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Healthy Choices for Families

Town Board Minutes 7/18/06


        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; Stan Fiminski, Police Lieut.

        Public Hearings No. 1 – considers amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to install Stop Signs and remove No Turn Signs on Heather at Oakmont.
        Supervisor Smith reviewed the history of the current traffic controls.  The Town previously held an informational meeting, but the Public Hearing is required to change the signage or the street configuration.  
        8172006_102642_0.pnghas seen an increase in traffic since Oakmont and Hummingbird Estates have been developed and she would like to see that the one-way streets are kept and is made permanent.  She feels studies have shown there is no increase in traffic because the diverter is working.  She did not want her neighborhood sacrificed because of the heavy traffic on Balltown Road.  

8172006_102642_0.png, stated that they agree they don’t want to be the solution for the Balltown Road traffic and would not like to see this traffic in either neighborhood and propose that Heather Lane be made a dead end.  They protested the illogical idea of maintaining the one way exit from Heather Lane to Oakmont Street without allowing traffic to move from Oakmont to Heather Lane.  Why should Hexam Garden residents be allowed to drive past our homes, when we are not allowed to drive into their area.  If they maintain a restriction it would be more equal to shut down the passage completely creating a dead end at Heather Lane.  

        8172006_102642_0.png, read a note from8172006_102642_0.png, who wrote in favor of taking out the One Way traffic controls.  
Mr. Windish quoted from a newspaper article and gave a brief history of the current traffic controls.  He is in favor of making the proposed changes.  If this solution does not work the Town Board can always take a re-look at this and try another solution to the problem.  If there is a concern about speeding, it shows that the current diverter is not working and a Stop sign should act as a speeding deterrent.  Both the Police and Highway Departments support Stop Signs.

        8172006_102642_0.png, felt there is very little traffic in this area and personally conducted a survey from 4 to 5 p.m. on May 5, 2006 by stopping the cars and asking where they live and where were they going.  Out of 27 cars, 22 were local drivers.  Only five were using the street as a cut through.  She felt that drivers disregard the diverter, and removing it will not make any difference to the amount of traffic and she is in favor of the proposal.  10 drivers in her survey stated that the diverter should be removed and five requested Stop signs.  She disagreed with a dead end at Heather because it would limit exits for Oakmont and Hummingbird subdivision residents.

        8172006_102642_0.png, read a letter from Tom DiSerbo, President of Hummingbird Manor Association of Unit Owners, which stated that the residents of Hummingbird Manor request that the diverter be removed.  They believe that the traffic problem that the diverter was supposed to resolve did not materialize.  The diverter is useless, poses a traffic hazard, and is demeaning to the residents of Hummingbird Manor and an eye sore that has been exacerbated by the placement of rough-cut logs on the side of Heather Lane.  The diverters have been disregarded and has no impact on reducing traffic flow.  The fear that Hexam Gardens would become an alternate route has not been realized.  

        8172006_102642_0.png, moved here recently and felt that neighborhoods have boundaries which create a certain character.  When the boundaries are blurred you begin to lose the characteristics that make a neighborhood attractive to families.  
It seems to be a prevailing trend within Niskayuna to open up all the streets to one another making it difficult to find a quite, safe cul de sac or dead end to raise a family.  She wondered if cars and the flow of traffic through a neighborhood are more important than the safety and quiet enjoyment for the residents who live in it.  What is the recourse if the street becomes busy?  With new construction being debated on Consaul Road bringing more traffic we would be foolish thinking people won’t use our streets as a bypass.  She does not want to see the street opened up with a Stop sign.

        8172006_102642_0.png, and previously lived on Heather Lane at Village.  Before Hummingbird - Village, Townsend, and Hexam were always available as cut through streets connecting Balltown and Route 7.  These streets always posed potential traffic overload but never materialized into more than a minor nuisance and he recalls no traffic accidents on these streets.  People have safely walked their dogs and children have played on Village, Townsend and Hexam.  
Why are only Heather and Oakmont now being considered dangerous enough to have traffic constraints like one way traffic rules?  The traffic studies show Heather and Oakmont generate little traffic comparatively than prior to the development of Hummingbird Manor.  There are over 60 units in Hummingbird as a taxable entity who are solidly anti-diverter and anti-one way traffic.  Removing the diverter will not increase the local traffic since the diverter is already being ignored.  More strict enforcement of the diverter will force more traffic onto Consaul Road which is already overloaded.  

        8172006_102642_0.png, stated if she lived in Hummingbird Manor she would not want her street to be opened up.  She felt that once the diverter is gone, they will see the same increase in traffic as Heather Lane has seen.  She believes the traffic diverter seems to be working and a Stop sign will not stop the young people from “gunning” their cars between Consaul Road and the Stop sign at Oakmont and then between Oakmont and Village Road.  Everyone wants a quiet, safe neighborhood and we need to look at the impact on all roads.  There is a traffic problem on Balltown Road and once the diverter does not exist, there will be a definite increase in traffic.  She would also welcome a dead end on Heather.

        8172006_102642_0.png, has seen the traffic increase in the past six months by traffic cutting through from Balltown Road through Townsend, onto
St. David’s to Route 7.  She believes taking down the diverter will increase traffic over time. Safety is more important than convenience.

