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Town Board Minutes 5/18/2004




Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Matt Yetto, Junior Civil Engineer; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Lew Moskowitz, Police Lieut.; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Tony Gentile, Sr. Building Inspector

Public Hearing No. 1 – Considers amendment of Chapter 189 of the Code entitled Subdivision of Land.
Kathy Matern, Town Planner, stated that the purpose of this amendment is to have the Subdivision Regulations uniform to the Town Code relating to street designs, utility easements, grades, and cul-de-sacs.  They have had some problems with developers who conform to the subdivision regulations but not to the Town Code because the Subdivision Regulations and the Town Code do not coordinate.
With regard to Parks Open Space and natural features, right now the Planning Board is only allowed to take either 10% parkland or money.  This change will allow the Planning Board to take either cash or a combination of cash and land, instead of having to take all land or all money.  
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.

Public Hearing No. 2 – Considers amendment of Chapter 142 of the Code entitled Noise
        Supervisor Smith knows that we have had questions regarding air conditioning and heat pumps that were not included in the ordinance.  Tony Gentile, in trying to regulate those, was at a loss so the Board wanted them included in the Code as a permitted noise.
        When no members of the public wished to heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.

Public Hearing No. 3 – Considers deletion of Chapter 193 of the Code entitled Swimming Pools
Kathy Matern stated that we are trying to conform to the New York State Building Code.  Our Town Code is redundant and needs to be removed because our Building Inspectors have to follow the NYS Code.  This will help clean things up to avoid confusion.  When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed this public hearing.

Public Hearing No. 4 – Considers amendment of Chapter 220 entitled Zoning
(1)     Add definition of Condominium with Swimming Pool
(2)     Maximum units allowed per gross acre for Condominiums
(3)     Delete Swimming Pools
(4)     Monument Signs and façade signs – allow compatibility of material used with
main structure and signs to be illuminated internally
        Tony Gentle described these changes as being needed to conform to the New York State Building Code.  
        Carl Friedman, member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, requested that the Town Board support this resolution.  The ZBA spends a major portion of their meetings dealing with signs matters and this would help clarify the issue.        
When no further members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed this Public Hearing.

Public Hearing No. 5 – Considers proposal to consolidate Sewer District No.6
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.

Public Hearing No. 6 – Considers amendment of the Zoning Ordinance & Zoning Map to establish an O-T:  Office and Technology zoning district
        Supervisor Smith announced opinion letters he had received from resident Diane Sturman (supporting the broad boundaries); Thomas Cannizzo (asked to have certain areas omitted from the O-T Park); and Scott Horton expressed his support of the zone change.
        Howard Carpenter, attorney representing DeSarro Development Corporation, spoke for the owner of Parcel No. 23 included in one of the large boundaries of the proposed O-T Zone.  It is located on the boundary of the proposed main zone and is presently included in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) which they believe has expired.  It’s underlying zone is R-3 and they request that they follow the recommendation of the Planning Board and exclude Parcel 23 from the planned O-T District.  If the parcel is not included, or if the O-T District zone is not passed, they will immediately apply to have the property rezoned back to R-3 with the intention of building multi-family (perhaps condominiums or upscale apartments).  The parcel borders where Rosa Road ends to Hillside Avenue.  The Army Reserve Center and apartments border it.  
The use proposed is compatible with the uses that surround it.  Moreover, he is not against the O-T District as long as it doesn’t include his parcel.  He is willing to build with the knowledge that there is a possibility of the uses allowed in the O-T light industrial district bordering the parcel in which he is building.  He would become a knowing builder in that he is aware of the proposal and people that purchase or rent from him are knowing renters or purchasers because they will be aware of the O-T proposal and the uses that the zoning would allow.  DeSarro believes that his proposal to use his parcel in this way is compatible and will fit nicely with the O-T zone.  

        Wayne Wagner, 7 Ball Road, Glenville, is also the owner of land in the proposed zone.  He is opposed to the O-T zoning on his land because he thinks there are better uses for this land.  He proposes that the Board rezone his land to R-P (Residential Professional) and R-3.  When he purchased this land, the Planning Board had approved this very use.  He had the idea at that time to do a high tech park and tried for 15 years to no avail.  He is very experienced and has filled up 15 million SF of industrial parks in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New Rochelle, Buffalo, and Rotterdam, but couldn’t do it in Niskayuna.  

        Mickey Galeoto, 2980 Aqueduct Road, has no problems with the overall concept and is supportive.  Aqueduct Road is all residential except for Jackson Demolition and he would think the whole area should be zoned residential because that is what it is currently.  He did not understand why the Board would make a major change to address the fact that they need an industrial park but not take the other steps to look at reality and see the existence of all the homes along Aqueduct.  He is concerned that under the present zoning if he wanted to rebuild he would have to conform to that zone.  He questioned why the Town doesn’t zone Aqueduct Road residential like it is.  Per Kathy Matern, no one has ever requested a rezone.   He does not want to see spot zoning or residential stuck in the middle of a tech park.  

