CARS HOMES JOBS

Halfmoon apartment plans worry citizen group

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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— A developer says he’ll continue to pursue a 144-unit apartment complex even as a citizen group critical of new apartment buildings asks the town for a development moratorium.

In plans for Outlook Ridge, Lou Lecce has proposed 12 buildings with 12 units each on 28 acres on Cary Road at the north end of the town. Because it is zoned industrial and apartment buildings aren’t allowed in the zone, Lecce has proposed it as a planned development district, which allows the developer and town officials to map out custom zoning for a property.

Lecce said he isn’t familiar with the Future Halfmoon citizen group that has criticized the PDD process and asked town officials for a development moratorium. But he said an apartment complex will have less impact on the community than an industrial development, and that particular area is good for apartments.

“I just think the area’s conducive to apartments vs. single-family homes,” Lecce said. It is three miles from the Malta Technology Park and abuts railroad tracks.

The property also could become part of the extended Zim Smith trail. Lecce is proposing developing that property’s portion of the trail, which currently ends near Coons Crossing Road nearby.

To complete its portion of the trail, the town needs to get about five other homeowners to sign on, something officials plan to do piecemeal as opportunity allows, said senior town planner Jeff Williams.

Lecce also would extend public water along Cary Road as part of the plan. In the complex, he envisions each building having three, three-bedroom apartments, five two-bedroom units and four one-bedroom apartments. Each unit also would have a garage space and a total of two parking spaces per unit.

Lecce, an attorney in Latham, also was the developer behind Swatling Falls off Upper Newtown Road, a development of single-family and attached twin homes.

With more than 400 housing units throughout the town under review by town officials and nearly 900 more in the earlier concept phase, resident Deanna Stephenson has asked the Town Board to consider a moratorium on all development until the town updates its comprehensive plan.

Stephenson, co-founder of the Future Halfmoon group, also wants the town to do environmental studies on undeveloped land. The town comprehensive plan was last updated in 2003. She plans to send a letter to town officials formally requesting a moratorium.

The comprehensive plan needs to address each property that hasn’t been developed yet, as well as address broader questions about things like green space and sidewalks, Stephenson said.

“Time is certainly not on our side,” she said, adding that developments are “coming fast and furious.” She said the Future Halfmoon group is “not anti-development,” but rather wants “smart growth.”

Town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon on the issue.

In other business, the Halfmoon Planning Board on Monday approved the townhouse development Inglewood off Cemetery Road. Also a PDD, it calls for 27 units on nearly 10 acres.

 
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