DELMAR — Town Board members were expected to vote on a proposed amendment to the 12-month development moratorium enacted last December, but that was left off the agenda on Wednesday, May 26.
Two weeks ago, the Town Board listened to nearly 90 minutes of public comment overwhelmingly against the idea of allowing a proposed affordable housing project to proceed through the review process now denied by other developers until the end of the year.
“At the end of the public hearing, all of our Town Board members in attendance said they were not in support of the amendment,” said Town Supervisor David VanLuven. “So, I did not put it on tonight’s agenda for a vote.”
The amendment was drafted last month to address a 72-unit affordable housing plan proposed off of Route 9W in Selkirk, within the Ravena Coeymans Selkirk school district.
Those who spoke out at the Town Board meeting on Wednesday, May 12, often prefaced their opposition to the project by acknowledging the need for affordable housing in town. However, they all pointed to several factors to which they felt the particular proposal appeared inadequate — lack of public transportation, no walkability, and its distance away from grocery stores.
Following the announcement that the amendment was no longer under consideration for a vote, the Town Board proceeded to hear nearly a half-hour of comments from residents in favor of the amendment. The contrasting voices from two weeks mirrored an observation from Town Board member Dan Coffey.
Coffey, who shared two weeks ago that “100 percent” of the emails the Town Board received was against the proposed amendment, later received “numerous” messages in favor.
“While it was true when I said it [two weeks ago], we have received numerous comments in favor of affordable housing,” he said.
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.
The town was identified as a housing opportunity area by New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal due to its high-performing school districts and as an area experiencing economic growth, which attracted the project to locate in the town.
NRP Group’s site plan and subdivision application was under the Planning Board’s review when the Town passed the moratorium last December, halting the developer’s plans for a full year. The group expressed concern that the moratorium would strip away state financing set to expire at the end of the year.
However, VanLuven said that he and state Assemblyperson Pat Fahey confirmed through the state that grants would be extended to NRP Group beyond December.
Town Highway’s $1.2M purchase plan
DELMAR — The Town Board unanimously approved the highway department’s request to purchase a list of vehicles and equipment — not to exceed $1.2 million.
The request from Highway Superintendent Marc Dorsey was explained in a memorandum to board members before the meeting. The money is to be drawn from the department’s Capital Reserve Fund.
The items include four new International/Navistar HV607 trucks. Two are listed as heavy duty plow and salt trucks. All four will be equipped to plow snow.