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Residents discourage proposed rezoning

Public hearing draws criticism from neighbors of proposed apartment complex site

Neighbors of the proposed zoning change in Rotterdam off Fuez Road have banded together to say they don't want apartments in their community.

The Rotterdam Town Board held a public hearing on Wednesday, March 9, for a comprehensive plan amendment and zoning change to 6.38 acres from A-1 Agriculture to R-3 Multi-Family Residential to make way for garden apartments to be built. A petition was presented to the board including 9 out of 10 residents living within 100 feet of the proposed zone change expressing opposition. With over 20 percent of the of the adjacent property owners signing a petition the board would need a super majority of the members to vote to approve the zoning change.

It is not a logical fit and would not add value to the area. It would destroy the character of an existing single family home neighborhood, said Elizabeth Contompasis, County Walk Road resident overlooking the proposed rezoning. "A property development of this sort would have a severe negative impact on our property value."

Many of the nearby residents that spoke said adding apartments to the neighborhood just really doesn't make sense with the surrounding one -family houses. There was also a concern raised about the safety of the community being affected.

"Rental property is not always kept up as nicely and statistically tends to increase crime reports," said Contompasis. "Even a nice apartment building does not ensure that in 10 years it would not be run down. I think the neighborhood would be better severed with single family owned housing."

Bill Barber, the developer for the proposed apartments, spoke out and said there shouldn't be the opposition to apartment housing in the neighborhood. In the tough economic conditions, Barber said it seems the town would look to "positively exploit" resources in the town.

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