There was not much new information presented on Wolanin Companies proposed luxury apartment complex at a recent planning board meeting, but some neighbors opposed to the project said they felt their interests were being sidelined.
The Guilderland Planning Board on Wednesday, May 14, heard an update on the site plan for a 210-unit apartment project behind 1700 Apartments in the hamlet of Westmere. A month ago, the Guilderland Town Board approved rezoning the 22-acre property from Single-Family Residential to Planned United Development District but included several conditions aimed at addressing neighbors’ concerns.
Check out the traffic impact study for Wolanin’s apartment complex proposal at our blog entry.
It was not enough for some neighbors who urged Planning Board members to not overlook them. Board members allowed public comments, even though there was not a public hearing.
Daniel Pfoltzer, of 8 Janet Lane, said traffic issues are “anything but settled.” Pfoltzer said there could be an increase in auto accidents resulting from the project.
“This is a foreseeable thing that can be corrected now, but if you don’t do it, the town is on notice that it will be sued and Mr. Wolanin will be sued,” Pfoltzer said. “We will take whatever action is necessary to make our community safe, and we are not going to be railroaded by this board at all.”
He also said the developer’s traffic study was not properly done. The study, which is posted on www.spotlightnews.com, determined the project would have “no significant degradations in level of service” to adjacent intersections.
“We want to see you fighting for the citizens of our community on our side of the fence to make sure we’re safe,” Pfoltzer said.
Pfoltzer said he wanted to see documentation of the state Department of Transportation and Albany County signing off on the study.
“I don’t want to end up in an accident … because they want to ramrod this thing through, or you want to ramrod this thing through because you want to make him nice and happy,” Pfoltzer said.
Board Chairman Stephen Feeney said only “substantive comments” should be given.
“No one is here to railroad anything,” Feeney said.
Yu-Jen Fan, who lives at the end of Newman Road, echoed Pfoltzer’s remarks and said residents have not seen the traffic study.
Before going to press, the study was not posted on the town’s website, but residents could view it in person at Town Hall. Spotlight News had filed a Freedom of Information Law request to view the study.
The traffic study was submitted in March 2011 and revised April 4, 2012. The developer said a new study was not needed because it had projected in the future. The state DOT and county have jurisdictions on the highway.
“We don’t believe this study because we live in this community,” Fan said.
Feeney said typically if the entity with jurisdiction over a road signs off, the town is satisfied.
Fan also said the buffer is only 100 feet from his property line to an apartment building property and not the 200 feet similar to surrounding neighbors. His home is roughly 30 feet from his property line.
Some board members said 100 feet is a significant distance for a buffer, but Feeney said the board would consider his concerns.
“If that is bermed and screened, that is quite a distance,” Feeney said.
Fan said he bought his home for the privacy it offered, and the project would take that away from him.
“If you don’t consider your residents, this project will not go through, believe it or not,” Fan said. He said the project would be approved “over our dead bodies.”
Pfoltzer accused Feeney of doing “a little back work,” or “a little something going on behind the scenes.”
Feeney said the only conversation he has had with developers outside of meetings was recently walking the site with the town-designated engineer for the project.
“To suggest anything else, I find very inappropriate,” Feeney said. “To suggest to somehow we have some sort of back dealings is completely inappropriate.”