COLONIE — A senior housing project on Everett Road moved forward last week when the Planning Board accepted the concept of its site plan.
The three-story, 113-unit housing project was earlier in the process scaled down from four stories and 153 units and will have 168 parking spots — in garages and open. It was granted a zoning change from Neighborhood Commercial Office Residential to a Planned Development District to allow more residential density.
All permitted PDDs come with a public benefit fee and this case it is $308,000, of which up to $250,000 will be spent on a study and potential mitigation of persistent flooding in a nearby West Albany neighborhood. Up to $58,000 is earmarked for water main improvements along Duffy Lane, which will be used to access the site. If there is any money left it is slated to be spent on parks, streets, sidewalks in West Albany and a contribution to the town’s Local Development Authority.
The Town Board will have the final say in how the money is spent. The initial offer by the developer, Crisafulli Associates, was $250,00, it was countered by $357,000 and the $308,000 was agreed upon.
The majority of public comment to this point in the process has revolved around the size of the project, flooding in a West Albany neighborhood off Everett Road and using the residential Duffy Lane as an alternate access to Everett Road.
“I’m asking the board to take another look at the access on Duffy. I feel the traffic being generated will cause an issue on Exchange Street,” said Scott Carey, the only member of the public who spoke on Tuesday, Nov. 10. “If you stay away from Duffy, maybe the community would feel a little better about having such a large project in their back yard. If you eliminate Duffy Lane it is separate and the people may be more acceptable to the project.”
The logic behind using Duffy Lane is to allow drivers access to Exchange Street and the traffic light at Everett Road in order to more safely and easily take a left on to the heavily trafficked thoroughfare.
As for flooding along Cobee Lane and Richmond, Corning and Sumpter streets, Joe Grasso, the Town Designated Engineer for the senior housing project, said the development will not have any impact, positive or negative.
At issue, he said, is storm water from an 1,800-acre area — not all in the Town of Colonie — that channels water to a 4-foot by 5-foot, box-type culvert that runs under I-90 and the railroad tracks, into the Patroon Creek and eventually into the Hudson River.
On the surface, it would appear making the culvert larger would ease the flooding but the fact it goes under a highway and the railroad tracks makes it not an easy project and it would just funnel more water into the Patroon Creek causing issues there.
There was a study done some eight years ago that focused on just the culvert, but he said a regional approach is necessary and should include a large catch basin on Russell Road that collects storm water from the area.
The senior housing project will need to return to the Planning Board at least one more time for a final site plan review before construction can begin.
The 10 acres of land located near the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post was zoned Neighborhood Commercial Office Residential, which would allow a much larger commercial development. Dan Hershberg, the engineer shepherding the project through the planning process on behalf of Crisafulli, said a 180,000-square-foot medical arts building was explored but it would have generated a much larger volume of traffic and there is more of a need for affordable senior housing.
The apartments will be targeted to those 55 and older and a one bedroom will be in the $1,500 to $1,550 range while two bedroom units will rent for about $2,000, Michael Crisafulli previously told the Planning Board.