The number of multi-family units permitted per acre in the town could be reduced by half if a proposal comes to fruition.
Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle has expressed concern that a proliferation of multi-family units could cause a glut and lower the value of single-family homes.
Current regulations allow for construction of up to 20 units per acre. Other communities have much lower maximums — Guilderland and East Greenbush allow up to 12 per acre, while Niskayuna allows 10 and Bethlehem and Colonie eight, according to Kevin Corcoran, director of economic development and planning.
However, Corcoran said the town also requires that 40 percent of the lot be devoted to green space and limits building coverage to 35 percent. These regulations effectively limit how dense development can be. A three-story building could meet the criteria.
Among the suggestions are to lower the density to 10 units or less. Another recommendation is to make sure if it is a mixed commercial and residential project that at least a portion of the commercial development is built at the same time residential units are constructed. That would prevent so-called “front loading,” where the developer builds the housing units and never does the commercial component, according to Corcoran.
The town is also looking at increasing the minimum floor area required — currently 500 square feet. Town Attorney Michael Cuevas pointed out that the average hotel room size is 400 square feet.
Another idea is to require developers to obtain a conditional use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals for a multi-family housing project, which would give any projects another set of eyes and require another public hearing.
Requiring an extra step for projects worried some board members, however.
“I don’t want to overregulate the process,” said board member Gina Wierzbowski.
Deputy Supervisor Alan Boulant agreed the town has tried to make things more friendly to businesses.
“We don’t want to go backwards, but I understand we’ve got to be careful,” he said.
All existing and proposed multi-family housing projects have a density ranging from 5.8 units per acre to 19.9 acres for the Heritage Arms senior housing building, according to Corcoran. The recently approved 156-unit Patriot Square project would have 14.2 units per acre.
Koetzle said he was happy with the recommendations. He had wanted the density to drop as low as 8 units but said he could live with 10.
Wierzbowski said she could support minimums of 10 units and 1,000 square feet.
Director of Operations James MacFarland said the town also had to be careful about making it too tough for developers to hit the “sweet spot” with these new requirements.
“I think we could have the unit size increase enough and density decrease enough that people would not be able to make a profit,” he said.
The town is going to have the Glenville Small Business and Economic Development Advisory Committee review these recommendations. They will also go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for its input.