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Builders asked to put best face forward

Keeping backyards in the back and front yards in the front was the topic of discussion during the Tuesday, April 1, Bethlehem Planning Board meeting.

The board listened to a presentation for an alternative lot layout for Brookside Meadows, a 77-lot subdivision off of Clapper Road, and an amendment to the Dowerskill Village plans.

Representatives of Brookside Meadows presented two possible lot layouts for board members. The first showed the development with the front of the homes facing the road, and the second had the back of the properties facing the road.

Planning Board Chairman Parker Mathusa said he preferred to see the front of the homes from the road.

I wanted to promote the use of Clapper Road itself, Mathusa said. "The houses designed to face Clapper will give more of the community feeling to the development."

Mathusa said he and fellow board members didn't want to see the back porches, grills and other items one would see in the back of a home facing the roadway. The board voted nearly unanimously for the first plan, in a 6-to-1 vote.

Planning board member John Smolinsky vote for the second plan, saying he preferred the design with the back of houses facing the road.

The Brookside Meadows plans show 77 homes proposed inside of the complex off of Clapper Road, with an additional 13 homes being built off the road itself.

This is the second time Brookside Meadows developers have come before the board, but, according to Mathusa, "We still have more work to do."

Mathusa said more engineering plans were needed for issues such as sidewalks and water and sewer lines.

The Dowerskill Village is a proposed development in Glenmont that would include apartment houses. Wetland issues forced developers to change some plans and those houses are now, too, being proposed to face the road.

"A number of people in the community said they would like the apartments facing the road," Mathusa said. "To make it look like a normal street."

Planning Board Member Katherine McCarthy said that she also approved of the design changes.

"I appreciate the work the developer did to make preliminary adjustments," McCarthy said. "It's really important that developments look as nice as possible, and by having the front of houses face the main road, we achieve that.""

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