Town hears soccer dome update

Developer agrees to adjust building location at Wemple Road site

— Construction of the proposed soccer dome on Wemple Road is moving forward after developers agreed to move the location of where the facility would be built on the property.

An update of the project was presented to the Bethlehem Planning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 4. In November, the planning board asked for the dome to be erected in a proposed alternative location on the Northeast corner of the property so it would have less of a visual impact on residents.

The project received a height variance in July because at 55 feet, the structure’s plans were 20 feet higher than what is allowed for a building in a Rural Zone. A balloon test was held earlier that month at both the proposed site and alternate site on the property to get a visual sense of how high the building would be.

A special use permit allowing commercial recreation use at the site is still needed for the project to move forward.

The soccer facility is being proposed through a new partnership between the soccer club and Afrim Sports in Latham. Afrim Nezaj, owner of Afrim Sports, will be paying for the project and taking over day-to-day operations, with the soccer club acting as landlord.

The plans call for a 43,000-square-foot indoor, inflatable soccer dome to be built at 450 Wemple Road. Two regulation fields would be inside the facility. Also included would be a 3,000-square-foot lobby, which would hold offices, a concession stand and a small retail area for soccer equipment.

Nezaj has a similar project before the Zoning Board of Appeals in Colonie. He hopes to purchase property at 969 Watervliet Shaker Road but needs the location rezoned for amusement use. That proposed sports complex would include an 86,865-square-foot dome, four soccer fields, a 3,400-square-foot multi-use building and a parking lot with 377 parking spaces. The project is expected to go before the Colonie zoning board on Thursday, March 6.

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