Schenectady County

Emergency link only at Lori Drive, Lisha Kill Road

There will be no full connection between Lori Drive and Lisha Kill Road, the Town Board voted Tuesda

There will be no full connection between Lori Drive and Lisha Kill Road, the Town Board voted Tuesday night.

The vote came during the latest appearance of an issue that dates back as far as 2004, when a subdivision on Lisha Kill Road was in its early planning stages.

Residents along Lori Drive have feared a full connection would invite cut-through traffic, making their neighborhood dangerous.

The town Planning Board and a previous administration argued that the town’s neighborhoods should be connected, without barriers.

The plan as adopted by the Planning Board in 2008 called for a full connection to be made at some point in the future. But, officials said then, the issue could be revisited when the time came to approve the later phases.

Town Supervisor Joe Landry was among those voting for Tuesday night’s plan that will keep the connection blocked to all but emergency traffic. It was a plan that had been considered and rejected years ago.

Landry noted it was the first time the Town Board could directly vote on the plan, in the form of accepting the subdivision’s road. “It’s here tonight, and I think we have a good solution,” he said.

In 2005, then-supervisor Luke Smith called such breakaway barriers unacceptable, arguing they would then be all over town. Landry became supervisor in 2009.

Tuesday night’s meeting was attended by many Lori Drive residents, voicing support for leaving the emergency barrier in place permanently. Many of them had been active in the early arguments against a full connection with the development that has been commonly referred to by the names of two development companies, Cerone-Paulsen.

Among them was Lori Drive resident Pat Smith.

“I’m tickled pink over it,” Smith said after the vote. “It was our suggestion originally to put in an emergency bypass.”

“We’re quite pleased with this,” he added a short time later. “I think the town board did the right thing. It puts it there, it’s there if it is needed.”

Former Planning Board member Leslie Gold, who attends many Town Board meetings, however, spoke out against the plan, calling it “ill advised” and not what the Planning Board had recommended. “I think that connectivity is something that needs to happen,” Gold said.

The development has been an issue with Lori Drive residents since 2004. In early 2008, the Planning Board approved a phasing plan, with the first phase approved in 2010.

The 73-unit subdivision was also delayed for more than two years while the connection issue was fought in the courts. County officials and Lori Drive residents wanted no connection, while previous town officials under Smith and the Planning Board stressed full connection between neighborhoods.

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