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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 5, 2011

Worries over flooding delay re-zone for new condo development

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — A proposed mixed-age condominium development on West Old State Road has neighbors worried about stormwater drainage problems.

The 22-acre parcel is owned by Carver Realty, which is hoping to construct a 17-building, 68-unit development, called Lynwood Square, on 21 acres. The property, which used to be a farm, would need to be re-zoned from “rural agricultural” to “multiple residence” before the project could move forward.

During a two-hour public hearing before the town board on Tuesday, Donald Zee, an attorney representing the developer, said the stormwater drainage problems that exist in the area would be improved by the project, because the proposal includes a four-million gallon retention pond to hold stormwater.

Residents living along West Old State Road, Carman Road, and other neighboring streets, said they would rather see the drainage problems fixed before the development project is given approval.

Those who spoke in opposition said that, philosophically, they had no problems with a housing development being built on the property. Their concerns were solely physically — water problems in an area where basements frequently flood.

Amedore Homes had planned a development on the same property in 2008, and, during discussions with the town board, a local law was proposed to establish stormwater management districts for all new major subdivisions in town. The bill outlined a system in which a stormwater management district in a subdivision would be a town entity, and would clarify who would maintain a retaining pond or catch basin.

The developer of a new subdivision would be required to pay a fee up front, directly after the first building permit was issued. Prices of homes in subdivisions with stormwater management districts would be raised slightly to make up for the developer’s initial payment, and homeowners in the subdivision would be charged an annual fee to their tax bill.

At the time the local law was proposed, Supervisor Kenneth Runion said he hoped that the establishment of stormwater management districts would eliminate the need for the town to cover repair costs, because the money provided by the developer and homeowners would be readily available.

Amedore Homes objected to the stormwater management districts because of the initial fee. The local law was voted down by the town board, and Amedore Homes eventually pulled out of the project.

Zee, however, said that Carver Realty would be willing to pay an initial fee if the town wanted to re-consider the local law to create stormwater management districts. He said the developer also had two other options for handling drainage. The first would be drafting a condominium declaration, stating that a condominium association would be responsible for stormwater maintenance, which would be filed with the county clerk. 

The second would be to establish two separate systems: The town would be responsible for stormwater drainage off-site of the project, and the condominium association would maintain a retention pond for the drainage of water on-site.

“We understand that we have to do something with the water,” said Zee.

The town board decided to continue the public hearing on another date; all board members and the supervisor agreed that more research is necessary to find solutions to stormwater drainage, as well as potential traffic problems.

“We can’t approve a housing project because it may or may not solve a problem. We can’t rely on the good intentions of the developer,” said Runion.

Other business

At the town board meeting on Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to:

— Set a public hearing for May 17 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the renewal of a franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable;

— Authorize the supervisor to sign an easement to Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and Verizon Inc. for utility placement along French’s Mill Road;

— Authorize the supervisor to sign an agreement with the State University of New York for sewer services for the Liberty Place student apartments and athletic facility;

— Authorize the department of water and wastewater management to go out to bid for annual emergency grout and seal, sewer line, CCTV, and manhole repair for 2011;

— Award bids for sale of surplus equipment from the department of water and wastewater management;

— Allow the highway department to donate surplus equipment to the Altamont Fair Museum;

— Release the remaining escrow of $700 for town designated engineering services to David Button in regard to the construction of a single-family home at 34 Pinewood Road; and,

— Authorize the supervisor to sign an annual renewal service contract with Technical Building Services for Guilderland Town Hall.

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