LATHAM — The Colonie Senior Service Center’s (CSSC) senior housing project proposed for 17 Elks Lane in Latham received final approval from members of the Town’s Planning Board during its April 5 meeting held at the Town’s Public Operations Center at 347 Old Niskayuna Road.
After spending several years navigating the approval process, CSSC expects to finally break ground this May. Initial planning began in 2006, when the organization began to set aside funds for preliminary development costs. CSSC informed town administrators of its plans in 2012 and negotiated an agreement to buy the site from the Elks.
“There is nothing like this offered in our community,” said Ed Neary, executive director of CSSC, an independent, community based non-profit serving the largest population of seniors in the Capital District. “We have market rate and subsidized apartments available, but there is a great need for those people who fall in the middle of the spectrum. That is why this affordable community is important, we must take care of those who cared for us.”
The site, which is a total of 14.2 acres next to the existing Elks Fraternal Lodge, is currently home to a ball field, a maintenance garage, a picnic area with a pavilion and gravel parking lot, and some sloped wooded area. The existing structures will be demolished and plans call for the construction of a new pavilions and maintenance building in a less exposed location. According to town records, the construction of the roughly 121,000-square-foot, three story building is expected to be completed in one phase.
Town residents who live on neighboring streets, such as Abedar Lane, have raised concerns throughout the lengthy application process that the project would reduce green space in their backyards and become the source of unwanted additional noise. As developers have listened to feedback and responded to recommendations made by the town, the project has matured and changes have been made to make it more appealing to neighbors as well as to the town—structures have been shifted, an emergency access road has been relocated and developers have agreed to preserve (or prune) certain wooded areas and open spaces, install a new water main and extend sidewalks in other areas of town as a general public benefit.
The senior living community will be composed of one and two bedroom apartments for seniors who may not be able to afford market rate senior housing or qualify for subsidized housing. The 96 apartment homes include heat and hot water in the rental price, as well as a media package to further help with household expenses.