Concern continues with Route 146A project
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. » A revised proposal to subdivide a parcel on Route 146A for residential housing drew neighborhood opposition last week much as the original application did in August.
In comments before the Planning Board at a Nov. 13 public hearing, residents living near the land and members of the Friends of Clifton Park Open Space expressed their displeasure with the project and their opposition to the possibility that approval would negate years of work restricting residential development in the western part of town.
Developer Ryan Boni is seeking approval to build two single family homes on a 13 acre parcel on the south side of Route 146A.
The site is west of Blue Spruce Landscaping and Nursery and across the road from the road’s intersection with Legends Way. The land is zoned Conservation-Residential (CR).
Adding a bit of confusion to the application is a proposal by Boni to dedicate a separate, seven acre parcel to Saratoga P.L.A.N. The seven acres are included in the total acreage but not adjacent to the other parcels that make up the project.
The seven acres are necessary to meet the town’s open space requirements for residential development in western Clifton Park.
In August Boni appeared before the Planning Board seeking conceptual approval only for a plan to build two duplexes on the site. The board rejected the concept with Chairman Rocco Ferraro saying he could not support the subdivision of the lot for two duplexes because it was “contrary to the objectives of the Open Space Plan and the Land Conservation Plan.”
Subsequently, Boni has revised the plan, eliminated the duplexes, and appeared before the Planning Board last week seeking approval to build two single family homes.
Nearly 40 residents living on Legends Way joined with members of the Friends of Clifton Park Open Space at the Nov. 13 public hearing to oppose the project.
In a statement from the environmental group, read into the record by member Raymond Seymour, the Friends group stated their opposition to relaxing the building standards in a CR zone and the Western Clifton Park Design Guidelines.
“The builder is again requesting an exception to the minimum lot size and the open space setaside requirements of this district,” Seymour said.
Seymour then went on to question the lack of public benefits, whether Saratoga P.L.A.N. has agreed to take the seven acre parcel, the parcel’s wetland delineations, and the possibility of increased noise from a nearby railroad should Boni clear cut the land.
“Friends will continue to speak as a guardian for the hard-fought and long-held public opinion that Western Clifton Park should expect the enforcement of the protections outlined in the Conservation Residential Zoning Code and the Western Clifton Park Design Guidelines enumerated in that
code,” he said.
Residents living on Legends Way took issue with the project also and expressed them to the board as part of the meeting. Their spokesman Matt Weber handed the board a petition signed by 150 residents opposing the project.
In speaking to the Planning
Board Weber noted that building two homes on the site puts two families at risk due to the nearness of the railroad.
“This project violates the Town Code’s CR Zoning restrictions and the Western Clifton Park Design Guidelines,” he said. “There’s only a half- acre of buildable land available. These (homes) are not applicable with settlement patterns in the area. We don’t see how this complies with the code for low density housing.”
Speaking after Weber was his wife Christian who seconded her husband’s remarks that the project is in default of meeting the town’s codes and guidelines. She added that the “collective opposition” of residents is willing to purchase the land at fair market value.
Other residents who spoke agreed with the Webers and expressed concern the project would decrease the value of their homes. Melissa Boisvert echoed Seymour’s request that a noise study be done.
“The moment you take down a single tree you are impacting us,” she told the board. “We are asking for a quality of life for our children and I don’t think that’s too much to ask of the builder or the board. All we’re asking for is that a noise study be done.”
During board members’ comments many agreed with Boisvert that a noise study be done of the site.
“As a board we need more evidence that there’s a noise issue out there,” said board member Eric Ophardt.
“The neighbors can hear the trains now,” said fellow board member Jeffery Jones. “What will be the impact when the trees are gone?”
Before ordering the Planning Department to have a noise study done on the site, Planning Board Chairman
Ferraro answered a lingering question posed by Seymour as to public benefits.
“There is a public benefit here,” Ferraro said. “There are seven acres that would be developed otherwise.”
Some in the room privately questioned that remark believing the parcel to be landlocked.
The Planning Board now has 60 days to take action on the application.
Clifton Park resident Matt Weber makes a point to the town Planning Board on his opposition to a project planned for Route 146A