Colonie mulls the future look of Central Ave. corridor

Village of Colonie officials and advisory committee members sat down Tuesday, Jan. 23, with business owners along the Central Avenue corridor to field remarks about design proposals aimed at upgrading the portion of Central Avenue that dissects the village.

The public comment period on the proposed guidelines, which are outlined in a 25-page document, will remain open until Feb. 21.

Synthesis, the Schenectady-based urban planners and architects who developed the guidelines, hosted the presentation.

Officials said they had hoped the turnout would have been better -- only a handful of businesses showed up -- but are confident the guidelines will do well to serve the future appearance of the corridor without hitting the pockets of its businesses.

This is something looking forward, it's not retroactive. Some (business people) were fearful of that, said village trustee Tom Tobin, who sits on the guideline study advisory committee. "We just want to keep looking forward. When I look back over the last 20 years and look at Central Avenue now and then, there has been steady improvement."

The guidelines would continue to facilitate those improvements, he said, by promoting better signage, pedestrian access to the busy thoroughfare, and pushing for design standards to guide future development.

At last week's meeting Tobin, fellow trustees and members of the committee assured area businesses that the plan looks to the future and will "grandfather in" existing establishments. That is until they seek to update landscaping, parking, sidewalks, lighting and various other improvements, he said.

According to the document's introduction, the changes will be gradual -- one property at a time.

The point of the plan is to look 20 years into the future of the corridor so, after time, builders and developers come under a common theme, said Ronald Laberge, of Laberge Engineering and Consulting Group off of Wolf Road.

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