Selkirk apartments pitched to planners

Blessings Corner to move to Town Board for rezone

The Bethlehem Planning Board Tuesday, April 6, tabled an application for an apartment development near the Jericho Drive-In in Selkirk but sent the developer away with generally positive comments.

Gordon Residential LLC is proposing the 53 units, which would be spread across seven buildings two to the north of Hague Boulevard and five to the south. Project engineer Dan Hershberg of Hershberg and Hershberg said the units would likely be around 1,400 square feet and priced around $1,600 per month, though those are rough estimates.

A small plot of land near the intersection of Hague and Route 9W would be left vacant for a possible future commercial use.

We think it's a good use for this particular site," he said. "The Gordons thought there was a need for apartments."

Surrounding neighbors feel differently, however. A petition was submitted with about 180 signatures that called for a detailed review of the project's impact on open space, traffic and the environment, and also asked that a public hearing be held.

As a straight site plan within the area's approved zoning use, the Planning Board would not be compelled to hold a public hearing, but could call one if it wished.

Hershberg said he would be happy to meet with concerned neighbors.

Much of the land the project sits on is designated federal wetlands, which would leave a gap between the proposed apartments and existing homes to the west.

Hershberg said preliminary traffic studies show a peak p.m. travel impact of 33 trips, which he argued would be unlikely to snarl traffic on Hague Boulevard or Route 9W.

"Because the volumes are so small, we don't feel there would be any impact on the intersections," he said.

Apartments would theoretically provide a greater tax base for the town than a similar grouping of condominiums because condos enjoy property tax exemptions under state law. Hershberg estimated the assessed value of the apartments would be around $90,000 a piece.

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