COLONIE – The developer who proposed building a 110-unit independent living senior apartment complex on Forts Ferry Road is pulling the plan off the table.
In the coming months, Frank Nigro said he would propose another project for the 13-plus acre site that is already in line with current zoning regulations and one that would not need any variances from the town.
“It is perplexing to us why we were criticized for wanting to build three stories when the zoning already allows three stories and the other senior housing developments in town are all three stories,” he said.
Nigro’s team made a conceptual presentation to the Planning Board in March and was met with heavy criticism from neighbors living in area. While not against the concept of senior-specific housing, most who spoke against the project said it was too large and too intrusive.
The area is currently zoned Office Residential, and Nigro wanted the Planning Board to approve a Planned Development District to allow a project that is 100 percent residential. An OR zone allows 80 percent commercial and 20 percent residential, and commercial requirements can be exchanged at 3,000 square-foot per one-foot of residential space, said Joseph LaCivita, director of the town Planning and Economic Development Department.
At the presentation in March, the Nigro team pitched the belief one building for seniors would have significantly less impact than three buildings equaling some 235,000-square-foot and a three-deck parking garage, which is currently allowed under the current zoning.
“It’s unfair to compare what we wanted to do to vacant land,” Nigro said. “A better comparison is to look at what we wanted to do and what is allowed at the site. We are sympathetic to the neighbors concerns, they have a right to be concerned, but what we proposed would have had a lesser impact than what is allowed.”
The 146,500-square-foot building would have catered to senior
citizens and included an indoor pool and recreational facilities similar to developments Nigro built in Saratoga and North Greenbush.
To satisfy requirements of the PDD, Nigro would have constructed some 1,200 feet of new sidewalk along Forts Ferry Road at an estimated cost of $200,000.
Another pitch the Nigro team made in March was that there is a need for senior housing in the Town of Colonie.
Neighbors didn’t dispute that fact, but Suzanne Maloney, of Save Colonie: A Partnership for Planning, said the town needs a comprehensive plan in place before it can approve a project of that magnitude.
“The neighbors really got together and were well-informed and they positioned themselves in such a way their case could not be denied,” she said. “The project itself wasn’t horrible, but this community is still grappling with what it wants to be, and one of our mantras is if you want to develop something in an existing neighborhood it should not have a negative impact on that neighborhood.”
Nigro said he hopes to have something solid on his new project to present to the Planning Board by June.