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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, February 19, 2009
Concerns over storm-water runoff delay Dutchmen Acres again
By Anne Hayden
GUILDERLAND The town board’s concern over storm-water runoff into the Black Creek, which flows to the Watervliet Reservoir, Guilderland’s major source of drinking water, has delayed development of the Dutchmen Acres subdivision.
Developers Christopher and Gregg Meyer have been involved with the Dutchmen Acres project for over two years, and have gone before the town board and planning board three times. After each appearance, they have been asked to come back with revised plans.
The Feb. 17 Town Board meeting was no different; Supervisor Kenneth Runion’s concerns with the development’s proposed drainage system resulted in the Meyers’ withdrawal of their request for a zoning change. After some revisions, they will return before the town board. Only two people spoke at a public hearing on the proposed zoning change, with informative questions.
The proposed development would be built on School Road and part of Depot Road, across from Guilderland High School; its teams are called the Flying Dutchmen. The development would span close to 40 acres consist of 45 units: a 12-unit senior housing building, four twin residences, and 25 single residence carriage houses. The way the area is currently zoned, Rural Agricultural 3, only nine units would be allowed on the land. For this reason, the Meyers are seeking a zone change from RA-3 to Country Hamlet.
Country Hamlet zoning means the area should look rural, have multiple uses, and include walking paths. The town and planning boards previously requested the developers revise their original designs so that the buildings would blend in with the look of Guilderland Center. The design changes include placing garages to the back of the houses, attaching front porches to the buildings, leaving 75 percent of the land green, and building a recreation area with picnic tables and pavilions.
The developers have worked over the last two years to come up with designs that satisfy the concerns of the boards, and the one concern that still remains is the design and placement of the storm-water drainage system.
The property has a high spot in the middle, which drains to either side, Christopher Meyer told The Enterprise. Plans call for a central road to collect the water and pipe it into a detention area. The water would then be released into the Black Creek at a timed rate. Any solids, like dirt, grass, and pebbles, would have time to settle and be filtered out of the water before it reached the creek, Christopher Meyer said.
“From an engineering standpoint, as it’s been explained to me, the water flowing into the Black Creek from the development would be cleaner than it is now,” he said.
The drainage system would be maintained by a homeowner’s association, which Runion views as a potential problem. “My concern is that, if the proper maintenance isn’t performed on the system, contaminants could make their way fairly quickly to Black Creek,” he said. The responsibility would then fall on the town. Christopher Meyer shared the supervisor’s concerns, and said he had already spoken to the town’s highway superintendent in an attempt to find a better solution. In some municipalities, storm- water districts are formed, and residents are taxed to fund the maintenance, said Meyer. He would like to see this possibility looked into for his development.
Runion is still not convinced that the development is a good idea for the town, even if a solution for drainage system maintenance is found.
“We can’t afford to make mistakes when we are dealing with environmental and drinking water concerns,” he said. Right now, the detaining pond is too close to the creek, Runion said, but he will wait to see what the developers present at the next meeting.
“I think everyone would like to see the project go as fast as possible, but I do understand the other side of things, and the town’s need to protect the residents. It’s all part of the give and take process,” said Meyers, who would like to come before the board again as soon as he comes up with a drainage system solution.
In other business at the Feb. 17 meeting, the board unanimously voted to:
Approve the request of Store Away at Guilderland, LLC to locate an entry sign within the right of way of Wagner Road;
Approve authorization for the highway department to go out to bid for various items and materials for 2009; and
Approve memorandums of agreement between the town and the paramedics and police departments to cut overtime and use compensatory time. (For the full story, go to the Feb. 12 archives for Guilderland at www. altamontenterprise.com.)