UPDATED: Wemple Corners said to fit town's vision

Rezoning request will go to Planning Board for review

Members of the Bethlehem Town Board generally have positive things to say about a proposal to build a huge hamlet-style development in Glenmont.

The Wemple Corners project came before the board for the first time Wednesday, May 27, to ask for a rezoning of the 95-acre property. The Town Board voted unanimously to forward this request along to the Planning Board for a recommendation, which is customary practice.

Donald Zee, local attorney for Milltowne Plaza Inc, of Massachussetts, laid out the scope of the development. Wemple Corners would be a new urbanism-style project, with a mix of townhomes, apartments, senior apartments, commercial and retail space. All said, Milltowne is seeking approval to erect up to 526 units of housing and build 145,000 square feet of offices and retail.

The vision is to have a mix of small stores, doctors offices and restaurants. Zee said a regional family restaurant chain has expressed interest, though he declined to name the business.

"We aren't talking about big box things, but more like mom and pop stores," he said.

It's been over a year since conceptual plans first came before the town, and since then much has been done, including a traffic study. The applicant is suggesting a roundabout be built at the intersection of 9W and Wemple and that sidewalks be installed in the area. Milltowne would cover that $3.1 million cost if approval is granted.

Zee said the developer has also been in talks with the Bethlehem Soccer Club, which owns fields just down Wemple Road. Milltowne would aim to build extra capacity into its sewer and water lines for a possible extension to the soccerplex, where the club is planning to build an indoor facility.

The land is currently zoned mixed economic development, which would actually allow many of the uses in the plan. Building senior housing would require the change to commercial hamlet. The town's Comprehensive Plan does identify this location as a good place for a hamlet development.

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