Road resident Don Govel said in an email to the supervisor.
Rachel and Kevin Megyesi said they purchased their home on Janet Lane three years ago with the intention of “really growing our roots.” They said in an email to the town supervisor that the proposed project “really dash those hopes.”
Jeffrey and Lynn Kline sent the Town Board a letter with similar concerns, having also purchased their home around three years ago.
“I did not see any compelling reason presented for why these parcels should be rezoned and that the long-time character of the area is, and has been, residential in nature,” the Kline’s letter said.
Business community members, including Price Chopper, along with some residents have expressed the town should be business-friendly and encourage the development. A real estate agent also claimed apartments are needed in the community.
Jerel T. Golub, president and CEO of Price Chopper Supermarkets, in a letter to the town board, said the project would bring “numerous direct and indirect benefits” and help the town remain a “progressive, forward thinking municipality.
Down to the numbers
The Fiscal Impact Analysis, which was submitted in September of 2011, said the project would add around $100,000 to the town tax rolls from the property’s assessed value as undeveloped. This did include the original proposal to build 38 more apartment units than what is now allowed, per condition of the Town Board.
The fiscal analysis, which Ingalls & Associates prepared on behalf of Wolanin, also determined if the property was developed for 35 single-family homes, the town tax rolls would see an overall increase of $5,000.
The analysis determined the effect on Guilderland Central School District holds a larger difference if the property was developed for single-family homes compared to apartments.
The apartment complex was projected to yield nearly $218,000 in school district tax revenue and cost the district around $91,500 for the new children entering. This would result in an overall tax revenue increase of around $125,000.
If the single-family homes were fully developed on the 22 acres, the tax revenue would increase $178,000, but the projected expenses to the district would total $320,000. This would result in a net loss of around $142,000.