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Colonie changes developer notification rules

Resident concerns result in amendment to town code, effects will be monitored

— After several weeks of discussion, the Colonie Town Board voted unanimously on Thursday, April 11, to amend the town code and expand neighbor notifications requirements for developers.

Previously, the town code had no requirement to provide specific notification to neighbors of construction projects, and developers had been notifying neighbors within 200 feet of a proposed project as a “courtesy,” Supervisor Paula Mahan said.

Under the amended town code, the required notification radius varies by the type of project. The notification radius is now 500 feet in single- and multi-family residential zones, for a PDD, for variance application and for rezoning greater than an acre. It is 250 feet for a redevelopment site plan, for special use permits in single- and multi-family residential zones and for rezoning of less than an acre. The notification radius is 1,000 feet for wireless telecommunications projects, or cell towers.

The change was made following resident inquiries, and two public hearings were held. At both, many residents asked the board to consider a 1,000 feet radius across the board, because they still felt the 250 and 500 feet were not enough notification. Mahan said she believed the town struck “a balance that was fair to both sides” with the adopted radii. She argued since there was previously nothing in the town code regarding notification, it would have been too much of a jump to go from zero to 1,000 feet.

Mahan said a lot of the initial concern had originated from projects like the Loudon House, whose developers wanted to change that planned development district from condominiums to apartments. Many neighboring residents had complained to the town that they weren’t given adequate notice about the PDD changes.

“The Loudon House was certainly an example of poor planning,” Mahan said.

Town officials said they would test out the new notification requirements and if they aren’t enough, they can be amended later on.

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