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Railroad Run makes tracks to board

A developer who wants to turn a stretch of land behind the Price Chopper on Ballston Avenue into a group of affordably priced townhouses will present his case to the Saratoga Springs Planning Board on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

The Planning Board scratched the project from its Jan. 14 meeting agenda to allow for more time to review the materials. Developer Garry Olsen will be seeking a positive recommendation from the seven-member committee, who will give their advice to the City Council. The Council will decide whether or not to approve a PUD, or planned unit development, near the Railroad Run walking trail.

In past months, Olsen has taken the city's comments and gone back to the drawing board. The number of units has dropped to 86, and the developer said he feels that concerns about noise, light, traffic and storm drainage have been addressed.

He also plans to implement measures to control the appreciation and resale of the units to make sure the price doesn't balloon and the affordable housing becomes expensive. The three-bedroom homes will be priced around $155,000.

We've been listening to the information the city has been passing along, so we're putting into place more checks and balances to make sure the buyers of the units are truly who it's intended for, said Olsen.

And who might the typical buyer of a Railroad Run property be? According to Olsen, the ideal candidates are young families looking for a first home and making $40,000 per year. He said the project has received support from Saratoga Hospital and the city's school system because oftentimes nurses and young teachers can't afford to live within the city.

"I 100 percent believe that there is a tremendous demand for this," Olsen said. "If we get it approved, we'll sell out in two to three months."

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