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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 22, 2009

Traffic-flow changes suggested for Dutchmen acres
Parked commercial truck riles residents

By Jo E. Prout

GUILDERLAND — McKownville residents complained to the planning board here last week, after their trouble with a new neighbor’s commercial truck went unsettled with other town officials, they said. The planning board, however, quietly noted town code and left the new residents to finish unpacking.

The board also suggested traffic-flow changes to the proposed Dutchmen Acres development on Depot Road and School Road near the high school in Guilderland Center.

New McKownville residents Dennis and Kelly Mason applied for a site plan to run a home inspection service out of their bedroom on Western Avenue. Dennis Mason has no employees, he said.

“I go to my clients. My clients don’t go to me,” he said.

His standard request for a home business was stalled when members of the McKownville neighborhood association complained about Mason’s Ford F-150 truck that is parked in their driveway.

Don Reeb, president of the association, said that he was “strongly opposed” to Mason’s site plan if his commercial truck would be parked in the driveway.

“It makes the property decidedly look not like a residence,” Reeb said.

The Masons said that, after a house fire, they bought the Western Avenue property in August, and moved in in September. Within a week, they received a letter from the town about the truck, which has commercial plates and lettering on the sides, they said. Their home is in a residential area zoned for minimal 10,000-square-foot properties.

Town code does not allow commercial trucks to be openly parked in residential neighborhoods, town planner Jan Weston said. The vehicles must be stored or parked elsewhere, she said.

The Masons said that they would remove the commercial plates and lettering. Reeb said that the truck had been there for three months, and he said that granting the request would be “taking too much on faith.”

Planning board Chairman Stephen Feeney, who said that he also drives an F-150 vehicle, told the audience that code enforcement was not the board’s job.

“They’re in front of us to present this issue,” Feeney said of the home-business use.

He said that the Masons moved in five weeks ago. Board member Terry Coburn said that items can take two weeks to get on the planning board docket.

“I’d say that was pretty reasonable,” Feeney said about the time frame.

The board sent its approval of the Masons’ request to the zoning board of appeals, with the condition that no commercial vehicle be stored on-site, or outside of a garage.

Dutchmen Acres

The board offered developer Chris Meyer suggestions on creating a through-road in his proposed 34-acre housing subdivision on Depot Road. Gregg and Chris Meyer, and their co-owner Rob Kohler, requested “country hamlet” zoning for this development over a year ago. The proposal already has site-plan approval.

The project is for 25 single-family homes at School Road, eight town homes, and a 12-unit senior apartment building. The latest plan included a cul-de-sac with barricades at the end to prevent a short-cut away from the nearby high school.

The board offered a plan sketched by Feeney that would eliminate the barricades.

“It’s a much safer condition to have a road that goes through,” Feeney said.

He suggested the elimination of the barricades and the addition of three more houses on School Road, which is County Route 202.

“If the county won’t allow it…it’s their call,” Feeney said.

The board also disliked the placement of a recreation area away from the homes, and a strip of open space behind backyards, making a path to the recreation area.

Board member Paul Caputo asked Meyer to provide numbers from a traffic study for Depot Road.

Residents said that nearby Nielson Road is already used as a hangout for high-school students, and that they did not want a connecting road built there. Weston said that the connection would only be for pedestrians, and not cars.

“It’s just good planning to connect neighborhoods,” she said.

“If we don’t provide it, kids make their own way,” Coburn said.

Another resident complained that the Black Creek near the proposed project cannot take more water.

Meyer said that the design may lessen the amount of water in the area and improve the water quality because of the sediment basins proposed in the project.

Other business

In other business, the planning board:

— Approved a request by Veli Hysenllari of 49 Fliegel Avenue to split the .21-acre parcel into two lots. The request needs an area variance because the zoning there is now R-15, with minimal 15,000-square-foot lots, Feeney said. The new lots are similar to the neighborhood and have public water and sewer, he said; and

— Recommended to the zoning board of appeals the site plan submitted by Rich Leininger of 23 Hite Court to house a landscaping business at Leininger’s home, with all construction vehicles to be housed off-site.

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