Several Glenmont residents who went before the Bethlehem Planning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 5, disapproved of a plan to build a new housing subdivision off of Jolley Road.
At a public hearing for the project, residents aired concerns such as privacy, trespassing, establishing barriers between property lines and an increase in traffic.
The plan proposed by LDM Management and known as Legends Preserve has been before the town for about eight years and has been updated several times to fit the needs of the community and town zoning. Tom Andress from ABD Engineering was at the meeting to answer questions from residents.
“The town has regulations that will allow you conservation subdivision status, which is a conventional subdivision with some bonus density for lots based upon the amount of empty space and quality of open space that you provide to be preserved,” said Andress.
The project plans call for 102 single-family units to be built on about 75.5 acres of land adjacent to the state Thruway and Lady Help of Christian Cemetery. Since the project is being pitched as a conservation subdivision, 50 percent of the land, or 42 acres, would need to remain undisturbed, open space.
The project would involve lengthening Jolley Road, as well as extending water and sewer lines. The development would be looked after by a homeowner’s association.
Rick Touchette, the director of cemeteries for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, had concerns about the proximity of several planned units to the property line of Lady Help of Christian Church Cemetery. He asked for a forever-wild buffer to be put in place between the properties because the backs of some units would be as little as 20 feet from the lot line.
“I think that would be disrespectful to the cemetery,” he said.
Andress told the Planning Board the area is already wooded and argued that could act as a natural buffer, but Touchette said they would like to see more.
“Our cemetery property is meant to be used for cemeteries and if it’s undeveloped now, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be undeveloped,” said Touchette. “We can’t really say if our area that’s wooded now is going to be developed, but that can’t be the buffer. If there’s going to be a buffer it’s got to be on the other side.”
But the most common issue raised was a possible increase in traffic in the area. Some residents said it can take 20 minutes at high traffic times to make it across the intersection of Glenmont Road and Route 9W, and others said the road can be backed up for miles.
Andress said a traffic study estimated Legends Preserve would add 70 cars to the road. Some residents questioned how a development of 120 units, many of which would probably have multiple cars, would have such a slight impact.
Andress said a standard formula is used to determine the number of cars and impacts, but residents asked him to be realistic about the number and plan for more.
Planning Board members said concerns from the community would be taken into account before the project can move forward.