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Nisky apartment plan spurs rezone plea

Residents express concerns over proposed land development

— For almost 30 years, more than 30 acres have remained undeveloped despite the landowner’s wishes, but a possible rezoning would end the impasse.

The Niskayuna Town Board held a public hearing on the possible rezoning of 31 acres of land owned by Wayne Wagner off Balltown Road that is slated to have around 140 apartment units built on it.

All of the units would be connected to a new cul-de-sac. This is the first time a rezone has been proposed on the property, because in 2006 the land’s zoning changed from a general industrial, residential and professional zoning to a R-3 high-density residential district.

There was also a special restriction placed on the rezoned land that stated apartment complexes couldn’t be built. What can be developed on the land are townhouses, condominiums and single-family homes.

“You could not develop this for apartments,” said Tom Adress, of ABD engineers, representing Wagner. “The climate has changed since 2006.”

Conifer Reality LLC has expressed interest in building apartments on the property, according to Adress. The standard R-3 zoning would match the two properties to the southwest where there are not restrictions on apartments, he added, and he believes in matched zoning in the area.

The reason for the restriction in 2006 was a previous administration’s concern apartments could generate more traffic and children entering the school system, according to Adress. To quell previous concerns, he presented the board with a study from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, which stated apartments result smaller increases in traffic opposed to townhouses and condominiums. He said research on school age children yielded similar results, with single-family homes putting more children in the school district.

“The action to add the additional use of apartment use into the R-3 would not have any greater effect than existing uses that would be allowed in there,” said Adress. “This has been since the ‘80s … this has been the first real offer in 20 something years, so he is very interested in trying to go forward if the board does grant allowance of the apartment use.”

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