Schenectady County

Rotterdam inspects former Army housing complex

Sync Realty will have to make some modifications to bring the newly rezoned Rotterdam Housing Area u

Sync Realty will have to make some modifications to bring the newly rezoned Rotterdam Housing Area up to code, but nothing too substantial.

As promised, Rotterdam’s team of building inspectors visited the former military housing complex off Duanesburg Road last month and forwarded a three-page report of their findings to the Town Board last week. Speaking generally, Town Attorney Michael Godlewski said, the violations found in the buildings are considered “minor infractions” that can be corrected fairly easily.

“There is no gross negligence,” he said Wednesday.

The report found that 18 smoke alarms were either defective or missing throughout the complex, which includes five multi-family buildings, one two-family structure and a single-family residence. The inspectors also found 13 defective or missing carbon monoxide detectors.

Other critical findings include electrical work in one building that was not properly inspected and three missing “vent dampers.” The entry to another building was not compliant with town code, and the fire alarms in all five multi-family buildings were painted yellow instead of red, as specified in town law.

The report lists the complex as “80 percent occupied.”

All of the units were inspected visually, except for one that was damaged during a fire in September.

Building Inspector Mickey Maher ordered the repairs completed by May 14. The complex is scheduled to be reinspected May 17, according to the report.

Sync closed on a $1.92 million deal to purchase the light-industrial zoned property from the federal government in May 2008. The company began leasing units in the complex in July, despite warnings that the land was improperly zoned for residential use and that a private sewer connection with the adjacent Rotterdam Industrial Park would be terminated.

Sync ultimately sued the town over the zoning issue, but was unsuccessful. The company also lost a lawsuit compelling the Galesi Group to continue sewer service to the complex. However that sewer service is continuing under an agreement that expires next month, and Sync meanwhile is working to secure a hookup with the town system.

But with a complete turnover on the Rotterdam Town Board this year, Sync took another stab at legitimizing the residential use of the complex. Last month, board members approved the zone change despite the Schenectady County Planning Board, the Rotterdam Planning Commission and the town’s Comprehensive Plan Committee all recommending against the change.

Prior to the approval, an attorney from the Galesi Group suggested the company might sue the town if the zone change were ratified. Galesi Chief Operating Officer David Buicko did not return a call for comment.

Some critics of the zone change suggested the Army housing units would require a massive overhaul to be brought up to modern standards. However, the report produced by the town suggests the buildings are in adequate condition for residential use.

“The overall condition of the dwelling units is good,” the report states.

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