AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 16TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2003, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN - absent
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; and John Lubrant, Police Lieut.
Public Hearing No. 1 – Special Use Permit for 1335 Balltown Road (The Plaza Day Care Center).
Linda DePhillippo, the Owner/Director of the Plaza Day Care Center said she would like to rent 1,200 square feet of office space to an engineering firm. This will not interfere with the Day Care Center and has already been approved by New York State Department of Children & Family Services.
The engineering firm will be located on the second floor of the building in addition to one room on the first floor. The new tenant will need seven parking spaces and currently they have about 15 empty parking spaces available. Residents playing tennis also use this parking lot.
Jim Mitchey, 1386 Rosehill Boulevard, President and founder of Power Grid Engineering and Markets, stated that he had been in business 3-1/2 years with a total of four engineers. They are experts in the cause and remedy of large blackouts. Kathy Matern stated that in the future, if the Day Care wanted to rent to another firm, they would have to apply for another Special Use Permit.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed this public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2 – Special Use Permit for 3140/3144 Troy Road (Professional-Medical office building).
Councilman Chapman described a parcel that sits in the R-P zone on Troy Road on the boundary of the Martin Hardy offices (the old Dahl building) at the corner of Vly Road.
This Special Use Permit allows the consolidation of lots 3140 and 3144 Troy Road to allow the construction of an 8,000 SF professional/medical office building. There are currently two homes on the site, which would be demolished. The site currently would allow for 46% green space. Parking is adequate and there are no variances required. Water and sewer is on site and access would be through Troy Road and Vly Road. The application is currently before NYS DOT.
Supervisor Smith clarified that the proposed use is a permitted use in this zone. It require two levels of review for the purposes of determining that public safety, health and welfare are not compromised. It requires both a Planning Board review as well as a Town Board review and is thus categorized as a Special Use Permit.
They are in talks currently about turns from Vly Road onto the property. On a prior proposal (which was approved for a Special Use Permit for a 60,000 SF office building where condominiums are currently located) they were allowed right turns out, no left turns out, left turns in, right turns in.
The traffic study shows a dramatic reduction in the car counts from the condominium use and Colonie is considering granting the project full access onto Vly Road. According to the traffic report, the project does not depend on having access onto Vly Road since it is not anticipated that it will difficult to make a left turn coming out onto Route 7 from the building. They estimate there could be 30-40 cars per day that would peak in the morning and evening for professional office. With medical the traffic would stream in all day. 4,000 SF will be utilized for professional offices and the other 4,000 could be either professional offices or medical offices. The Town of Colonie is considering if they will require a variance for use of the five parking spaces located in their Town limits. One driveway is in the Town of Niskayuna and one driveway is in the Town of Colonie.
There are currently two curb cuts for two homes, and the developer eliminated one of the curb cuts. Supervisor Smith indicated that for the sight line it might be better to have the curb cut on the Colonie side of the new building. There is about 90’ between the Martin/Harding curb cut and the first curb cut for the new building and it is possible to move this over. The building will look like a single family home and appropriate landscaping will be included.
The drainage plan has remained the same after the change from the condos. There is a culvert that goes under Route 7 so all the drainage will go to the northeasterly corner of the premises. The reason for concurrent application is because the developer thought he could handle the drainage for both facilities under one drainage plan.
Scott Crowder, 2485 Troy Road, stated that the Troy Road neighborhood association has fought long and hard to maintain the residential character of Troy Road. They are concerned about mitigating traffic problems and to not compound them where they already exist. When they were presented with this plan for the condo’s over the 60,000 professional office building they thought it was a great use of the land and the developer was very specific that the two houses would stay. Since then, the change to put in an 8,000 SF professional/medical office building at this particular point on Route 7 is very problematic.
As long as the building is owner-occupied, 50% of it could be medical-office. Should the owner move and it becomes 100% medical office, it would mean hundreds of cars per day.
Lorene Zabin, 2455 Brookshire Drive, read a letter from resident Judith Cavelli and Roy Larson who opposed the Special Use Permit. Mrs. Zabin also opposes this development and hoped the Board would deny the Special Use Permit.
