AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 16TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2004, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
Others present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Lew Moskewitz, Police Lieut.; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; and Paul Sebesta, Comptroller.
Public Hearing No. 1 – Establishment of Drainage District No. 21 for Woodbridge Estates
A brief description of the drainage district was given by a representative of the developer.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2 – Leasing space for Cingular Wireless for a communication antenna on the water tower.
Supervisor Smith explained that this is on the water tower off Balltown Road. We have several antennas already and Cingular is looking for available space.
Ryan Jenowski, Pyramid Network Services (consultant for Cingular Wireless) stated that the area of service depends on the elevation and how far out the signal will go out. They have about 40-60 other locations in the Capital District. The closet antenna is probably within 3 or 4 miles as they feed off each other. Based on their license with the FCC, they have to have overlapping coverage for the area where they hold their license. Other companies currently on the site have separate frequencies which are regulated by the FCC. There may be six different carriers on one tower.
The contract starts at $21,600 and then goes to $24,840, $28,566, $32,850 and the fourth $37,778.
There being no members of the public who wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the Public Hearing.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
RaeDene Dales, stated that yesterday was the first that she learned that Sunmark Credit Union’s project was in jeopardy. Regarding the potential for vacant property on the specific corner she doubted that Sunmark’s charter permits them to be landlords. Sunmark will be marketing their property if they are denied their permit. She has encountered many obstacles surrounding the property she owns in this area such as St. James Square, two gas stations, an office building with two additional residential units, the Coop Market with its traffic, and dumpsters and meat delivery area.
She does not understand the concern that Sunmark is too intensive a use of this property. The current property contains two offices that have three professional offices with patrons and staff, and six residential units capable of housing 24 plus tenants. It is her understanding that two properties would be combined to one financial institution that would be opened “bankers hours” (except for the ATM) and seems to be a much less intense use than how the property is being used now.
Regarding traffic issues, she believes the Town is objecting to the traffic of Sunmark flowing onto the alley which is owned by Sunmark and the Dales which flows onto Crescent Road (a local road). Reggie Scott’s traffic flowed onto Crescent Road and the alley and his parking lot and garages have never been screened from local residential property. Sunmark will provide screening.
She has tried unsuccessfully to have the Town assume control of the alley, but the Town declined. Now she feels the Town wants to dictate the use of the alley as if they owned it. Crescent Road residents have endured 18-wheelers using their driveways and lawns to back up to enter the alley to make Coop deliveries. One of the 18-wheelers even caused a shattered window from vibrations. The Coop and Dales have been trying to keep the trucks out of the alley. The portion of the alley parallel to Balltown Road that the Town, Coop, and Crescent Road residents are concerned with is owned solely by Sunmark and the Dales. As good neighbors they have allowed Coop customers to use their privately owned and maintained alley and they foresee a continuation of this policy for Sunmark’s future
The uses of this property under current zoning contain 13 permitted uses. If Sunmark is unsuccessful in attaining Town approval, the next permitted use with the least active cliental and traffic is a funeral home. The only other permitted use is Town buildings, libraries, gas stations, and radio stations. She is disturbed that Sunmark has made it this far and they may be turned down. Kathy Matern stated that a funeral home needs a minimum of two acres so it would not be eligible for this site. Any other proposed use if not general business would require a Special Use Permit and would have to go through the duel process of the Planning Board and Town Board.
Mike Hale, from Synthesis, Schenectady, spoke on behalf of Sunmark and showed the plans and concept rendering of the Sunmark proposal. The Planning Board has reviewed the plan and recommended the Special Use Permit. He distributed a letter (with photos) and discussed each of the issues discussed in communication from the Conservation Advisory Committee.
Supervisor Smith stated that the alleyway is not conducive to being a roadway and his major concern is that people will use the alley to get to the Coop and the Credit Union. He asked if the egress and ingress points could be design in such a way that traffic could not make a left hand turn without making it a three point turn. This continues to be his concern. He felt there didn’t seem to be any attempt to discourage traffic in the alley. Mr. Hale stated that when they get into the Site Plan Review they can make it more difficult for drivers to make a left hand turn out.
