Schenectady County

Glenville zoning proposals target pawn shops, adult businesses

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission will consider two zoning changes Monday — one that would p

Opening strip clubs and pawn shops in Glenville could soon be even more difficult.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission will consider two zoning changes Monday — one that would prevent the development of adult-themed businesses on Freemans Bridge Road and another that would prevent pawn shops from opening in the town’s commercial areas. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Supervisor Chris Koetzle said both changes are in anticipation of a $330 million casino planned just across the Mohawk River in Schenectady. New casinos often attract adult businesses and pawn shops to the surrounding area, he said.

The Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, which is planned for a 60-acre brownfield site between Erie Boulevard and the Mohawk River, was chosen to receive one of three casino licenses by the state Gaming Facility Location Board in December.

“The Town Board has been concerned with the potential for ancillary business coming to Freemans Bridge Road in relation to the proposed casino,” Koetzle said. “These amendments would address those concerns.”

There are currently no adult entertainment businesses or pawn shops in Glenville. The amendments would need approval from the Town Board, following public hearings, to take effect.

The first would change the zoning of 37 properties, or nearly 270 acres, in the area of Freemans Bridge Road, Sarnowski Drive and Maple Avenue from research/development/technology, which allow for adult entertainment, to general business, which does not. In the fall, the Town Board voted to change the zoning of 18 properties along Freemans Bridge Road and Maple Avenue just south of Stewart’s from the industrial zone to general business to encourage more restaurants and retail shops at the town’s southern gateway.

Adult entertainment businesses would still be allowed within the town, but only in the Glenville Business & Technology Park on Route 5.

“The purpose of the proposed zoning map amendment is to put in place a zoning designation that better reflects likely development trends in the Freemans Bridge Road and lower Maple Avenue corridors and to discourage undesirable land uses,” according to the legislation.

Koetzle said the Town Board is also considering creating an overlay district to protect industrial businesses in the Freemans Bridge Road corridor that would be adversely affected by a zoning change.

“There might be an opportunity to create an overlay district on Freemans Bridge Road as opposed to a full-scale zone change,” he said. “We would remain research/development/technology on some properties where it made sense.”

The other amendment would change the zoning text’s definitions of personal service and retail business to exclude pawn shops, which would essentially prohibit such businesses in the town.

“We’re a community built on single-family residential neighborhoods, by and large, and that particular use seemed incompatible with the rest of the town,” Koetzle said. “It does encourage a transient type of business where people are coming and going and selling goods.”

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