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Nisky compromise

Sidewalk along Consaul Road to be completed

Monday, November 12, 2012
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Nisky compromise


Oakmont Road resident Jim Sefcik looks at the abrupt end to the sidewalk along Consaul Road in Niskayuna.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Oakmont Road resident Jim Sefcik looks at the abrupt end to the sidewalk along Consaul Road in Niskayuna.

— A compromise has been reached between the town of Niskayuna and a homeowner’s association over completion of a portion of sidewalk along busy Consaul Road, officials said.

The agreement calls for the association to pay for the materials for the project, at a cost of about $5,000, and the town to provide labor to do the work.

The deal gets the sidewalk in line to be built as soon as possible, but also leaves open the possibility of reimbursement, Town Supervisor Joe Landry said, should the town recover money from the developer who was supposed to build the sidewalk but never did.

James F. Sefcik, president of the Hummingbird Manor Homeowners Association, had pressed for the sidewalk in a series of e-mails earlier this year as part of a longer-term effort to get the walkway built.

He credited Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw with suggesting the deal. He said he jumped at it, noting the association had already budgeted the amount in anticipation of such a compromise.

“I think it’s in the best interests of everybody to get it down before the snow flies this year,” Sefcik said. “It will make it safer for everyone.”

The section at issue is on the north side of Consaul Road, between Oakmont Street and a dead-end section of sidewalk leading out of the Hannaford Plaza.

Many in the Hummingbird Manor development are older and walk to the nearby Hannaford. But that has been made difficult, if not impossible, without a sidewalk, especially in the wintertime, Sefcik has said.

The town had already been working on the issue in the courts. The town filed a lawsuit in October 2011 against CW Custom Builders and four individuals connected to the company.

The lawsuit cites the history of the project, which got its initial approvals in 2001. It was then deemed substantially complete by July 2008.

As conditions on the initial approvals, though, the sidewalk was to be built and the town’s Becker Street wastewater pump station was to be upgraded. Neither condition was met, according to the suit.

The town has a default judgment in the case, Landry said, and is now trying to enforce it. The deal to get the sidewalk in place won’t impact those efforts, he said.

The entire section of sidewalk is expected to cost about $15,000. The town is purchasing the materials for about $5,000 and will be reimbursed by the homeowner’s association, which would have to pay more if it bought the materials itself. Town employees will provide about $10,000 worth of labor building the sidewalks.

“It turns out they were willing to meet us halfway,” McGraw said. “They were willing to pay for part of it.”

At a committee meeting Friday, the issue with the sidewalk led to discussion of ensuring developers comply with the terms of their agreements.

The town has used more weapons in recent years, officials said, to keep developers accountable, including holding letters of credit to fund the projects and holding permits until the agreed-upon pieces are put in.

Sefcik said he is just pleased the sidewalk issue will now soon be resolved.

“I’m just happy it looks like it will be over and done with,” he said.

 
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