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Town Board Minutes 04/18/2000

                        LIZ ORZEL KASPER                COUNCILWOMAN
                        LUKE J. SMITH                   SUPERVISOR

                        WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN      COUNCILMAN
        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Paul Briggs, Deputy Town Attorney; Charles Goldstock, Deputy Zoning Officer; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; and Darryl Ostrander, Deputy Police Chief.

        A public hearing was held to discuss a Special Use Permit for 3000 Troy Road.  
The building will be maintained in its existing configuration.  Improvements will be made such as painting, landscaping improvements, paving the rear parking lot, and adding additional green space to the parking lot.  They will add 10’ to the west side at Riverview and are adding green space to the south side to the adjoining property that is in the commercial zone.  The result is 30-35’ of actual green space between the road pavement and the new parking lot.  A low fence (split rail) will be installed, and they are proposing additional trees planted along the fence. Along the rear property, they will plant 10-12 pine trees, five to six feet in height.  The rear property currently contains a number of 40’ high trees.  The low trees will help screen the building’s activity.  
They are also reducing the number of parking spaces.  The Board requested that the decorative metal ornamentations currently on the building could be cut off or painted.  The dumpster will be housed within a stockade fence in the back corner of the property.  
        One or two meetings per month could be held after hours by the Board of Director of about 15 to 25 members from either 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  
No recommendation has been made to the Town Board as yet as the status of Vantage Management as a professional organization.  No other groups will be using the facility during the day or evening.  They are requesting a special use permit for professional use for the building, which would allow the applicant and owner to be able to lease unused portions to other professional groups.
        The Attorney for the applicant remarked that the River Rats Corporation was a tenant in the building which no one is claiming is a professional organization.  The management company is run by a consulting engineer.

        Peter Zeltins, 1828 Union Street, understood that Vantage Management was not a professional use and would be vacating the building. Supervisor Smith remarked that Richard Harris would be making a recommendation to the Town Board, which the Board would review.  

        Stella Pasture, 975 Riverview Road, stated that as a neighbor of the building in question, she felt confident that the Town would uphold its own zoning laws.  She has attended 50 or more meetings regarding her commercial neighbors since 1978.  Riverview Road is a residential street and is the access into the Birchwood area with mature trees, deep lots, and lovely homes.  They are not in opposition of the use for this building, but are asking for help from the Board.  Upon granting variances, the ZBA mandated that buffers between properties be maximized; yet the plan suggests pointing eleven cars into the yard of 976 and 972 Riverview Road.  
        All lighting should be located away from the residential properties and kept centralized within their own parking lot.  It should be as low a wattage as possible and turned off at 8 p.m.  Previously lighting was installed improperly and the current proposal places lighting right on the property line of 976 Riverview.  
        The proposal shows paved islands with brightly colored yellow paint as parking space delineations.  They request raised curb islands landscape with lighting in the middle which will be much more pleasing to look at. The islands will break up the sea of pavement and will provide a logical space for lighting and will be able to be seen in winter.
        The Board is currently considering eliminating offices from the R-2 zone. They applaud this since they have lived with the problem of inserting businesses in residential neighborhoods and they have made numerous concessions such as no parking in front of their own home.  They asked the Boards help to protect the residential character of their neighborhood.

        Patty Waterfield, 978 Riverview Road, welcomed the new owners of the building.  The row of tall trees is right on the property line of her backyard.  She requested a 10’ buffer between the parking and her yard instead of a five-foot buffer.  She is afraid that the new pines will kill the huge trees already existing.  Branches from these trees fall often and if a fence is installed the branches may damage the fence.  
        Parked cars will face directly into her back yard, rather than towards the building or the side.  She is also afraid that people will park in the green space under the shade of the trees.  She has asked for concrete blocks to keep cars from pulling onto the green space.  
        Councilwoman Kasper commented that when the new trees take root, if eventually the older trees die, it is because they are ready to die anyway.  The tall trees are already getting thinner.  

        Sally Lester, 2451 Troy Road, would like to see this project go through and hoped the neighbor’s wishes can be accommodated.  

