ROTTERDAM: Public worries about water

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Rotterdam planning commission unanimously voted that, under the state environmental quality review act (SEQRA), the proposed Helderberg Meadows would not have a significantly adverse effect on the environment.

The 314-acre parcel of land, located north of County Line Road, south of the Thruway and bisected by Guilderland Road, is being developed by several parties calling themselves Helderberg Meadows LLC. The plans consist of 161 single-family lots and 100 condominium units broken up into two parts.

The plans have been before the planning commission since 1997 and have changed several times, including the elimination of a golf course and several lots. The project's current plan would set aside 63 percent of the land for conservation.

At the Tuesday, Feb. 6 meeting, the main concerns about the project were about Masullo Estates, the neighborhood next to the project. Masullo Estates has had many problems with high water tables and flooding in the past.

Planning commission mem-bers said they had no reason to believe Helderberg Meadows would have any adverse effects on Masullo Estates and would pass all aspects of SEQRA.

Planning commission vice chairman Frank Renna said, There is no way I would be in favor of the project if I wasn't assured that there would be no negative impact to Masullo Estates, and I have been assured by three different engineers that it wouldn't, so I'm changing my opinion.

Engineer Brett Steenburgh assured the planning commission and town residents that the project's storm water management plan would ensure that no more water would back up into Masullo Estates and Joel Bianchi, the town's independent engineer, agreed.

Residents were not convinced, and many voiced their opinions during the public hearing. Their main concerns were about water, additional traffic in the area and the safety of the development.

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