Bill Jenkins, Marketing Manager, Sunmark, stated that 3900 of their members live or work in Niskayuna. They are the credit union that serves G. E. Global Research & Development Center, Knolls Atomic Power Labs, and Schenectady International. They chose the site because it is zoned Neighborhood Commercial and they are a permitted use and so are the apartment buildings behind the site.
Regarding commercial creep he believes the zoning is N-C and if it is not desired for this to be developed as a commercial property that this should be attacked from an overall comprehensive zoning perspective rather than spot zoning through these sorts of decisions.
Sunmark desires to be a good neighbor. They have no issues with providing full sidewalks, curbing, and appropriate landscaping to act as a buffer for residential property.
Many of the issues being voiced as objections to this project are typically the kinds of items that are resolved during site plan review with the Planning Commission.
Their initial plan met the green space requirements but there were concerns voiced by the Planning Commission over fire lane access that that was probably the reason for the reduction of the some of the green space where traffic flows for the drive-through.
Noise and visual shielding can be addressed through landscaping. Photos showed that their building will provide some noise shielding for the apartment building directly behind them. He stated that the photos also showed truck deliveries and merchandize that blocked or discouraged pass through traffic through the alley.
Bruce Bodet, CEO Sunmark, stated from the standpoint of Sunmark they have invested much time, effort, and money into this project for the past year. They have addressed a lot of the issues raised by the CAC satisfactorily. Regarding the noise, the one apartment that could be impacted in a small way by the noise is owned by the Dales who are proponents of this project. He thinks Sunmark will be an excellent business for the community and asked for a favorable vote from the Board.
Wendy Cemino, a traffic consultant for Sunmark, has performed a traffic study and the results showed that the roadway system can handle the traffic that will be generated by the credit union. Their analysis was done for a peak condition on a peak day, and their report shows worse case. They are open bankers hours and one evening during the week. Morning commuter hours are not an issue with a bank and their study focused on a mid-day lunch operation.
Regarding the alley, she has not heard that current Coop patrons use the alley. Drivers will want to get onto the main road to get to their next destination and not get involved in the Coop parking lot with shopping carts, pedestrians, and vehicles trying to park. Existing onto Nott Street is very congested with the cross walk and perpendicular parking. People will want to avoid these issues.
CDTC stated that there is only one driveway on Crescent Road in the area involved. This project will not affect this driveway. The St. James Square driveway is a secondary access into the plaza, full access is off of Nott Street, along with its anchor store. Once St. James Square becomes more occupied, it would not change the result of their traffic study and would not require them to do any improvements and would not change their analysis or results. Sunmark would be willing to look into ways to manage traffic in the alley if needed such as signage or speed bumps. Access to the alley is not meant for normal patrons but for emergency access.
Councilwoman Kasper remarked that peak hours at the Coop are more during the lunch hour (between 11 and 1). Peak hours in the area in question, because it is near a school, is more at lunch time and when school lets out rather than the usual peak commuter hours. During the hours that are said to not be the peak travel times are the peak business time around this area. Crescent Road is also the cut through for students walking to the high school, making it a busy pedestrian area. They don’t always use the crosswalk at Balltown and Nott Street.
Councilman Chapman felt that if the Crescent and Balltown intersection does not work people will exit onto Crescent and either go onto Nott Street (a busy road with a crosswalk in front of the Coop and traffic coming out of the three Coop parking lots) or they will use Clifton Park, Rankin or Lexington.
Mrs. Dales, stated that the alley is a nebulous area. They have been told that the properties that abut the alley are responsible and own half way to the alley. Mr. Dales called the alley a “no man’s land”that goes back to the subdivision. The property has been maintained by the adjoining property owners. On several occasions they have asked the Town to take over the alley but to no avail.
The Dales own 2228 Crescent Road which gives them half of the alley that flows onto Crescent Road. Sunmark (previously Reggie Scott) owned the other half. Therefore, from Crescent Road following the alley to the Coop parking lot, Sunmark supposedly owns. They maintain and plow it and it is not a public road. The Coop owns the width of the back of their building. The Dales own half of that again. Traffic in the alley is being controlled better because they have refused to let the trucks enter from Crescent Road. Delivery trucks now back in from Nott Street.