Don Anthony, 918 Birchwood, lives one mile from the location of this office building. He is opposed to granting this Special Use Permit because of added traffic and because of spreading development from Colonie into the residential areas of Niskayuna.
Aaron Buffer, 2477 Troy Road, asked the Board to not grant this Special Use Permit. He reminded the Board of their promises to keep Troy Road residential and they would not approve commercial or professional use. He was reminded that this area has always been zoned commercial.
Public Hearing No. 3 – Considers an amendment of the Zoning Ordinance regarding expiration of Special Use Permits.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed this public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 4 – Considers an amendment of the Zoning Ordinance regarding restaurants allowing take-out service
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, noted that all restaurants will provide take out service to its regular customers and the town’s restaurants would be at a disadvantage if the Board did not approve this.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the meeting of December 6, 2003 were approved as presented.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Lucy Comly, 1455 Dean Street, complemented the Town for posting a calendar with meetings and dates of important events and the links to the Agenda of the Planning Board. She complemented the Board for starting the Town’s web site and Kathy Matern for getting the agenda up for the Planning Board. She thinks this is a super public service and asked when the Town Board agenda would be posted.
Supervisor Smith stated that a draft agenda is released the Friday before each Town Board meeting. Mrs. Comly would like to see Public Hearings and a preliminary agenda on the web site.
Councilwoman O’Donnell stated that the Technology Committee is working on the web site to offer much more information to residents. Hopefully all of our Recreation programs will be published as well as minutes important announcements, and department news. Our goal is to have a virtual town hall. There is also a potential for interactivity where residents can subscribe to certain areas and get announcements.
James Mitchey, 1386 Rosehill Boulevard, spoke in favor of the resolution tonight that authorized bonding for paving various Town parks and the bike path.
Supervisor Smith stated that the Town has been trying for several years to have NYS and/or County take some responsibility for the bike path as a regional facility. We have not been successful despite the fact that the County maintains part of the bike path in Rotterdam. The Town will go forward while not giving up our efforts to name this a regional facility. The State has given us a grant to build a new restroom facility at the train station.
Christine Tucker, 1114 Highland Park Road, inquired about the condominium project being built on Nott Street Extension and wondered if the Board had approved the project.
Chuck Rinaldo, 2651 Aqueduct Road, inquired about the Office-Technology Park moratorium and what happens after the moratorium. Councilman Chapman stated that this was a moratorium on the issuance of site plan reviews and any approvals of any projects in the area north of Hillside Avenue, south of Aqueduct and west of Balltown Road. The Board is considering the possibility of rezoning the area to Office Technology (O-T). 72% is currently zoned heavy industrial or industrial research. The other 28% are zoned for housing or residential-professional.
Jerry LaGoy, Aqueduct Road, stated that it would seem reasonable for the people in the neighborhood on Balltown Road, Hillside, and Aqueduct Road to favor a Tech Park over heavy industry. He was confused why Councilwoman Kasper would like to see a combination of tech park and residential. It doesn’t seem practical to have the two uses. He has also heard that there hasn’t been much interest in the Tech Park and the residential concept may be a safe fallback. He likes the Tech Park for this area but does not favor a mixed use. He encouraged the Board to move forward on a tech park.
Supervisor Smith responded that residential use was considered for border properties and are still under consideration. New York State has the rehabilitation of intersection at Rexford Bridge scheduled for 2008.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket, noted that her brother, who lives at 2551 Balltown Road, has a continuing interest in being able to get in and out of his driveway safely. The proposal for major development in the northwest corner threatens that because DOT keeps putting off improvements to the Balltown Road corridor. There are also studies that indicate that fixing Balltown Road won’t be enough. We also need the other corridors such as Glenridge Road.
