AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 2ND DAY OF DECEMBER, 2003, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING WERE IN ATTENDANCE;
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; and Paul Sebesta, Comptroller.
A Public Hearing was held regarding a Moratorium on the development of property in the northwest section of the Town (Balltown Road, Hillside Avenue, and Aqueduct Road).
Councilman Chapman explained that the property is approximately 390 acres north of Hillside Avenue, west of Balltown Road, and south of Aqueduct Road. It is in the Metroplex Service District and is an area that the Town is contemplating a zone change to Office Technology. During the moratorium the Planning Board would not approve any subdivisions or other applications which would result in development of the property. The ZBA would not grant any variance or other approvals, and the Building Inspector would not issue any building permits within this zone and no Special Use Permits will be considered during this period.
The object of the moratorium is to prevent heavy industry from coming in until an ordinance is in place. 56% of the area is currently zoned for heavy industry and the Town’s intention is to have professional offices and light industry. The second objective is to give the Town an opportunity to review other zoning ordinances in neighboring communities such as Colonie and Clifton Park. We are looking for more specificity on what permitted uses would be allowed and not allowed in the zone. Performance standards would also be reviewed such as how noise, vibration, and air quality. They will consider minimum lot size, the percent of lot coverage, buffering, height of buildings, setback, landscaping and sign standards.
Standards in our neighboring communities are quite detailed. The Board wants time to study this issue and this short moratorium will give us time to prepare a draft and hold public hearings.
Supervisor Smith noted a letter from an attorney representing DiSarro Development Corporation (owner of 16.61 acres of a border parcel to the northwest corner) who expressed their wish to maintain their present zoning.
Lucy Comly, 1455 Dean Street, commended the Board for taking this under consideration. She wondered if 90 days was a standard time to consider such an important issue to review how this area should be zoned and also what the boundaries are. She is in favor of the moratorium and disfavors industry in this area because of the truck traffic.
Supervisor Smith responded that the Board chose 90 days to encourage them to move ahead, however, they can extend the moratorium.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, hoped that the actual boundaries of the proposed OT would be considered during this period. She has mixed feelings about the moratorium and thinks the idea to remove heavy manufacturing and processing of raw materials is a great idea and it should go forward regardless of whether it is eventually re-zoned or not. Ms. Gold stated that it is her view that the outlook has always been towards preparing the land for an O-T zone and not towards the best use of the land. She is concerned about the overall development of this area because it is the last major area of the Town that is not developed. The moratorium could be a very good thing and she asked the Board to look at the boundaries.
Supervisor Smith stated that Di arro has stated they wish the zone to remain R-3. As far as the boundaries, as zones are indicated, boundaries will be defined at that time.
Ms. Gold felt that there is such a shortage of developable land for single family homes that are affordable that it should be considered whether some of this land should be R-2.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the meeting of November 18, 2003 were approved as presented.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Lydia Griffith, 2542 Banker Avenue, (whose home borders the northwest corner of Town) was curious what will be done regarding the drainage problem she is experiencing. Ever since the area was clear-cut, the amount of drainage that is coming toward her home has been very heavy. Years ago, the Town approved a drainage plan that runs right into her property from apartments next to their home. The water comes through their garage and house and comes through like a waterfall oftentimes through their cellar windows. They have been told it is not the Town’s problem and they do not know where else to turn. They have been advised by an attorney that it is illegal to place drainage onto someone else’s private property.
They have had at least five sump pumps in their basement going for the past two weeks. There is a gully next to their home with a drainage pipe that is supposed to relieve some of the water after it passes through their home that has been backed up. They have a 6’ deep pond with two sump pumps running for the past 1-1/2 weeks bringing the water 180’ down to a storm drain.
Supervisor Smith understood that Frank Gavin had informed Mr. Griffith that they had to wait until the ground froze to get the backhoe onto the property and he expected this could be accomplished within the next day or two. The Griffith’s have had their basement waterproofed which worked for awhile but since August they have been flooded every time it rains no matter how heavy or light. Clear cutting is the only major change that has occurred since August.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue was informed that the Town Board has met with representatives of the Board of Education about the Town’s concerns regarding the parking problems at the High School. They were informed that the new parking lots on the old tennis courts enabled them to accommodate all Senior parking requests. The Town has extended five more spots for juniors. The Supervisor has not received any calls since the new "no parking” signs have gone up. The school does accommodate juniors who need to drive under special circumstances.
There being no further members of the public who wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed Privilege of the Floor.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes, unless otherwise indicated.
Resolution 2003-250 authorizes the advertising for bids for the purchase of 20-ton equipment trailer for the Water & Sewer Department.
Resolution 2003-251 authorizes the Supervisor to retain David Guest for consultant services for the Wastewater Treatment Plant at $25.00 per hour to provide services at the Plant retroactive to November 26, 2003.
Resolution 2003-252 makes general budgetary item modifications.
Resolution 2003-253 amends the Code, Chapter 189, Subdivision of Land, regarding tree-planting plans be submitted by developers as part of Preliminary Subdivision Applicatins.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of four ayes (in the absence of Supervisor Smith).
Resolution 2003-254 calls for a public hearing on December 16, 2003 at 7 p.m. to consider the application of The Plaza Day Care Center, to allow a second use of 1,291 square feet at 1335 Balltown Road.
Resolution 2003-255 calls for a public hearing on December 16, 2003 at 7:05 p.m. to consider the application of Niskayuna Professional Development to allow the construction of an 8,000 square foot professional-medical office building at 3140/3144 Troy Road.
Resolution 2003-256 calls for a public hearing on December 16, 2003 at 7:10 p.m. to consider an amendment to the Code, Chapter 220, entitled Zoning, to consider the expiration of a special use permit when site plan review has not been applied for within one year after the date of approval.
Resolution 2003-257 calls for a public hearing on December 16, 2003 at 7:15 p.m. to consider the amendment of the Code, Chapter 220, entitled Zoning, to allow take-out service in sit-down restaurants in the C-N: Neighborhood Commercial Zoning District.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, Deputy Supervisor Kasper, declared the meeting adjourned.
Helen Kopke, Town Clerk