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Slow movement on housing developments

Legends at Bethlehem

A long-discussed housing project on Jolley Road in Glenmont is going through another change, as the Bethlehem Planning Board considered a new application regarding the development.

An engineer and a developer speaking for the Legends at Bethlehem project detailed their proposal for a conservation subdivision, which would allow for a portion of the property to be conserved as open space.

Board members quizzed the two men about the layout of the 112-unit development. 22 townhouses, 28 twin-style homes, and 62 standalone single-family houses have been proposed, with a price range in the mid-$200,000s to upper $300,000s.

Engineer Tom Andress disagreed with Board Chairman George Leveille about the amount of open space that would need to be in place for the project to receive incentives from the town for conserving open space.

“My interest is to learn how much developable land you are now setting aside to take advantage of the incentives that we offer for conservation subdivisions,” Leveille said.

“It’s a formulation that someone put together to just come up with what a minimal number of acres of open space is,” said Andress.

Leveille said to receive the requested conservation designation, the developers must meet the minimum amount of non-constrained, or developable land, that needs to be set aside. Andress said that isn’t what he reads in the town’s laws on meeting the requirements.

Both agreed that about 40 of the 75 acres are considered constrained land. The argument is over the 35 acres left, and whether the developer must protect 40 percent of that usable space or 40 percent of the entire site.

Board members also asked about the possibility of the open space being donated to a not-for-profit organization. Andress said that was not in the proposal that is before the town.

There was also a conversation about the creation of a homeowner’s association within the development, and how that would factor into the maintenance and upkeep of the open space.

The project has taken many turns, having first been proposed more than four years ago. Board members voted to table the application for a conservation subdivision pending resolution of the dispute over how much open land is needed.

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