NISKAYUNA — The Town Board this week approved a special permit that will allow construction of a controversial 24-lot subdivision on the former Kelts Farm property on River Road, opposite Blatnick Park.
The board decided not to allow a street connection to Windsor Drive, seeking to address one of the main concerns of neighbors who feared a through-connection would increase traffic in their neighborhood and depress property values. A bicycle and multi-use path, however, will be allowed.
There has been buzz about development on one of the last open properties in the River Road corridor for years, but the current proposal by Joel Bisaillon of Bisaillon Properties LLC sought approval of a special permit for what the town calls an “average density development.” Bisaillon bought the 16.4-acre property last year from a member of the Kelts family.
The concept of an average density development is that housing is clustered on part of the property so that other parts of the property can remain open.
The developer plans to construct nine duplex townhouses and six single-family homes on the property. The details of the project layout still require further approval from the town Planning Board.
The Town Board acted at its virtual meeting Tuesday night, following a lengthy public hearing at which residents of the area either spoke by phone or had emailed statements read into the record by Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed. Most said they were concerned about increased traffic if the through-connection were allowed.
The town Planning Board’s recommendation was that the through-connection, which could have public safety benefits in an emergency, be allowed, but the road would be blocked to routine traffic by a gate that only emergency responders would be able to open. The Town Board dismissed that proposal, which residents didn’t like.
The residents “were definitely heard,” said Councilman John Della Ratta.
Also on Tuesday, the Town Board unanimously adopted a new policy prohibiting the use of vaping devices and all electronic cigarettes in town parks. Signs will be posted in all the parks. Tobacco products are already prohibited.
“This is something that is very important for the community,” said Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw. “I think we’ll be doing more things on vaping moving forward.”