AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 19th DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2002 AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, IN SAID TOWN, AT 7:00 P.M. THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:
HONORABLE LIZ ORZEL KASPER COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH SUPERVISOR
ABSENT RICHARD HOLT COUNCILMAN
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Darryl Ostrander, Deputy Police Chief; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer.
Public Hearing No. 1 – Change of zone for 2317 Balltown Road.
Councilman Chapman indicated that the applicant has asked that the zone be changed from R-2 to Residential Professional. Only two other properties in Town are professional offices in the R-2 zoning. Supervisor Smith remarked that the County Planning Department has reviewed this and deferred to the Town Board, and the Niskayuna Advisory Council indicated there was no identified impact. The Planning Board recommended that the zone change occur.
Michael McPartlon, a representative of the applicant, gave an overview of the request for a change of zone for this property. From a real estate value and financing standpoint, they would prefer to be a conforming use rather than a non-conforming use structure. They have no plans for expansion of this property and are built out at this time. The tenants are currently physicians offices.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, stated that the parking lot and driveway are lined up with Pawtucket Avenue. Other than the church, the nearest structures are residences. She felt that tonight’s presentation differed from the presentation to the Planning Board in the applicant’s pointing out their current inability to expand the building. She understood that a neighbor had been approached by the applicant, however, Mr. McPartlon declared this untrue and the organization has not approached anyone about purchasing land next to this building.
Public Hearing No. 2 – Consider a zone change for a parcel on Nott Street East
Councilman Chapman remarked that a zone change for this property had been before the Board before and the Board did not go forward at that time. The Conservation Advisory Council has given it a negative declaration. The Planning Board has recommended that the Town Board go forward and County Planning has deferred to local consideration.
Frank Fazio, a representative of C. T. Male Associates working for the developer Jeff Meyers gave an overview of the proposed project. A condominium development is proposed comprising four buildings located on Nott Street East located across from the high school entrance and St. James Square. Each building will house six units, four in front, two in the rear. They are requesting a zone change from R-1 low density to R-3 high density.
Regarding drainage, C. T. Male is representing this developer and the developer of the Inn. Currently, there is a 30” pipe underneath Nott Street that discharges to a swale and comes out into the large wetland next to the library. They propose to divert the flows from the 30” pipe down Nott Street and discharge to the wetland area. The water will travel to the same place it is going now but instead of going through backyards a line will be installed along Nott Street. They will reduce the drainage area from 23 acres to 6-1/2 to 7 acres. This will result in a decrease of flow through Van Antwerp Road backyards by 70% even with the flow from the condominium project and the Inn.
The developer expects a number of seniors and young professionals to be attracted to the condominiums. Each unit has one garage and one extra parking space. Extra spaces have been planned throughout the site for visitors. Association fees will cover snow removal and landscape maintenance.
The Planning Board is requiring that the drainage study be completed prior to site plan approval and will be reviewed by outside engineering. This will insure that they comply with the 70% reduction in flows.
Councilwoman Kasper recommended that the developer be required to put up a
$1 million bond that would be returned after the project is built and the drainage proves to be acceptable.
Irving B. Mickey, 1562 Van Antwerp Road, sent Supervisor Smith a letter expressing his opposition to the proposed condominiums siting draining problems and aesthetic considerations.
Rachael Matthews, Ray Street, inquired about a walking trail in the project. She had also hoped that the developer would keep as many of the large trees along Nott Street East as possible. The developer indicated that they would try and save the trees, however, it depends on where they locate the storm sewer. He also noted that there is a sanitary sewer line, water, and gas line currently along this area.
Mervin Prichard, 1671 Van Antwerp Road, believes that this proposal will help the drainage flow that is now coming from St. James Square. He was assured that the plan will decrease flow onto his property by 70%.
Janet Crandall, 1216 Union Street, Schenectady, expressed her approval of the project and her desire to purchase a condominium. She believes there is a great need in Niskayuna for housing of this type. Most of the homes in Town are older and require maintenance. She believes many residents of the condominiums will not contribute to the school system.