Ms. Gold noted that heavy manufacturing could be ruled out of the existing zone by the same process with hearings and the adoption of a local law. Whether DOT goes forward or not, she believes this should be done. She also thinks the Board needs to take the time to look at the environment impact of any industry. She still thinks that it is inappropriate to take any land that is currently zoned for residential development and make it unavailable for such use. An adequate buffer is needed for the existing neighborhoods on Balltown, Aqueduct, and Hillside.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilwoman Kasper being absent) unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2003-258 rejects all bids for potassium permanganate and accepts bids for the purchase of certain chemicals for the Public Works Department.
Resolution 2003-259 appoints Edmund Luffman, 22 Nassan Avenue, Schenectady to the position of Sewage Treatment Plant Operator on a provisional basis for $15.67 per hour effective December 22, 2003.
Resolution 2003-260 retains Laberge Group, for the design and preparation of specifications and bid documents for Extension 89 to Consolidated Sewer District No. 1 at a cost not to exceed $58.500.
Resolution 2003-261 approves the acquisition of various town equipment for the Highway Department and authorizing the issuance of serial bonds in an amount not to exceed $144,000.
Resolution 2003-262 approves the construction of two pole barns and various Highway Garage improvements for the Highway Department, and the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $453,000.
Resolution 2003-263 authorizes the construction and reconstruction of various Town Park and Bike Path Paving, and authorizes the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $70,000.
Resolution 2003-264 authorizes the acquisition of various Town equipment (such as a sidewalk machine, a packer, a ten-wheel dump truck and a backhoe) and authorizing serial bonds in an amount not to exceed $352,000
Resolution 2003-265 authorizes various capital improvements to Sewer District No. 6 consisting of a two new pump station generators and six new pump station control panels authorizing the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $330,000.
Resolution 2003-266 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract with the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady for the impounding and care of dogs for a one-year period through December 31, 2003.
Resolution 2003-267 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement with Marvin & Company to perform the Town Officials’ Audit and the Statutory Financial Statements for the year ending December 31, 2003 at a cost not to exceed $14,425.
Resolution 2003-268 makes line item budgetary modifications.
Resolution 2003-269 approves the execution of a public employment contract (CSEA) with the Water & Sewer personnel of the Town.
Resolution 2003-270 authorizes the purchase of an Optical Mark Reader with computer software from Scantron Corporation to assist in water billing at a cost not to exceed $4,900.
Resolution 2003-271 accepts bids for the purchase of various materials to be used in the Public Works Department for 2004.
Resolution 2003-272 authorizes the advertising for bids for the purchase of a 2004 wheel dump truck to be equipped with snow removal equipment and sander, and a 2004 sidewalk machine for the Highway Department.
Resolution 2003-273 authorizes the purchase of a replacement trailer frame for the 20-ton trailer for the Highway Department at a cost not to exceed $6,900.
Resolution 2003-274 authorizes the purchase of a boom mower attachment from R. L. Parsons & Sons Equipment for the Highway Department at a cost not to exceed $9,990.
Resolution 2003-275 waives the grade requirement in connection with a final site plan for the Notts Landing subdivision located on Greens Farm Road (off Nott Street East).
Resolution 2003-276 calls for a public hearing January 20, 2004 at 7 p.m. to consider amendment of the Vehicle & Traffic Code to provide for a Stop sign on North Ravine Road at Banker Road for traffic proceeding west on North Ravine Road.
Resolution 2003-277 enacts Local Law 11 (2003) and imposes a Moratorium through March 14, 2004 on the review, approval and/or issuance of applications for or development of property in the northwest section in the Town of Niskayuna.
Resolution 2003-278 calls for a public hearing January 20, 2004 at 7:05 p.m. to consider the application of Frank Herba, as agent for Richard Royer, to allow the mixed use building (commercial/residential) at 1748 Union Street.
Resolution 2003-279 calls for a public hearing January 20, 2004 to consider an application for a Special Use Permit for 1752 Union Street.
Resolution 2003-280 approves an application for a Special Use Permit for 1335 Balltown Road to allow a second use of 1,291 square feet of 1335 Balltown Road for engineering offices located at The Plaza Day Care Center.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the Supervisor declared the meeting adjourned.
Helen F. Kopke, Town Clerk