Van Dyke Spinney project moves forward

The Bethlehem Planning Board listened to details of the long-anticipated Van Dyke Spinney Development project to the interest of many of the town's seniors and several of the nearby residents of the proposed site.

Developers describe the project as a nice senior citizen community for "active seniors" and have put an age restriction of 55 on the proposed 220 homes to be built on a 90-acre plot off of Van Dyke Road just south of Bethlehem High School.

Van Dyke Spinney will feature cottage-style housing; a community center with a pool and recreational facilities; a full-time, on-site coordinator; and access to a variety of "social, educational and cultural opportunities," according to the site plan.

R. Mark Dempf, a senior principal with Stantec Consulting, presented the plans to the board on Tuesday, June 17, and said builders hope to have homes ready for occupancy by 2009. The planning board described the occupancy date as "optimistic."

"It's a good design, but I think maybe there's too much there," said Chairman Parker Mathusa. "We understand the economics involved we just think it's too heavy."

Dempf told Planning Board members that the project's design will display three distinct styles of doors, different roof peaks, and different types of windows, and that "the row of garages are going to be internal on the site."

Mathusa said he appreciated the detail involved in creating the "unique little community," but he was concerned about traffic, considering the proposed site was half a mile from the high school and the newly built Eagle Elementary School.

Dempf told the board that a grant application was submitted to the Capital District Transportation Committee for between $500,000 and $600,000 in order to look at transportation issues involved with proposal.

The intersection of Mead Lane and Van Dyke Road was an issue of concern that has been brought up in previous planning board meetings.

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