        8172006_102642_0.png, felt everyone is missing the point that Balltown Road is the main issue and she wondered why it was OK for everyone from Heather Lane to head out to Route 7 the direct way and Holiday Drive residents have to be dumped onto Balltown Road to get to Route 7.  She feels quite disenfranchised by the effect of the diverter.  She felt that it should not be assumed that accidents are the fault of cut through traffic. She agreed with Stop signs rather than the diverter and didn’t think the current situation is fair.  

        8172006_102642_0.png, stated that the original traffic study was flawed in that it made no attempt to determine cut through traffic.  He is concerned that a majority of people driving through are residents and he believes that the diverter is working.  He suspects that people who have tried to cut through saw the diverter and did not come back.  The residents feel they have more of a need to use these roads in both directions. They face the potential of traffic increasing markedly if the diverter is removed.  He suggests making the street one way to discourage traffic.  With Stop signs we need to monitor the cut through traffic and decide how much increase in traffic they are willing to allow before it will affect everybody. Residents could do this themselves and he felt the Board should not just make the change without a planned follow up study.

        8172006_102642_0.png, does not agree with having the diverter.  It doesn’t make traffic sense and does not feel neighbor friendly.  Other neighborhoods in the Town are connected.  She fears a permanent diverter will set a dangerous precedent.

        There being no further members of the public who wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing No. 2 – considers an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding Signs.
        Kathy Matern described the proposed change that would affect signs in the Overlay District.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing No. 3 – Considers a zone change for a parcel on Balltown Road (lands of Wagner).
        Wayne Wagner, property owner, gave a history of the property and various zoning classifications.  With an R-3 zoning, he proposes a condo and townhouse development which he believes will meet the need for senior housing in Town.  With the industrial zoning in place, the property has been hard to sell to developers as evidenced by letters he read from various real estate agencies who have worked in his behalf to sell the property in the past.  
        An ABD Engineer representative discussed the rezoning and the proposed project.  They are willing to include a deed restriction on apartments if requested to do so by the Town.  Approximately 150 units are proposed.

        8172006_102642_0.png, is against the change of zone because of the additional traffic and noise it will bring. She heard no guarantee that apartments would not be built.  She is also concerned about wetlands and flooding and she prefers the industrial zoning.

          8172006_102642_0.png, stated that Niskayuna is a residential Town and the proposed zone change fits the scheme that Niskayuna is residential not an industrial Town.  Senior townhouses are appealing as we lack this type of housing

  8172006_102642_0.png, is concerned about the density of the development and setting a precedent. She requested that the Board review the Town Plan before approving this change to formulate what impact it will have in the long term and what impact it will have on our schools which are already overcrowded.
        Supervisor Smith remarked that as early as 1990 this property was zoned to allow a PUD.  

          8172006_102642_0.png, wants senior housing and sees a need as his
mother-in-law is on two waiting lists so she can downsize from her larger Niskayuna home.  She wants to stay in Niskayuna but it is difficult because of lack of housing.

             8172006_102642_0.png, spoke in favor of the change of zone to R-3.

              8172006_102642_0.png, is concerned that the natural beauty of the 60-acreas will be lost in their neighborhood.  He is also concerned about traffic and flooding, and that he heard no guarantee that apartments would not be permitted.  

             8172006_102642_0.png, spoke in favor of the zone change.

               8172006_102642_0.png,as a member of the Planning Board and project leader, stated that their goal is to limit the density and traffic.  If industrial use had materialized, she speculated that traffic would be far greater than with condos and townhouses.

                   8172006_102642_0.png, spoke in favor of the zone change.

        Public Hearing No. 4 – consider amending Code entitled Planning and Zoning Fees.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Smith closed this public hearing.


         8172006_102642_0.pngasked for help with 10” of standing water in the right of way of her home.  There is also 4-6” in the rear of her property.  She requested that the Town place a drainage basin in the right-of-way so the water has some place to go, and she is frustrated by
the inaction of the Highway Department.
        Supervisor Smith stated that the Town will have to determine if it is our responsibility as the Town Board cannot spend Town funds on private property.  He assured Ms. McWaters that he will check into the matter and get back to her within a week.   

           8172006_102642_0.png, also has standing water problems as do other neighbors in this area of South Country Club.  Richard Pollock and Matt Yetto were responsive to their calls.  

        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
        Resolution 2006-163 calls for a public hearing August 15 at 7:05 p.m. to consider the application of State Street Gas Plus, for the removal of a portion of an existing canopy and two fuel pump dispensers for the construction of a two bay car wash at the existing Mobile Gas Station at 3518/3522 State Street.

        Resolution 2006-164 calls for a public hearing August 15 at 7:10 p.m. to consider the proposed amendment to Chapter 220, Supplementary Regulations with respect to the maximum height allowed for fences in a side yard associated with swimming pools.

        Resolution 2006-165 authorizes the payment of expenses for a dangerous building at 582 St. David’s Lane, for a total amount of $31,150.32 assessed against the property, to be collected by the Receiver of Taxes.

        Resolution 2006-166 employs additional persons in the Recreation Program.

        Resolution 2006-167 appoints Matthew Lazzari, to the position of temporary Grounds Worker in the Parks Department, not to exceed 120 days, at a salary of $13.1724, without benefits, effective July 24, 2006.

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

Helen Kopke, Town Clerk

One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
Phone: (518) 386-4500 Fax: (518) 386-4592 | Hours: M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.