        Paul Szakats, 2034 Morrow Avenue, is in favor of the full build out of the office technology light industry park.  He thinks it is exactly what Niskayuna needs to round itself out as a community and thinks the big name technology we already have with GE and Knolls would lend itself well to other light industry and technology that would like to move into an area like this.  We have a great infrastructure as far as roadways, schools, housing, and retail.  The proposed project would have a great potential economic value to the community as far as reducing the tax payer burden as far as school or property taxes and have that burden be shared by business.  Multi-family dwellings, condos, and apartments would certainly do that also but would also have an impact on our schools.  We have a great housing base that would attract those who would want to look into a technology zone.  The only major problem is the traffic in and out of the area and he would hope that the Board would consider this.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, read a letter from Corey Gold, 2551 Balltown Road which stated his opposition to rezoning any residential land to office technology or other commercial zone.  There is more than enough commercial land in his part of town already.   He favors more single family or duplex homes that fit in without causing traffic and other problems that commercial development does.
        Ms. Gold stated that she had been assured many times that the study area did not mean that the Town was going to rezone the entire area.  Originally she thought tweaking the original commercial area makes sense because we do not want heavy industry and she supports that.  She does not have a problem with rezoning the land that is already commercial.  It does not make sense to her to take away what remains residential land even in R-3.  This part of town has been inundated with apartments but there is a dearth of land available for homes.  She noted the Schwaver Development in the northwest corner where new homes are being built and there is clearly a market.  She would also hate to see the Town put all its eggs in one basket with office technology.
        The history of this project was a municipal “get rich quick scheme” for a possible chip-fab plant.  She would like the Board to look at the character of the Town and be fair to the people who live in the northwest corner who deserve some protection.  She believes the buffering should be increased and should be pulled back from all existing neighborhoods so there is at least 200’.  

        Jerry LaGoy, 2681 Aqueduct Road, stated that he is in favor of the original proposal and commended Councilman Chapman for his analysis and study.  He would like to have a tech park complex where the Town Recreation Center is located.  The Tech Park in Schenectady on Maxon Road has no traffic and looks attractive and he suspects that there will be more traffic from multi-family structures.  He doesn’t know why anyone would want to build a house next to a tech park.  With the proper supervision and code enforcement he thinks the original proposal is a gold mine for the Town and the Town should not let it slip away.  

        Lucy Comly, 1455 Dean Street, supports the office technology light industry ordinance and also supports the zone boundaries as delineated in the GEIS.  She has been a very strong participant in the editing and critical review in the draft versions of this ordinance and has contributed concepts as it progressed first through the GEIs then the Planning Committee and finally the Planning Board public hearing.  This business area is critical to a viable economic future for Niskayuna.  At no time has she support any shrinkage in the area to be developed. 460 acres is the area covered by the GEIS, supported by Metroplex, and presented in the Comprehensive Plan and should be the area approved for development.  
With regard to the text itself the drafting and review process has created regulations standards and guidelines that will allow the Planning and Town Boards to guide and control a commercial zone fitting our community.  In particular, the ordinance provides quality standards for signage, building design, required acreage, and buffering from residential areas, and thankfully, it does not allow warehousing and distribution centers.  With strong oversight this zone can be a handsome park that attracts desirable businesses.  She promoted greater setbacks from the road, but she is willing to trust that building setbacks will be extended during the design approval process.  
She would also like to have seen more delineation of permitted principal uses to include specific high tech business not just printing and publishing.  She will count on the Board to work with the County agencies and the Council for Economic Growth to bring in those groups.  She reminded the Board that the first business they are going to build in this area will set the tone for what is to come to the Park.  The Town Board has the responsibility not only to oversee daily obligations and needs of the Town, but also to plan for the future by insuring appropriate and economically viable development that will sustain the Town’s schools, its services, and its utilities.  Establishing a larger business base will be critical to sustaining Niskayuna in the future.  Businesses do not create an extra burden on our schools but instead provide a greater tax base (fully delineated in the GEIS) to help maintain the excellent quality of our schools.  Houses alone cannot continue provide sufficient revenue for the necessary expansion of the school system as growth continues in the Town.  She supports and encourages the Board to accept the draft ordinance as it stands with the full acreage as shown in the GEIS and Comprehensive Plan maps.  If they don’t accept the full thing, she questions the viability of the GEIS itself since it was based on substantial financial assumptions.
At this time when no other members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.

Informational Meeting on the Town of Niskayuna’s Annual Stormwater Management Annual Report – 2004
        Matt Yetto, Junior Civil Engineer, gave a presentation on the Town’s requirements for Stormwater Regulations.  New DEC regulations require that the Town develop a Stormwater Management Program to be fully implemented by 2008.  As part of the program an annual report needs to be produced and submitted to DEC and made open to public comment.  Mr. Yetto gave a summary of Year 1 Annual Report which is available for review at Town Hall and on the web site.
        Mr. Yetto defined the Stormwater problem; what is being done; gave a program overview; minimum control standards; public education and outreach; public involvement and participation; illicit discharge detection and elimination; construction site stormwater runoff control; post-construction stormwater management; pollution prevention and good housekeeping.


