DELMAR — Two weeks after denying one developer’s request to waive its moratorium the Bethlehem Town Board is considering an amendment to allow another plan to continue through the review process.
NRP Group’s site plan and subdivision application was under the planning board’s review when the town passed its 12-month moratorium last December, halting the developer’s plans for a full year. With the planning board unable to continue its review of the developer stands to lose tax credit financing, which can’t be extended beyond this December.
NRP Group plans to build 72 affordable housing units at 939 Route 9W, south of Jericho Drive In and across the street from Elmwood Cemetery in Selkirk. The project is to provide housing for households earning incomes in the range of $20,000 to $56,000. Rents will range from $500 to $1,400 per month for apartments that vary between one and three bedrooms. The need for affordable housing was identified in a report the town commissioned in 2019.
In the report, the Capital District Regional Planning Commission stated how the average county resident would find it difficult to purchase or rent property in Bethlehem. It also stated that nearly half (47.9 percent) of renters are “housing cost burdened.” The term means that more than 30 percent of a household’s income goes to rent.
Of the applications held up by the town’s moratorium, only NRP Group’s addresses affordable housing. With the developer under threat of losing tax credits and jeopardizing the plan altogether, the town is considering the exception.
“Given the time sensitive nature of the awarded affordable housing tax credits and the need to address affordable housing in the town, staff recommends an amendment to the moratorium,” wrote Director of Planning Robert Leslie to the town board.
This Wednesday, the town board will deliberate over the probable amendment before pushing it to the planning board for review. Should that happen, it will set into motion a series of steps that includes a public hearing Wednesday, May 12 and the town board’s ultimate decision on Wednesday, May 26.
The board’s discussion over a possible amendment falls two weeks after it denied Michaels Group Homes’ request to waive the law that is restricting a residential development it first submitted to the town in 2017. The developer, who has a long history of building residential developments in Bethlehem, including Colonial Acres, Chadwick Square, Brookhill, Walden Fields, Newell Place and Bender Farms, is trying to build 87 lots on 57 acres of land owned by Carol Northrup off Selkirk’s Elm Avenue.