Schenectady County

Lower housing density gets Glenville review

Glenville officials are looking at decreasing the density of multifamily developments to encourage m

Glenville officials are looking at decreasing the density of multifamily developments to encourage more higher-end development and more diverse housing options.

The Glenville Small Business and Economic Development Committee has recommended that the town reduce the maximum density per acre from 20 units to something much lower.

Supervisor Chris Koetzle said among the local communities, the next highest density is 12 units per acre in Guilderland and East Greenbush. Other communities such as Niskayuna, Colonie and Bethlehem allow eight units per acre.

“That’s a significant difference between Glenville and other similar towns,” he said. “The committee sees that we might be a little out of whack.”

However, Glenville also requires that at least 40 percent of the lot be green space and not more than 35 percent be built upon. Koetzle said he believes that just encourages developers to build smaller apartments so they can squeeze in more units.

Koetzle has raised concerns about multifamily housing for the last few years, fearing that a glut of apartments would lower property values for single-family homes. He had initially called for a blanket moratorium on multifamily housing before the committee suggested reviewing the density.

Kevin Corcoran, director of economic development and planning, said the minimum of 40 percent green space and 35 percent maximum lot coverage does cut down on how dense a development can be.

Town officials were envisioning three-story apartment buildings when they drafted the zoning ordinance. They thought that such an intense development would fit around the town center area, according to Corcoran.

Koetzle said he believes these regulations do not encourage building of larger town homes that might be desirable for the town’s aging population.

Another recommendation is to require that both the commercial and residential components be built at the same time and not in phases. Koetzle said he has noticed a problem where a developer proposes to do a multifamily apartment complex with a commercial aspect, but sometimes never ends up doing the commercial portion of the plan.

Another option is to require multifamily apartment projects to obtain a conditional use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, according to Koetzle. This would give another set of eyes on the project.

One additional suggestion is to eliminate apartments from the list of permitted uses in the general business zone and restrict them to just a multifamily zoning district, according to Koetzle.

He said he wants to make sure the town doesn’t get overbuilt with one type of housing and has a diverse housing stock for residents.

The Glenville Town Board will discuss the issue at its work session at 7:30 p.m. June 13. Any proposed regulations would be reviewed by the Environmental Conservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

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