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GUILDERLAND: Deal would add to preserve

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve stands to gain nearly 30 acres of land following the Guilderland Planning Board approval of the concept for a two-lot subdivision at 3485 Lydius St. at its Wednesday, June 27, meeting.

Paul Sciocchetti, founder of Black Creek Associates, is under contract to purchase nearly 35 acres of land on Lydius Street from Victoria Wells, a local woman who has retired and moved to Florida.

Sciocchetti's company wants to divide the land into two lots. He said he is under contract to sell the larger, 30-acre lot to The Nature Conservancy, which will turn it over to the Pine Bush Preserve.

I spent a good part of two years trying to get this resolved, Sciocchetti said of his negotiations with Wells and The Nature Conservancy.

Neil Gifford, Pine Bush Preserve Commission conservation director, called the deal a "reasonable compromise."

Gifford said the plot sits on some wetlands and other environmental features the commission would like to protect, but he expressed concerns about the future of the smaller parcel, which includes sand dunes and other resources he said future developers should preserve.

Sciocchetti said Black Creek Associates has no plans yet for the remaining 5-acre parcel, but he mentioned that he might sell the land or build a one-family home there.

"That's mere speculation," he said. "We really don't have any plans at this point."

Sciocchetti still has to receive final approval from the planning board.

"Conceptually I don't see a problem with what's being proposed," said Stephen Feeney, board chairman. "It seems like a nice deal."

The board also returned to Bill Strassburg's proposed four-lot subdivision of 1.13 acres on McKown Road. The application was approved after it had stalled for months because of drainage concerns and a gas leak on the property at 1-3 McKown Road.

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