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Spa City planners frown on Railroad Run housing project

The Saratoga Springs Planning Board has not made a determination on a proposal to build 86 affordably priced townhouses behind the Price Chopper Plaza on Route 50, but judging from discussion at their Wednesday, Feb. 25, meeting, a majority of support does not exist on the Board.

It was technically early on Thursday when Chairman Clifford Van Wagner called for a motion to make a recommendation to the City Council on the rezoning of a narrow strip of land near the Railroad Run trail, where developer Gary Olsen hopes to place his development. The Board elected to put off a vote to allow more time for review and for a resolution to be drafted. They will meet again on Wednesday, March 11.

The Planning Board's decision will make or break the proposal, but will play a role in the council's determination on the proposed Planned Unit Development and zoning map amendment.

The Railroad Run project has been the topic of heated discussion for well over a year. Though all members of the planning board present--Laura Rappaport was not in attendance--acknowledged to need for affordable housing in the Spa City, several said that rezoning the parcel was not congruent with the city's comprehensive plan.

Others acknowledged protests from nearby residents, the most cited of which is concern that noise from the nearby shopping center will make the Railroad Run project uninhabitable.

Olsen has presented the city with two noise studies that he says indicate that noise at the site is within reasonable levels, and has built a 10 to 12-foot wall into his plans as a noise and sight mitigation measure.

\I'm at a loss as to what you can do but hire a licensed professional and let him do his tests, said Olsen after the meeting. "You're hearing people who do want to live there and do want to buy there...but people who live 100 feet further away say it's too noisy."

The proposal calls for two and three bedroom townhouses priced at $160,000 and $165,000, respectively.

The Planning Board also sent another applicant proposing a 85-lot subdivision off of Geyser Road known of the Beaver Pond Village back to the drawing board with a number of suggestions.

For more on this story, check back to www.spotlightnews.com or read the March 5 Saratoga County editions of Spotlight Newspaper.""

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