<strong>COLONIE \u2014<\/strong> The developers responsible for the apartments slated for the West Family portion of the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District have reached an agreement with the Shaker Heritage Society regarding how the historic land will be maintained going forward with the project.\r\n\r\nThe five buildings on that property, which are the 1827 Dwelling House, or the Bell House, the 1825 Brethren\u2019s Shop, the 1820s Granary, the barn and storage shed and the 1839 Wash House, are part of the 770-acre Watervliet Shaker National Historic District,\u00a0according to Starlyn D\u2019Angelo, executive director of the Shaker Heritage Society.\r\n\r\nGordon Commercial Development has plans to build 126 rental homes on the property at 957 Watervliet Shaker Road. The project, which will feature buildings that look similar to the other Shaker buildings on the property so as to keep the history intact, is still going through the approval process with the town planning board. Costs for the project were not immediately available, but Jared George, a spokesman for Gordon, has high hopes for the project.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re very anxious to get approval so we can start meeting with contractors,\u201d George said. \u201cIt\u2019s going to be a fun project.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Shaker Heritage Society in Colonie has been working closely with Gordon to find a way to best maintain the historical value of the area, while also preparing for the development. D\u2019Angelo said that they\u2019ve been providing historical expertise and support to Gordon, while working through the approval process. D\u2019Angelo said it requires a \u201cherculean\u201d effort to make sure the historical sites are preserved, and that she is astounded at the frequency at which cultural heritage is destroyed.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s the most historic site in Colonie, and we could even argue in the whole area,\u201d D\u2019Angelo said of the Shaker land. However, D\u2019Angelo conceded that if the land absolutely had to be used for development, the society would rather see it turned into something the community can benefit from, as opposed to office buildings.\r\n\r\nAll of the measures to maintain the Shaker land that Gordon Development will take going forward were outlined in a letter to the Colonie Planning Board. One provision says that Gordon will maintain the structural integrity of the five buildings on the property.\r\n\r\nGordon will not make modifications to any of the Shaker buildings prior to the project being reviewed by the Shaker Heritage Society. Around the new apartment complexes, Gordon will work with the heritage society to create signs that provide information about the Shaker buildings, and the developers will also be responsible for designing a path that links all the Shaker buildings. According to the letter, \u201cGordon will pay for content development (provided by SHS or a mutually agreed upon consultant), design, fabrication and installation of the signs. A specific project budget and timeline will be approved by SHS and Gordon.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe words \u201cShaker\u201d and \u201cWest\u201d will be included in the name of the new apartment buildings. There will also be a community garden.\r\n\r\nGordon will also allow the heritage society to go into the Shaker buildings on the land and document the current conditions of the structures using photographs and written descriptions. There will be limited public access to the historic buildings, and the society will have to contact Gordon a minimum of 30 days prior to any tour.\r\n\r\nD\u2019Angelo said that it is beneficial that Gordon is allowing the public access, however limited.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was really great to see that Gordon was able to work with us,\u201d D\u2019Angelo said.\r\n\r\nEven though D\u2019Angelo said that Gordon provided a lot of concessions, the society would have liked the continued ability to see the Shaker buildings from the road. Now, they will be blocked by the apartment buildings. The society has limited funds and, according to D\u2019Angelo, they will need more support from the community if they want to accomplish more preservation.\r\n\r\nMore information about the Shaker Heritage Society may be found at <a href="http:\/\/shakerheritage.org">shakerheritage.org<\/a>.