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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 2, 2009

Cluster development planned for Voorheesville

By Philippa Stasiuk

VOORHEESVILLE — A 23-acre parcel of land on Maple Avenue will eventually be the site of a new cluster- style housing development in the village.

According to Glenn Hebert of Voorheesville’s building department, the development will entail nine double-unit buildings on a single street for a total of 18 new housing units. The units will be connected to the village’s sewer system.

Hebert said that, while the owner is Claude Rodrigue, of CR Drywall in the village, he is considering selling the property to a developer instead of developing it himself. Mayor Robert Conway confirmed that the property may be sold prior to development and added that there is nothing unusual in doing so.

“To borrow a phrase from the stimulus package, it’s shovel-ready at that point,” said Conway. “A developer can come in and basically start in on a project without having to go through the process of permitting and planning.”

Rodrigue did not return phone calls from The Enterprise seeking comment.

The village board unanimously approved the plan for property in April after an engineer from Barton and Loguidice reviewed the stormwater report submitted by Rodrigue. The property contains a federal wetland, which will mean the eventual involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers. The corps’ job will be to minimize the impact of development to the wetland, as mandated by the Clean Water Act.

In a cluster development, houses are grouped together on a portion of the available land, while reserving a significant amount of the site as protected open space. Jerry Gordinier, who worked with Rodrigue in planning the property prior to his retirement from the village’s building department, spoke to The Enterprise about the advantages of developing the site as a cluster development.

“The zoning law can be set aside and the developer and the planning commission exchange a wish list of how they’d like that property developed,” said Gordinier. “But the municipality gets the last word in. It’s a fantastic way to negotiate the development of a piece of property.”

By opting to design the Rodrigue property as a cluster development, the amount of land being developed is decreased and the housing units will be built on smaller lots. According to Gordinier, 70 percent of the property will be designated as “forever wild” and will be eventually turned over to the care of the village.

Designs for the property also include both a retention pond and a rain garden. The retention pond will be built to hold and filter water before it flows downhill to the Vly Creek. The rain garden will be created to capture water runoff from roofs and driveways in order to stop pollutants in the water from reaching the Vly Creek. For more information on rain gardens online, go to the Enterprise’s archives at www.altamontenterprise.com for April 30, 2009 under the Home and Garden Section.

Conway said that the specs for the cluster development, including the retention pond and rain garden, would be kept no matter who ultimately develops the property.

“The planning process has been open and the neighbors have been involved,” he said. “It’s irrelevant to them whether Claude develops the property or another builder develops as long as the basic premise of development is the same.”

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