COLONIE The Loudon House project has popped back into the political realm after a four-year hiatus and has become a hot topic for residents and politicians, but the real problem appears to stem from a lack of communication between residents and neighborhood associations.
There have been two meetings on the condo project in September, both of which had lasted nearly three hours, where several residents have voiced opposition to a project they felt they were never even notified about.
The current administration in Colonie has indicated it has done its best to notify residents but has been restricted by what is laid out in the town’s Land Use Law, which was created by the previous administration.
The final site approval for BCI Construction Services to develop luxury condominiums on the site of the former Eamonn’s Loudon House, an Irish Bar, was issued in 2007, when Mary Brizzell served as town supervisor.
The developer was issued a building permit in 2008 during Supervisor Paula Mahan’s tenure. Since then, the project had come to a road block when the economy tanked, at which point all operations stalled, leaving two tall elevator shafts standing upright and alone along with a trailer that sat on the property until it was removed just a few weeks ago.
The developer, Mike Benson, eventually proposed building apartments instead of luxury condominiums, but was shot down on Sep. 13, after vocal public condemnation of the project. He has since dropped the proposal, and the Town Board and Planning Board voted against it as well in recent weeks.
Several residents, though, are not satisfied with where things stand.
Public support vs. public perception
Benson and the original developer, David Hayes, have pointed to the backing of the Loudonwood East Homeowners Association and some members of the Greater Loudonville Association. Current Republican candidate for supervisor Denise Sheehan, who was director of the Planning and Economic Development Department at the time of the original approval, said Hayes did a lot of work with the neighbors and held several meetings with the general public.