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COLONIE — The Planning Board and residents gave a cool reception to a plan to construct 158 apartments and a senior housing facility on 23 acres of land off Albany Shaker Road.
The project, located between Rustyville and Wolf roads, is a scaled back version of one proposed in June which called for 204 apartment units in seven, three-story buildings, a one-story, 61-unit senior housing facility and a 1,500-square-foot building for retail.
The apartments in the latest incarnation would be market-rate, smaller studio and one bedrooms units housed in two, three story buildings. The retail outlet is eliminated while the senior housing facility would remain the same.
The site is zoned Single Family Residential but the developer, Radtke Family Limited Partnership, is requesting a Planned Development District, which would allow for multi-family units and more density.
It includes a pool, community gardens, barbeque areas and walking trails.
The latest plan increases greenspace from 68 percent to 74 percent of the total acreage, and the original 64 garages are now changed to car ports to discourage people from using them for storage, instead of cars and cause a shortage of parking spaces. The total number of parking spots is about 1.6 per unit or 251 spots. It is below the required two per unit and the Radtkes are requesting a waiver.
The number of curb cuts along the proposed road was shrunk to two from four with the two nearest the circles eliminated.
Ben Radtke and his family, would own and manage the site. The family would also turn over to the town some seven acres of land and construct a road connecting the traffic circles at Maxwell Road on Albany Shaker Road and that of Winners Circle near the Capital Communications Federal Credit Union.
Radtke said his grandparents owned a farm off Albany Shaker Road from the ’30s and worked it until the ’50s when they subdivided and built single family homes and duplexes. The family constructed Knauf Lane, named after his grandparents, and Bonnie Court is named after his sister, he said.
“Myself and my two sisters were born on Rustyville Road and my sisters still reside on Rustyville,” he told the Planning Board. “And we own other property on Rustyville. Now we want to put in this development, and retain this development for generations to come.”
The connector road running parallel to Wolf Road has been long talked about and would help alleviate traffic on the north end of one of the busiest thoroughfares in the Capital District. It would also be the last piece in a parallel to Wolf Road running from Albany Shaker Road to Colonie Center, said Joe Grasso, the town’s designated engineer for the project.
The Radtkes are proposing to donate the two acres necessary to build the road to the town along with some five acres of wetlands and land used for stormwater management to the town instead of paying mitigation fees as required under the Airport Generic Environmental Impact Statement.
The senior housing facility would be developed and operated by Brickford Senior Living, a Kansas City-based company with 58 similar developments across the U.S. It would cater to seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and have amenities such as a secure courtyard in the middle of the one-story, 39,648-square-foot building.
Despite the narrative submitted to the town claiming the project provides a “transition from the intense office and commercial use at Winners Circle and Albany Shaker Road and adjacent areas to the Rustyville residential neighborhood,” residents in the area were not buying it, citing traffic along the already congested Albany Shaker Road corridor and the density of even the scaled down project as concerns.
Steve Grady, who owns a home on Rustyville Road, said he would prefer single family homes built on the land.
“I’ve lived in the Town of Colonie for 45 out of the 47 years of my life. My parent live here. I’ve been paying taxes here. We are looking to maintain a single family area. They are trying to generate revenue for their family for the next 100 years. How does that benefit the town?” said Rustyville Road resident Steve Grady. “We want people in our community who are buying 400,000 to 500,000 homes. Who will invest in the community and maybe stay for a generation. When you bring in apartments they are not vested. They stay for a year or two. “
“It’s too dense,” said fellow resident Rose Pedisano. “The character of our neighborhood has been changing. Our community is changing and not for the better. All the hotels and the apartment buildings … There are too many people and too much traffic.”
The presentation in front of the board was for a revised sketch plan review and no formal action was taken.