An apartment complex first proposed more than four years ago is moving forward in Guilderland after developers scaled back the proposal to 210 units.
The Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday, Feb. 4, approved holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, on the proposed rezoning of more than 20 acres behind Seventeen Hundred Designer Residences located at 1700 Western Ave. The property zoning would change from R-15 and R-20 residential districts to a Planned Unit Development District (PUD), which would change the allowable density from 1 unit per acre to 10.5 units per acre. The original proposal was scaled down from 248 units.
The Wolanin Companies Ltd. owns the property, along with the four-story, 96-unit apartment building the new development would be built behind.
Town Supervisor Ken Runion declined to offer his opinion on the proposal because he said he wants to hear residents’ reactions before weighing in.
“I want to listen to what people have to say at the public hearing,” Runion said.
He did note the original proposal stirred some debate, but the developer made changes to address concerns of the town and residents.
“How they originally proposed it, it was controversial, and they have made some changes to try to avoid some of the controversy,” Runion said. “I think they have listened to some of the comments and tried to accommodate those concerns.”
Runion said the apartments would be geared towards seniors and possibly nano-tech workers moving into the region.
“It has been in front of the Planning Board a couple of times,” Runion said.
The Guilderland Planning Board recommended the rezoning to the Town Board in a 5-1 vote, with James Cohen opposing, on May 23, 2012. Minutes from the meeting, posted on the town’s website, outlined several changes to the project.
More of the larger 32-unit buildings were added alongside a reduction of the smaller 10-unit buildings, which allowed for buildings to be 250 feet away from the property line on average. Previously, some buildings were within 100 feet of the line, which concerned neighboring residents.
An entranceway to the development was planned from Westmere Elementary School, but was eliminated in the revised plan. Drivers would primarily following traffic onto Route 20 and through the Town Center shopping plaza.
Some residents at the May 2012 Planning Board meeting expressed concerns over the traffic implications of the new apartments. Two residents also said they would rather see the land turned into a park, according to the minutes.
Runion said Price Chopper, located in Town Center, sent the town a letter indicating the company was looking into possible renovations and improvements at its store. The company expressed support for the apartment complex, which would require some changes to how its parking lot is configured.
Runion said a traffic study projected 70 percent of drivers from the development would head east, or take a right, onto Western Avenue.
The reduction of buildings also allowed for more green space, which totals around 65 percent of the property. Pavement usage is also reduced through underground parking at the development, according to Runion.