Schenectady County

Glenville senior living complex under review

Baptist Health Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has cleared an initial hurdle in its plans to build a

Baptist Health Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has cleared an initial hurdle in its plans to build an extensive complex made up of a nursing home, assisted-living center, individual senior homes, and retail and office space at the Horstman Farm property on Swaggertown Road.

The Glenville Environmental Conservation Commission on Monday gave a favorable recommendation for a zoning change for the property from suburban residential to mixed used planned development district. The Planning and Zoning Commission must review the request and the Town Board has the final say over zoning changes.

The project must also go through site review.

The proposal calls for a three-story, 126-unit assisted-living center and three-story, 120-unit independent-living center, 36-unit independent-living cottages and 21 individual nursing home units at 7 Swaggertown Road. In addition, the plan includes a one-story 3,850-square-foot retail building, 3,000-square-foot bank with drive-through and two-story building with 16,375 square feet of office space and 3,575 square feet of retail space.

Associate Administrator Tony Alotta told the commission that the project would be built in phases beginning with 60 assisted-living beds with room for another 66.

“We found there was a need in the community for assisted-living services,” he said.

Construction would take place over nine to 12 months.

Supervisor Frank Quinn on Tuesday said the Town Board generally supports the project.

“It’s a good organization and the town needs it. They, like everybody else, will go through the exact same policy and procedure steps like any organization will go through,” he said.

Quinn said town staff has been working with Baptist Health officials on explaining exactly what documentation they are required to submit.

Supervisor-elect Chris Koetzle said the incoming board has not been briefed on the issue and it would likely be on a work session agenda for January. The current board heard a presentation at a previous work session.

“The plans look like they were something that would fit the town well and I think offer a service to our elderly residents,” Koetzle said.

But resident Edward Flanagan, who lives on the corner of Swaggertown Road and Route 50, on Tuesday said he had several issues with the plan — namely traffic.

“I’ve been here 35 years. I can’t tell you the number of accidents we’ve had when people come out of Swaggertown Road without looking.”

Flanagan was not at Monday’s meeting but attended an information session put on by Baptist Health officials a couple months ago. He added that the project does not fit in with the master plan and said this type of development should go off Freemans Bridge Road.

“That’s an awful lot of stuff to pack in there,” he said.

He also has an issue with the fact that the development will be tax exempt and represent the loss of agricultural land.

Project phases

Future phases of the project would take place pending available financing, according to Alotta.

Liz Kormos, a project development consultant, explained that the cottages are part of a new model of providing nursing home care. Instead of an institutional model where people live with roommates and eat in a cafeteria, in these cottages a group of 12 people live together. Health professionals come to them to provide services and food is prepared on site.

“They’re starting to show studies that people eat better, do better. It’s more patient centered,” she said. “It’s really the way long-term care is going in the future and Baptist would like to provide it here in Schenectady County for the residents.”

Kormos said that the Glen Eddy campus on Consaul Road in Niskayuna is a good example of what this project would look like when fully built out.

Baptist Health officials had considered renovating and building on site but they did not have the space for this concept, she said.

Its current home on North Ballston Avenue in Scotia would become senior apartments once the plan is realized, according to Kormos.

The commission determined that the project would not negatively affect the environment. It did have some concerns that it passed on to the Planning and Zoning Commission, including traffic. The environmental commission wanted the developer to look at the possibility of extending the northbound lane on Route 50 onto Swaggertown Road and look at adding a left-turn lane from Swaggertown Road into the development.

Chairman David Bradley said he is concerned about the plan to drain storm water runoff from the property to Horstman Creek, which he said is frequently clogged with vegetation.

“It’s amazing how bad it floods down there,” he said.

He added that perhaps the developers could incorporate a rain garden into their plans as a way to mitigate that problem.

In addition, Bradley said he worried about the loss of open space and one of the last working farms in Glenville.

Another issue is that the planned unit development ordinance requires that the entire approved project be built out within four years. Kormos said that is a very aggressive time frame. Bradley advised the developers to seek a change from the Town Board.

Commission members appeared pleased with the application and the concept.

“I think it’s a welcome addition to this community and I think it will be well-needed,” said commission member Judy Buhrmaster.

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