Tom VanWert, Philamina Drive, thought the proposal was great. He was curious why the developer needed parking spaces in the front of the condominiums and thinks extra parking is unnecessary. Councilwoman Kasper commented that seniors do drive and need parking spaces. The Eddy underestimated the need for spaces and need to add parking spaces.
Elaine Lipstein, Knolls View Drive, asked to see the design, layout, and cost of the condominiums. The cost will be between $140,000 and $160,000.
Alice Rubenfeld, Orchard Park Drive, as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, often hears requests for parking in the front yard, which is prohibited. Seniors need more parking because of visitors such as children. She felt the project has inadequate parking. Since it is in the Town Overlay District the appearance of extra blacktop should be rethought as to the layout of its parking and they should not have parking in the front yard. It does not require a variance to park in the front of the units because of differing requirements for R-3.
Grace Shriver, Fernwood Drive, was disappointed that the project calls for one-car garages. She has found that condominiums with one-car garages overload the streets with parked cars that take away from the appearance of the complex. Developers are not meeting the high demand for this type of housing.
Joan Barns, Rowe Road, is against the development and changing the zone. She does not want to see more people and cars.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Fred Goodmen, 886 Cunningham Court, appeared as a representative and counsel for residents of the Van Buren Apartments. This apartment complex was built in the 1950’s on Eastern Parkway with an additional street of Daisy Lane, which is a public Town road. The only property owner along Daisy Lane is the Van Buren Apartments. These days people have greater numbers of cars. From November 1 through March 31 the Town prohibits parking on one side of Daisy Lane. We have an additional town-wide ordinance, which prohibits parking on any Town highway from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1 through March 31. In a residential neighborhood of single-family homes and two car garages this can be lived with. In an apartment complex that has 88 2-bedroom
units and 84 one-bedroom units (172 units), this prohibition no longer makes sense with today’s lifestyle.
There aren’t sufficient areas for residents to park even with one car per unit. There are 60 parking garages fully occupied, and 78 parking spaces. That leaves 138 parking spaces available off the public road for 172 apartments. There are currently 220 residents over 18 years old and 140 are over 65. 10% of occupants are using canes, walkers, or other assistance for mobility. They need to park close to their units in order to access their homes safely. Daisy Lane is a wide enough street to enable parking on both sides and enough room for emergency vehicles to pass through.
The reason for the no parking statute is for snow plowing. This is a unique apartment complex within the Town because the other complexes are newer, have more parking and also have private roads. Other than the driveways in the parking lot, there are no private roadways that would be exempt for the parking regulations. 100% of the current spaces are already utilized. It is a fully developed parcel of land that borders the City of Schenectady and Londondary Court. There is nowhere to expand the parking facilities. This complex needs to be accommodated through an amendment of the local laws to allow continued parking. Management states that this ordinance has not been strictly enforced in this neighborhood until this year, which is
causing a great inconvenience to the residents.
Mr. Goodmen suggested alternate side of the street parking. Councilwoman Kasper asked if the street could be given to Van Buren Apartments and made a private street. She felt like alternate side of the street parking is very tricky and hard to keep track of. Councilwoman O’Donnell has experienced alternate side of the street parking and found that it worked.
The manager of the complex stated that as far as expansion for more parking, there is one area of green but it may not be large enough. All summer people park on both sides of the road. There is no problem with cars driving through the street. This issue has not been a factor up until this year. Within the last 29 years, residents have never been ticketed on one side of the street unless there is a snow emergency in which case they deserve it. On the other side there are signs “No parking any time from November 1 to March 31.” This is the first year the law has been enforced and a lot of residents complained that because of the lack of prior enforcement they were not aware of the ordinance on this street. Other neighborhoods also got ticketed with
no warning notices given.
Phil Gardenier, Van Buren Apartments, has lived at the apartments for twelve years and this is the first year tickets were given out under these circumstances. As far as the parking on Daisy Lane there is no curbing to restrict the distance from the road. Most people pull in so that emergency vehicles can pass through.