        David Pasture, 975 Riverview Road, reminded the Board that the action they take would effect the residential neighborhood.  He distributed drawings to the Board of a revised plan which showed a 10’ buffer on the rear parking lot next to 976 Riverview.  He did not think a buffer of 5’ was large enough to plant trees and park a vehicle right up to it especially when snow is piled up in the buffer area.  He asked for lighting inside curbed islands and sees no reason why this could not be done.   
        He requested that lights be turned off at 8 p.m. so residents do not see the parking lot lights.  Mr. Pasture read from the zoning ordinance that anything within 10’ of the boundaries of the premises shall be equipped with barriers located so as to confine vehicles.  He would like to see curbs along Riverview just as the zoning ordinance states.  
        He showed the Board various renderings of previous proposals for parking which were inappropriate because they resulted in dead ends inside the parking lot.  He also showed many variances and waivers that have been granted.  
        He described the change of zone discussed in 1996 for 3000 and 3010 Troy Road from R-2 to C-O.  3010 Troy Road extends to the of back of 976 and 972 Riverview Road.  If the zone is changed to General Business, this will change the property that extends behind these two residential homes, which can then be made into a parking lot.  If the zone is changed, if these two parcels aren’t protected, it will leave these two homeowners vulnerable.  
        Supervisor Smith confirmed that Mr. & Mrs. Pasture and Mrs. Waterfield were supportive of the project but held strong opinions about what would make the project more acceptable with the neighbors. He noted that the new owner has been very gracious throughout the process wanting to do what they could to cooperate with the neighbors.   
        At this time, Mr. Mericle’s real estate representative appeared and described the history of the property and the current transaction.  Mr. Mericle made adjustments in the site plan in order to benefit residents in the neighborhood.  This is the ninth meeting on this topic with two more in the future.  The process has taken three months and even the residents want this use at this site. The union has agreed to many of the residents concerns.  The Town Planning Board has dictated certain things that the union has to do that some of the residents are not too happy with such as lighting and paving. He encouraged the Board to act quickly.  

        Upon motion of Supervisor Smith, which was seconded by Councilwoman Kasper, the minutes of the regular meeting of April 4 (with one correction) was approved by the Board.


        Peter Zeltins, 1828 Union Street, spoke about the possibility of offices being taken out of the R-2 district.  He is concerned about Union Street between Balltown Road and the city line.  Union Street has been zoned and rezoned and been granted variances.  There are about 12 homes left and now the Planning Board suggests that offices be taken out when no one asked to have offices taken out of R-2 on Union Street and suggested that professional offices not be taken out of this area.  If it is taken out it will devalue the properties and suggested alternate zoning.  
        Mr. Zeltins inquired about an agenda item that hired certain persons for temporary work in the Parks Department.  He believed there was no such thing as the Parks Department.  It is his opinion that all employees are Highway employees under the jurisdiction of the Highway Superintendent.
        Comptroller Paul Sebesta reported that Frank Gavin holds a second title of Superintendent of Parks and by funding Parks the Town is acknowledging expenses specific for Parks. Supervisor Smith noted that this method gives the Town Board a method to track parkland expenses.  

        Sally Lester, 2451 Troy Road, inquired about the Union Street signs she had asked about some time ago.  Supervisor Smith will follow up with the state.
In answer to her inquiry about the cleaning of the Recreation Center, the Town is adjusting a contract with a cleaning service.  The new contract will state two nights per week at six hours per night.  Councilwoman Kasper added that they are doing an excellent job.  On a temporary basis, a town employee did the work during the day but not enough time was available from his work with Sewer and Water.  The cleaning needs to be performed at night.

        Each of the following resolutions  was approved with a vote of three ayes (with Councilman Horton and Chapman absent).

        Resolution 2000-101, authorized attendance at various conferences and registration fees for Richard Keller, Timothy Nagell, Ronald Chinski, Lawrence Colleton at a cost of $30 each; Rachael Woodley at $50, Mark Sollohub at $100, Helen Kopke at $50, and Frank Gavin at $ 65, plus necessary travel expenses.

        Resolution 2000-102, modified compensation, during times of absence of head recycling cashier only, for recycling attendants at the Transfer Station;  Eugene Silvano, James Zenner, David Vandenburgh, and Joseph LeVielle to $10/hour.

        Resolution 2000-103, authorizes the purchase of two Crown Victoria Police cars from Warnock Fleet & Leasing, at a cost of $20,919.65 each.

        Resolution 2000-104, calls for a public hearing for May 2 at 7 p.m. to consider the application of Gerald Brescia to allow the use of a building at 1756 Union Street as a medical and non-medical professional office.

        Resolution 2000-105, calls for a public hearing for May 2 at 7:05 p.m. to consider the application of Victor Caponera, Jr., as agent for Kindercare Learning Centers, to allow the construction of a 10,563 square foot day care facility at 1440 Balltown Road.

        Resolution 2000-106, appoints temporary seasonal laborers in the Parks Department, effective immediately, at hourly rates ranging from $7 to $8/hour.

        Resolution 2000-107, appoints additional persons in the Recreation Department, at hourly rates ranging from $5.15 to $6.00.

        Resolution 2000-108, authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a revised agreement for cleaning services with Halvorsen Cleaning, on a monthly basis, at a cost of $90 per cleaning, not to exceed $180 per week, retroactive to March 13, 2000 and retain their services on an as-needed basis at an hourly rate of $15.

        There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned by the Supervisor.


                                                Helen F. Kopke, Town Clerk

One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
Phone: (518) 386-4500 Fax: (518) 386-4592 | Hours: M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.