        Bob Sweeney, 82 Lori Drive, was informed that the Planning Board is governed by New York State Law and Town Law.  Mr. Sweeney felt that that Lori Drive will be the cu-t through.  Connectivity will happen to the additional buildings that are all around Lori Drive.  He recalled a high school student who stated she would use Lori Drive to cut through to get to Catalpa Court which is a dead-end street.  They will be the cut-through and the connectivity and confusion will be from the homes that are built off Lori Drive’s additional stub streets.

        Christian D’Alessandro, 23 Lori Drive stated he was against the Lori Drive cut-through.   There has been a lot of talk about the Planning Board being an independent body who have authority, but he felt that “the buck stops here” with the Town Board. Hearing this discussion to him is passing the buck.  He feels that ultimately the decision does lie with this Town Board and Town Supervisor.  He thinks they have a great deal of influence and sway over the Planning Board and he hopes they hear very clearly what the residents of Lori Drive and the neighborhood surrounding are requesting of the Town Board.
Supervisor Smith stated that they have listened to the other neighbors in other parts of Town and they do consider the entire Town
Lucy Comly, 1455 Dean Street, asked the Board why the Town couldn’t do “visioning” on a large scale to help planning for the Town.  She asked what was preventing us from taking a look at the entire area of Liskakill Road with the aid of people who do “visioning.”  

        Cari D’Alessandro, 23 Lori Drive, asked each of the Board members opinion on Lori Drive.  
Councilman Chapman stated that he was not supportive of a connection then and is not supportive now.  He does think the Planning Board has a tough issue and he encouraged them to consider the options put forward by the residents.
Supervisor Smith noted that he had stated his position. He agrees with the concept of connectivity and diffusion of traffic and he is confident that the Planning Board will go forward with the appropriate action to protect the neighborhoods in the Town of Niskayuna.  He looks forward to their activity in this regard.
Councilwoman O’Donnell stated that this was a Planning Board decision.  She thinks that the use of the term “cut through” has an extremely negative connotation.  When he thinks about connecting neighborhoods, and when we are looking at the possibility of connecting this, we hopefully are not looking at a straight road that would be “Lebanan Valley Speedway.”  She thinks the Planning is hopefully going to look at should they make the decision should we connect these neighborhoods.  That they do it in such a way that is not desirable to be using this as a cut-through.  She lives on a street that people would consider to be a cut-through and she is sympathetic to the neighborhood.
Councilman Holt stated that the cut through idea is negative to begin with.  That may have that effect as other streets already do.  Because he has known Lori Drive for sometime he has some sympathies but he also has sympathies for the whole area.  He did not want to state any opinion because he believes it is a Planning Boards.  Any statement that the Town Board makes can undermine the Planning Board.  A Planning Board is meant to be an independent apolitical body that does not answer to a vote.  They have studied the issue quite extensively and this and other issues they have had a very vital opinion.  The visioning concept is a good one and he is sure that the Planning Board is looking at the whole area.  That is his first concern.  He is supporting the Planning Board at this point.

The following resolutions were approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilwoman Kasper was absent) unless otherwise noted.

Resolution 2004- 163 authorizes the execution of an Outside Sewer User Agreement with Z & H Petroleum, owners of 3497 State Street.  This is a gas station across the street from Mohawk Commons.  

Resolution 2004-164 authorizes the excavation and repair to approximately a 10 foot section of an 8” sewer main on Eastern Parkway by Thomas Loehr Excavating at a cost not to exceed $2,660.  
In the future, Supervisor Smith would like to change the language 5to indicate that the Board is approving funds for a situation that has already occurred due to the emergency of this sewer main break.

Resolution 2004-165 retains services of Lash Contracting, to make the directional bore under the culvert on State Street to repair the water main at a cost not to exceed $8,200 plus necessary fittings as needed.
Supervisor Smith remarked that this addressed a significant water main break on State Street that had already occurred.  This was an emergency that could not be approved by the Board prior to the event.  

Resolution 2004-166 takes action to approve a Special Use Permit for 3041 Troy Schenectady Road to allow for the construction of a 13,840 SF fellowship hall at the Niskayuna Reformed Church.

Resolution 2004-167 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a maintenance agree for the NICE Systems Recorder for the Police Department with Business Electronics, for one year from June 4, 2004 at a cost of $1,300.

Resolution 2004-168 calls for a public hearing June 1, 2004 at 7 p.m. to consider the appropriation of $83,600 from the Capital Reserve Fund for Sewer District No. 6 to be used to finance a portion of the construction of a sludge dehydration facility at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Resolution 2004-169 employs additional persons in the Recreation Program.

Resolution 2004-170 authorizes printing of flyers listing the summer recreation programs by Quality Graphics at a cost not to exceed $2,500.

Resolution 2004-171 authorizes the sale of 15 unclaimed impounded vehicles to L & A Auto Salvage, for a total price of $750.

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

One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
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