The Supervisor asked the Chief about why tickets this year, and he said this is the same practice every year. He requested copies of the tickets for the month of November from previous years.
Todd Hepburn, Van Buren Apartments, received his first ticket in the four years he has lived at the complex. There is no sign on the other side of the street indicating no parking. He agreed that making Daisy Lane the property of the apartments was a good idea.
Supervisor Smith indicated that most streets do not have the signs and there are signs at all the entrances to Town. The Police have stated that every year they spend their time warning and no one heeds the warnings. When there is a snowstorm they give tickets.
Mr. Hepburn complimented the Department but there is a sign on one side of Daisy Lane and not the other. He was told to park on Eastern Parkway. He indicated that people who use the temple use their street and sometimes there are no spots left for residents.
Arden Bull, 2152 Daisy Lane, talked to neighbors who have very limited income. A ticket can be 5-10% of their income. They can keep cars off the pavement of Daisy Lane easily, just as is done on Eastern Parkway. 90% of the time cars parked on Daisy Lane are off the pavement, so why ticket them? We need some consideration for residents of Daisy Lane who are on limited income and have to walk to get to their car.
Stephanie Kleindinst, Daisy Lane, has been a longtime resident. She used to park on Stark Avenue for a number of years and never received a ticket when this same ordinance was in effect. She has lived in Daisy Lane apartments for four years and has received one ticket after a snowfall. She does not want to see the complex plow in the grassy area of the complex. It is one of the few green areas. Parking on the front lawn would ruin the appearance. She would like to have parking on one side of the street in the winter and both sides in the summer. Her solution is to let it stay the way it has been and people should be ticketed with 3” of snowfall. Also, the nature of the street is different than other streets in Niskayuna.
The only people who drive on Daisy Lane are residents or visitors or those looking at the apartments. It is similar to a dead end street.
Bob Veter, Daisy Lane, has spent 2 prior winters at the apartments. He works very late hours and has no quarrel with parking restrictions with snow emergencies. Because only side of Daisy Lane has a sign, he assumed that parking restrictions were in effect for that side of the street only. He does not want to have people park on the grass. He has bad knees and it is more convenient for him to park on the street. He would like to keep parking on one side in the winter and both sides in the summer. In the two winters he has resided in the apartments he has always seen compliance of the snow emergency regulations.
Wilma Solman, 2174 Eastern Parkway, has been at the complex for 21 years and this is the first time she has been affected by parking restrictions. She feels that too many tickets were issued. She pleaded with the Board to remedy the situation.
Lori Carpenter, Manager of Van Buren Apartments, stated that as management they would be willing to work with the residents so they understood the process of odd and even parking days if the Town uses alternative side of the street parking. Since they have always been allowed to park on the street, there has always been ample parking. In the past 25-30 years she has never heard of anyone getting a parking ticket who parked on the one side of Daisy Lane. She would be happy to work with residents and is willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy the residents. She lives in Niskayuna and even though it is inconvenient to move vehicles at least she can get them off the street. Residents of Van Buren don’t have anywhere else to put their vehicles.
Supervisor Smith remarked that the population has changed since the apartments were built. There is more than one car per family. When the ordinance was inacted the number of parking spaces at the complex was more than adequate. The Town needs to look at the situation.
Supervisor Smith commented that he would look at the situation with the Police and Highway Department. Mr. Smith had no authority to absolve residents of parking tickets should they park on restricted roads within the Town.
Roy Pollock, 2154 Daisy Lane, has lived in the apartments for 14 years and parked on Daisy Lane for years and never ticketed. He wonders why parking can’t occur now and asked that this street be plowed later in the day.
Brenda Noiso, 2161 Daisy Lane, has lived on Daisy Lane for four years and Niskayuna for 10. She had no idea about this ordinance and she feels many people don’t. She observes senior residents who are in a great deal of pain and have a difficult time moving. She understands the roads have to be plowed. She has received tickets for parking after the plows have gone through and after the snow has stopped. These have been a hardship for her as a single mother. She believes Daisy Lane should be given special consideration since in essence it is a private road.
