Builders won't go Dutch on project

Dropping its original Dutch design, Van Dyke Spinney developers have opted for a Craftsman look for their proposed 216-unit retirement community.

Updated plans for the project, which is slated for construction off of Van Dyke Road and Meads Lane, were presented to the Bethlehem Planning Board at its Tuesday, Sept. 2, meeting.

Developers say they removed three buildings from the plans, as requested by the town, have made changes to the style and design of the proposed units, and are creating a multi-use pathway along Van Dyke Road as part of the new plans.

"Our main goal here was making sure the planning board was happy with our plans," said senior principal of the project, Mark Dempf. "The original theme was more of a Dutch theme but they felt like it looked too Disneyland for the project."

Dempf said the new style would give each building a more unique look.

"They were tired of that other look," Dempf said. "The Craftsman look is more of the look of old Delmar."

Each unit will have a different style door and have large overhangs and porches to give the project a "comfy home feel," according to Van Dyke Spinney architect, Jamie Copeland of Hudson Design.

"It's a very buildable design with welcoming appearance of deep overhangs and porches," Copeland told the board. "They're [units] for seniors, and we are trying to make it easier for them to live alone. If everything looked the same, people could get lost."

Planning board members in general seemed pleased with the new design scheme, but Bethlehem's assistant director of economic development and planning, Michael Morelli, said they board is now waiting for a more detailed look of the project including grading, infrastructure needs, water and sewer designs, landscaping, and other details from developers.

"The board had asked them to scale back on the northern end of the site, and they took out three of the buildings closer to Van Dyke Road," said Morelli.

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