BY KRISTIN SCHULTZ
NISKAYUNA — At its final meeting of the year, the Niskayuna Planning Board approved three resolutions, discussed a proposed solar array and looked at a plan for apartments on Nott Street.
Unlike previous meetings, which had seen an hour or more of public comment, only two people addressed the board, giving statements that lasted just 12 minutes.
Dr. Lyle Barlyn read a statement expressing concern about the proposed Holocaust Memorial while Leslie Gold spoke in favor.
The longest and sharpest conversation of the night came when civil engineer Luigi Palleschi of ABD Engineering presented a plan for 26 apartment units at 2340 Nott St. East. The property is owned by David Fusco.
This is not the first time the developer has gone before the board wanting to build in the R-3 (high density residential) area. As far back as 2012, there was a plan for townhomes and in 2015, Fusco brought the apartment plan to the board.
The first and largest sticking point was over the issue of waste removal. Current plans call for a large, DEC-approved Orenco septic system. The town is currently under a state moratorium that prohibits any new tie-ins to the sewer line. Niskayuna has until June to comply with the consent order or face additional fines. Town officials anticipate they will meet or beat the deadline, allowing future developments to access the sewer system.
Palleschi had his doubts.
“We felt that since the town is still under a sewer moratorium we didn’t want to tie up our hands with this project,” Palleschi told the board. “We’ve been told for years it would be lifted and have waited and waited.”
Board members pointed out that the wastewater treatment plant is undergoing dramatic upgrades including switching from chlorine-based sanitation to ultraviolet light. The multimillion-dollar project was funded via bonding.
The project is scheduled to wrap up this month with testing conducted early next year, according to officials.
Ultimately, Town Attorney Robert Hess told Palleschi that the board would not approve the project with a septic system. Board members encouraged Palleschi to do more research on the wastewater treatment plant upgrades, confer with lenders and submit an updated site plan that includes sewer tie-ins.
The next exchange involved the number of proposed apartments. When the project was first brought before the town, Fusco’s plan called for 26 units. Comments from a meeting last fall say that, based on the size of the lot, there can only be 25 units.
“For two years we were at 26 units,” Palleschi told the board. “Now we’re at 25. It sounds like we were misled from day one. If you want 25 units, I’ll talk to the developer. It doesn’t change the site plan.”
There was a public hearing on the development in September 2016. There was general community opposition as speakers raised concerns about traffic, character of streetscape, density, the septic system, the proposed name of the development (Nott’s Landing West) and more.
With the public hearing more than a year in the rearview mirror, board members wondered if another public hearing should be called. There was no resolution to that question and Town Planner Laura Robertson is looking into it.
Palleschi will likely appear again before the Planning Board in early 2018.
The board also approved a resolution granting more time to developers at Amedore Homes to submit their final plan for a 66-lot single family subdivision, to be named Harmon Grove, on Balltown Road just across from the GE Learning Center.
On Dec. 6, project executive John Bossalini requested the extension due to the complexities of the property including realigning Reilly Way with the GE property’s driveway and raising National Grid power lines.
Amedore now has until Dec. 26, 2018, to get approval.
The board also green-lighted a Benjamin Moore Paint Store for the space in the Raymour & Flanigan plaza vacated by Radio Shack at 480 Balltown Road.