Rachael Matthews, Ray Street, spoke for her mother who lives on Daisy Lane and stated that more handicapped parking is needed closer to handicapped resident’s homes. She asked if cars couldn’t park between the street and the sidewalk since there is enough room and asked if ticketed residents could get their fines forgiven. She has lived in the Town since 1982 and on Ray Street tickets are given only about every five years. The police shouldn’t be tired of giving warnings the work for the residents. They are a wonderful police department, but they work for the benefit of the town. To have not made an effort to give warnings on November 1 rather than giving out 50 tickets does not seem fair. It may be the letter of the law but not the spirit of what this town is for.
Supervisor Smith felt that the residents have made a compelling case that something has to be addressed. Circumstances have changed since the ordinance had been put into place. The Town has to be careful that they don’t wind up setting up different regulations all over town. The Town Board will look into the situation. He doubts there is a perfect solution, but there is probably a better solution than what we are working with now. He will work with Ms. Carpenter, the apartment manager and Mr. Goodmen.
Each of the following resolutions was approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilman Holt was absent), unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2002-267 authorizes advertisement for bids for the purchase of chemicals for public works for 2003
Resolution 2002-268 authorizes the Supervisor to retain Sterling Environmental Engineering to perform a perimeter gas survey at the landfill site, at a total cost of $742 per month, for three months.
Resolution 2002-269 rejects a bid from Morton Buildings, and authorizes re-advertising for Contract 2 – Building Structure for the sludge dehydration facility.
Resolution 2002-270 accepts a utility easement from United Cerebral Palsy Association for a portion of their property at 2120 Van Antwerp Road.
Resolution 2002-271 approves the Preliminary Budget of the Town for 2003.
Resolution 2002-272 adopts the 2003 Assessment Roll for Consolidated Water District No. 1.
Resolution 2002-273 adopts the 2003 Assessment Roll for Consolidated Sewer District No. 1.
Resolution 2002-274 adopts the 2003 Assessment Roll for Sewer District No. 6.
Resolution 2002-275 adopts the Assessment Roll for Drainage Districts No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 for 2003.
Resolution 2002-276 adopts the Budget for Lighting Districts No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 for 2003.
Resolution 2002-277 adopts the Budget for Park Districts No. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 for 2003.
Resolution 2002-278 authorizes the Supervisor to retain Alvey, Copte & DiMura to provide a professional appraisal of Mohawk Commons at a cost of $9,500, one-half of the total cost to be paid by the Town and one-half to be paid by the South Colonie Central School District.
Resolution 2002-279 authorizes the Supervisor to retain Bauer Appraisal Group, to provide a professional appraisal of the Tall Oaks Apartment complex at a cost not to exceed $4,500 with the cost for pretrial preparation, courtroom appearance, and testimony, if necessary, to be billed at the rate of $175 per hour, one-half of the total cost to be paid by the Town and one-half to be paid by the Niskayuna Central School District.
Resolution 2002-280 authorizes acceptance to settle all present and future obligations of the workers’ compensation claim of Police Department employee Michael Kowalski for the sum of $44,000.
Resolution 2002-281 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement with ADP to provide payroll administration services at a cost not to exceed $12,000 per year for 2 years.
Resolution 2002-282 authorizes advertisement for bids for various materials for its public works operations during 2003.
Resolution 2002-283 authorizes the purchase of a sander from T & T Body King, at a cost of $7,690.
Resolution 2002-284 rejects all bids received November 6 for the construction of a restroom facility at the Train Station.
Resolution 2002-285 approves Local Law No. 9 (2002) and amends the Vehicle & Traffic Code of the Town to add a Stop sign on Comanche Trail and Randall Road.
Resolution 2002-286 calls for a public hearing December 3, 2002 at 7 p.m. to amend the Vehicle and Traffic Code to provide for no parking areas between 8-9 a.m. and 1-2 pm week days on Clifton Park Road between Lexington Parkway and Baker Avenue.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the Supervisor adjourned the meeting.
Helen Kopke, Town Clerk