COLONIE — A plan to combine three lots on Everett Road and construct a four-story, 153-unit building for middle income seniors is in front of the Planning Board for consideration.
The developer, Crisafulli Associates, is asking for a Planned Development District, which will allow more density than the current Neighborhood Commercial Office Residential allows.
“We believe there is a large opportunity in the affordable or middle market space,” Michael Crisafulli told the Planning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 4. “A lot of the housing you see are very expensive or subsidized. We are not a non-profit entity, and we are subject to all of the property taxes so we cannot compete with the subsidized housing but we believe, because we build, develop, manage and we do everything ourselves, we can get to a price point that will capture this audience.”
He said demographic studies show the total population within a five-mile radius of the building will grow by 1.2 percent by 2023. But, the number of those between 65 and 74 years old will grow by 14.5 percent, the number of those between 75 and 84 will grow by 14.1 percent and those older than 85 will grow by 4.1 percent.
The apartments would be restricted to residents aged 55 and older. As proposed, there are 94 one-bedroom apartments, 54 would have two bedrooms and there would be five studio apartments. The studios would rent for about $1,300 a month with the one-bedrooms going for between $1,300 and $1,500 a month and the two bedrooms would rent for about $1,900, Crisafulli said.
“This represents a very large growth in the senior audience,” he said, adding that senior housing in Colonie shows a 99 percent occupancy rate. “It’s been well documented in the recent years and our research shows there is a large need for additional senior housing projects in Colonie.”
Proposed amenities include a lounge, common area kitchen, fitness room, salon/barber shop and a library.
As proposed, there would be a shared access onto Everett Road with the American Legion Joseph E. Zaloga Post. There was some discussion about having the main access point on Duffy Road, but the engineer, Dan Hershberg, said that would bring traffic to a residential neighborhood rather than the already heavily trafficked Everett Road.
A secondary access point to Duffy Road, that leads to a traffic signal onto Everett Road was also discussed and will be explored further with a required detailed traffic study. A signalized intersection is easier to navigate when traffic is heavy.
“I would really like you to consider Duffy Street as an alternative in and out,” said Planning Board member Craig Shamilan. “I just feel the age of the people you are targeting will need an alternative way out and having access to a light is important.”
According to the narrative submitted to the Planning Board, there will be a total of 31 trips generated by the development during the morning peak traffic hours and 38 during the afternoon hours.
There would be 240 parking spots including 60 in garages. That equates to 1.57 spots per unit. Existing code calls for two spots per unit in multi-unit housing, but a PDD would waive that requirement. Generally, senior housing requires about 1.2 spots per unit.
The one single family home on the three lots would be demolished. Of the total 10 acres, the building will take up about 1.5 percent, or 1.5 acres. About two acres would be pavement or sidewalks and 6.5 acres, or 65 percent of the site, would be greenspace.
Under the current NCOR zoning, developers could have a footprint of 15,000 square feet while the proposed building is 49,400. The maximum overall square footage allowed under NCOR is 45,000 square feet while this building is proposed at just under 200,000 square feet. The maximum height allowed under NCOR is 40 feet while the proposed building is about 60 feet.
Other uses, like single family or medical office space, would generate more traffic though, the developers said.
“We believe, to develop this property with the least impact on the traffic and fulfill the largest need, we cannot do that under the NCOR zoning that is why we are seeking a PDD,” Hershberg said. “Senior housing generates the least amount of traffic compared to the alternatives.”
The Planning Board will need to make a recommendation, positive or negative, to the Town Board, regarding the PDD application. The project will also need an Open Development Area because it will not have an exclusive access onto a main thoroughfare but will instead share it with the legion post.
The required public benefit associated with an PDD will also need to be negotiated between the town and the developer.
“The PDD exists for types of sites and projects that don’t fit into a box,” Crisafulli said. “This is a major need we all know about. This fits that need and while it is large in both height and square footage it is minimally impactful on the surrounding environment given the use and unites per acre.”
The sketch plan presentation is the first step in the process and it will need to comeback before a recommendation is made to the Town Board. If the PDD and ODA are approved the Planning Board will need to approve the final site plan before construction can begin.