ROTTERDAM – The town will hold a public hearing on whether it should approve a zone change for a proposed apartment complex along Curry Road that many residents oppose.
The town has not indicated when the hearing will take place.
The development slated for 2625 Curry Road was originally planned to be 208 multi-family residential units. However, developer William Hoblock announced at a Town Board meeting Wednesday that it would drop one building, reducing the development to 182 units, and move the apartments farther away from an adjacent neighborhood and instead build a playground area.
Hoblock is asking the town to change the zoning for the the project. Right now the land is zoned for single-family residential, retail business and light industrial. Hoblock wants it changed to a multi-family residential.
“It’s an awkward piece of land, it’s split zoned,” Hoblock said.
He said the awkward zoning is a reason it’s stayed undeveloped for so long.
But residents don’t want the development at all.
Eugene Drive resident Gail Mihalak said the apartment complex does not fit with what town residents indicated they would like to see as part of the town’s comprehensive plan.
A town survey of residents was conducted as the town updates the plan. In the survey, most residents discouraged any land use that resulted in high density housing. Residents did want to see more single-family homes.
“This is Rotterdam talking,” Mihalak said.
Mihalak also raised concerns about traffic.
The development would be located on Curry Road, one of the busiest, if not the busiest street in town. It also wouldn’t be far from the ramps to I-890.
“Traffic normally can get backed up to at least I-890 and beyond at certain times of the day,” she said. “In addition the adjoining single-family residential area, where I live, would risk seeing an increase in cut-through traffic within our neighborhoods. This is where we walk with our kids and take our dogs for a walk.”
Hoblock said they will have a traffic engineer at the public hearing. He said the development would only increase traffic in peak morning hours by 65 cars and at peak evening hours by 85 cars.
In August, the Planning Commission voted 6-1 for a negative recommendation regarding the zoning change.
“I also wonder how can you dismiss the work of the Planning Commission,” said resident Mollie Collins, who is also running for Town Board. “By bringing this project up you have more or less told the members of the Planning Commission that their input doesn’t matter.”
Collins said there are already enough apartments in town – 340 within six-tenths of a mile of the proposed complex.
Hoblock said not all apartment complexes are the same way. This one would primarily serve senior citizens, he said.
He also said the development is a “classical transition” from the commercial zoning of Curry Road to the more single-family residential areas.
Resident Jack Dodson said the town should think of implementing a moratorium on apartments until the comprehensive plan is finished.
Supervisor Steven Tommasone said just because the town is going to hold a public hearing doesn’t mean it will approve the zone change.