COLONIE — A proposal to build 80 homes along Denison Road got a cool reception by the Planning Board as a number of concerns were raised about the density and traffic on the busy cut through between Central Avenue and Route 7.
The project, presented by C.T. Male Associated on behalf of Charlew Construction, of Schenectady, is in a conservation overlay district, which allows for smaller lots than the standard 18,000 square feet called for by the current Single Family Residential zoning requirements. In theory, the higher density allows more greenspace.
As proposed, the 103-acre site would have 80 residential units built on 63 acres while about 40 acres would remain greenspace. There would be 11 lots for storm water management, Dominick Arico, of C.T. Male, told the Planning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
The smallest lot size would be 10,532 square feet with the largest being 123,865 square feet. There would be a variety of housing styles.
There was some discussion on how much open space is required, and the amount of constrained and unconstrained land has to be solidified before that determination is made, said Joe Grasso, the Town Designated Engineer on the project. Also, it must be determined how much of the land can be developed considering the site’s topography, which consists of a “complex of ridge and swale areas,” according to the narrative submitted to the Planning board. There are also protected wetlands on the site, located across Denison from another development, Forrest Hills.
“I think there are too many lots,” said Planning Board member Craig Shamilan. “I’m not sure if it is a conservation overlay or conservation district. It almost sounds like some of this open space you can’t build on anyway. It’s wetlands or it’s too much slope.”
In June, 2018, the Planning Board gave a positive recommendation to the Town Board to allow an Open Development Area at the site. At the time, the project included the construction of three single family homes.
Planning Board member Steven Heider said he is concerned about the density, drainage and the traffic.
“It appears you are building a road along the ridge and I am concerned about the water on the east side of the road. I would like to know where that water is going to go,” he said. “I think this is the perfect area not to have houses on Denison Road. Traffic on Vly and Denison is relatively heavy and there is an elementary school down the road. I’m not saying it can’t be built, or won’t be built, but the less curb cuts on Denison Road the better.”
Planning Board Chairman Peter Stuto said the board needs to know how much constrained land there is and specifically where the acreage is located on the site.
“I don’t agree with any curb cuts on the main road. You can keep putting them on the rendition but if it were today I would not vote for any curb cuts on that road,” he said. “I also think the density is too much and I think you should consider less lots and consider squeezing things down and maybe have contiguous green space.”
He also questioned if the number of homes proposed would impact the existing neighbors water pressure.
The project was presented as a sketch plan review, which is a way to introduce it to the Planning Board. It will need to come back to the board for “concept acceptance” and then final site plan review before construction can start.
There is no public comment during a sketch plan review, but there were a number from the public in attendance. When the 75-unit Forrest Hills plan was working its way through the process, the Birchwood Neighborhood Association did take its opposition to the plan to the courts. Denison Road turns into Birchwood Lane at the town of Niskayuna line.