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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 20, 2011

Fletcher Road residents distressed over downed trees

By Jo E. Prout

GUILDERLAND — Area builder Veli Hysenllari received court appearance tickets last week, after failing to file for the proper permits for clearing and developing nearly six acres at 49 Fletcher Road. Incensed neighbors attended the planning board meeting last Wednesday to protest Hysenllari’s application to subdivide the land, but the board tabled the application.

The planning board also approved the site plan of the redesigned 20 Mall into Hamilton Square.

No clear cutting

The planning board defended itself against an angry crowd protesting Hysenllari’s inclusion on the agenda.

“We’re tabling it because of the court hearing,” Chairman Stephen Feeney told the crowd. “The applicant is in violation of the town code. It’s a town court matter now. We’re not even going to hear the application.”

Feeney’s protests did not please the crowd, who complained that Hysenllari had the property clear cut.

“I heard the sound of a saw in July,” said one neighbor. Trees were dropping by August, she said.

“There’s no clear-cutting,” Building Inspector and Zoning Inspector Donald Cropsey told The Enterprise this week. “The owner of the property hired someone to log the property. A logging company went in there and logged it.

“He didn’t submit an erosion and sediment control plan,” Cropsey continued. Cropsey said that Hysenllari had submitted an informal plan for the property, but not the proper application and its fee.

Hysenllari also failed to submit a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, known as a SWPPP, Cropsey said. A SWPPP is required if a property owner disturbs more than an acre of land, which Hysenllari did, Cropsey said. 

At the meeting, some in the crowd of 40 expressed disbelief that the planning board was unaware of the tickets issued to Hysenllari.

“We found out just before this meeting,” said board member Thomas Robert. “We don’t work for the town. We’re people who are appointed to the board.”

“We’re not the enforcement body of the town,” Feeney said. “The best thing we can do is stop the process in front of us.”

Members of the crowd wondered why the application was tabled, rather than denied.

“Some applications can move forward,” said board member Michael Cleary. Board members agreed that the board has a duty to consider the subdivision request.

Members of the Hysenllari family could not be reached for comment.

20 Mall

The planning board approved the site plan review for the Lia family’s application to redevelop 20 Mall with a new parking and traffic circulation layout, the relocation of a bank, the expansion of Gold’s Gym, and the addition of a drive-through restaurant. 

In her comments about the proposal, Town Planner Jan Weston called the project a “vast improvement to the existing mall.”

Neighboring Star Plaza owner Savas Ermides asked the planning board to refuse the Lias’ application. Star Plaza is located at the intersection of Routes 155 and 20; the 20 Mall is just to the west of Star Plaza on Route 20.

“This is an overbuild from day one,” Ermides said, referring to 45 years of growth in the adjacent plaza. “I want 20 Mall to prosper, but not at my expense.”

The new plan eliminates a stairwell between the two plazas, and includes a fence between the properties. Ermides said that the reconfiguration would create competition for parking at Star Plaza and the newly-named Hamilton Square plaza.

“We ask that this be denied,” Ermides said.

20 Mall must receive state Department of Transportation approval, identify potential park-and-ride locations on the plan, and provide a SWPPP, the board said.

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