Charene Tate, 78 Lori Drive, stated her views on the conduct of Planning Board members during their last meeting. She feels that Planning Board members are appointed to represent the interest of residents, not developers or their own interests. She asked the Board to prevent a connector road from being built between the two new developments. She asked if three Town Board members would support a resolution to not accept this Town road.
Mike Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, stated that tonight he has heard what he believed to be heart felt comments from Board members regarding traffic and how it will affect the residents near Sunmark. It was his hope that they will have the same passionate feelings towards their situation. Lori Drive was never designed to be an extension of Lishakill Road and this road will make a short cut from Lishakill to Route 7.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2004-293 authorizes that advertisement be made for bids on the purchase of liquid chlorine, sodium fluoride, liquid oxidant, potassium permanganate and dry polymer for the Water & Sewer Department for 2005.
Resolution 2004-294 calls for a public hearing December 7, 2004 at 7 p.m. to consider establishing Drainage District No. 23 for Antonia Park.
Resolution 2004-295 authorizes the Supervisor to enter a lease agreement with Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems t permit the installation of an antenna on the water tower of Consolidated Water District No. 1 for an annual fee of $21,600.
Resolution 2004-296 approves and authorizes the purchase of a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, from Hoselton Chrysler, at a cost of $18,147.
Resolution 2004-297 appoints Eric V. Kuntz, to serve as an alternate member of the Planning Board and Zoning Commission for a term of office terminating December 31, 2005.
Resolution 2004-298 approves the Preliminary Budget of the Town for 2005.
Resolution 2004-299 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2005 for Consolidated Water District No. 1.
Resolution 2004-300 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2005 for Consolidated Sewer District No. 1.
Resolution 2004-301 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2005 for Sewer District No. 6
Resolution 2004-302 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2005 for Drainage District No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.
Resolution 2004-303 adopts the Budget for 2005 for Lighting District No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9
Resolution 2004-304 adopts the Budget for 2005 for Park District No. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
Resolution 2004-305 appoints Richard J. Westergard, 2766 Rosendale Road, to membership on the Board of Assessment Review for a term of office to expire September 30, 2009.
Resolution 2004-306 modifies the rate of pay for Town hall cleaning services for Joseph Boddie, to $740 bi-weekly effective immediately.
Resolution 2004-307 authorizes the sale of a use3d HP Design Jet 650C plotter to Brett Steenburg, at a total cost of $500.
Resolution 2004-308 makes miscellaneous budgetary modifications.
Resolution 2004-309 authorizes the Supervisor to file an application for a grant for financial assistance in accordance with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services under the Spectrum Justice System Enhancement and Stabilization Project in the amount of $44,930.98 to fund the conversion of the spectrum justice system software to a browser-based version.
Resolution 2004-310 calls for a public hearing December 7, 2004 to consider the adoption of prior written notice legislation.
Resolution 2004-311 accepts title to a portion of Menlo Park Road.
Resolution 2004-312 accepts title to portion of Antonia Drive and a portion of Sharon Drive, together with a detention basin.
Resolution 2004-313 authorizes advertisement for bids for the purchase of various materials to be used by the Town in its public works operations.
Resolution 2004-314 authorizes advertisement for bids for the grinding and disposal of yard waste.
Resolution 2004-315 authorizes the purchase of a vehicle lift from Mohawk Resources, at a total cost not to exceed $17,309.
Resolution 2004-316 authorizes advertising for bids for the purchase of a 2005 six or ten wheel dump truck to be equipped with snow removal equipment and a vacuum road sweeper.
Resolution 2004-317 authorizes advertising for bids for the labor and materials for the installation of two heating systems for a highway storage building and a Parks and Recreation storage building at the Highway Garage.
Resolution 2004-318 authorizes the purchase of a sander from Tarrant Mfg. at a cost not to exceed $8,500 and the purchase of a 1999 Ingersoll Rand air compressor from NES Rentals, at a cost not to exceed $4,600.
Resolution 2004-319 takes action to employ Allison Broomhead in the Niskayuna Recreation Program
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the meeting was adjourned.
Helen F. Kopke, Town Clerk