Project approved over protests

Planning Board OKs two buildings in split vote after neighbors raise concerns

— The Colonie Planning Board gave the green light on Tuesday, May 8, for construction of two retail and office buildings on Albany-Shaker Road over protests of neighbors.

The developer of the project targeted for 447 Albany Shaker Road will have to make some aesthetic adjustments before putting shovels in the ground. The plan has been before the town since early 2011. The Planning Board was not pleased with the original 20,000-square-foot plans and since then, the project was scaled back to a total of 12,250 square feet. A new bank is targeted for one building and a mixed used retail/office space for the other.

The 1.7-acre property has been owned by a family for the past 31 years and they recently decided to redevelop the property, according to Victor Caponera Jr., of The Caponera Law Firm P.C. The lot sits next to both residential and commercial property. Caponera said developers met with some of the adjacent neighbors on May 1 to discuss any of their concerns and thoughts about the project.

One issue discussed was having an 8-foot fence built, with an additional 2 feet of decoration around the property to create a sound buffer. Caponera said they would do a 6-foot vinyl fence and that the new building would not create any extra noise on top of what already comes off of Albany-Shaker Road. Many of the residents said they wanted the higher fence not only for the sound buffering but also to have a barrier with a more natural material. Board Member Brain Austin said the property owners would only have to maintain their side.

“A more natural material fence is much more maintenance,” Board Member Brian Austin said to the residents. “You would have to go out and maintain (the other side).”

Other issues brought up included additional traffic on the road and lighting from the property at night. Caponera said the buildings would only feature downward lights that shine on the property with low illumination that would not go out into neighboring homes.

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