GLENVILLE — The town is considering a new residential development proposal for land along the Mohawk River near Alplaus, where a higher-density proposal was withdrawn three years ago because of local opposition.
Developer Dean DeVito and landowner Robert Kivort are proposing an approximately 36-home development mostly on land between Maritime Drive and the river, saying they hope it addresses the concerns raised by residents concerned about the 228-unit apartment complex they proposed in 2017.
“We really were encouraged by the town if we want to pursue it to do something more along the lines of what the residents wanted, less density, products for sale (versus rental), less traffic, less impact on the schools,” DeVito said during a Facebook presentation to Alplaus residents Tuesday night.
The developer has yet to submit a planned development district application to the town, though town officials and the developer have had pre-application discussions. The property is zoned for land conservation and industrial use, and a PDD — a custom-written zoning district — is expected to be needed for residential development.
Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle asked DeVito and Kivort to attend the meeting, which took place on Facebook due to pandemic restrictions on public gatherings. More than 100 people signed up to participate in the two-hour meeting.
“At this juncture, I think it was very important to have the residents involved very early in the process,” Koetzle said.
Alplaus residents are generally protective of the hamlet’s quaint historic character, and feared the apartment plan withdrawn in 2017 would have had a major negative impact on traffic and community character. In 2019, the town adopted a “hamlet plan” that called for trying to preserve it.
The Kivort land is along the river just outside the hamlet, but access to the site would be through the hamlet.
The new plans call for 24 upscale double-unit buildings, as well as a a dozen single-family residential lots. DeVito’s company, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties of Cohoes, plans to buy the entire 85-acre property that includes an aging industrial park and a commercial marina. Sale prices are estimated at $450,000 to $500,000.
There are no plans at this point for changes in either the marina or industrial park.
Jamie Easton of M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying in Clifton Park, who is representing the developer, said building lots will need to be raised about two feet to take them above the 100-year floodplain, and it’s possible Marina Drive will also need to be raised about a foot. A boat storage area for the marina will be moved into the industrial park to free up land for residential construction.
Kivort, who also participated in the meeting, said he hoped the meeting would address some of residents’ fears, noting that the traffic impact and impact on Alplaus will be much less than under the earlier plan. “Hopefully what you have before you is a good compromise,” he said.
Residents could watch the meeting remotely and submit written questions which Koetzle read. Many of the questions were about stormwater drainage and other issues the developer said will be answered by studies to be conducted if the application moves forward.
Maurice “Bud” Watson, president of the Alplaus Residents’ Association, said the residents appreciate the town, DeVito and Kivort meeting with them to discuss the project, though residents do have questions. The association will be doing a survey of its members to see what they think of the plans.
“Right now we have no opinion for or against, we’re letting the process play out,” Watson said on Wednesday. “We appreciate that the density is less. We have questions, but this was just a preliminary meeting.”
One concern residents have is with soil pollution at the industrial park, which was most active when General Electric was doing military research and development work there shortly after World War II. The full nature of the contamination isn’t known, but DeVito proposed a brownfield cleanup there as part of the previous proposal. The cleanup, which is estimated to cost several million dollars, isn’t part of this proposal.
“We can’t both reduce our density by 84 percent and have the money for environmental remediation,” DeVito said.
Watson said the contamination is still a concern that residents want to see addressed. “We understand its a cost issue, but there should be some sort plan,” he said. “This is just phase one, the opening, and there will be more questions.”
Watson said any position the association were to take would be based on a planned survey of its members, “then we’ll formulate our opinion based on what the residents say.”
How soon the developer may file any application is unknown, though town officials said they expect further discussions.
“You’ve given us a lot to think about, a lot for the community to think about,” Koetzle said as the meeting ended. “What I want to let the residents of Alplaus know, we are taking this seriously.”
The supervisor also said the plans would have no promise of approval, if there is an application. “Just because we are going through this process doesn’t mean the outcome is pre-determined. I want the residents of Alplaus to know this process is not going to go forward without you.”