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Gloversville appeals ruling that cleared way for controversial apartment project

Gloversville appeals ruling that cleared way for controversial apartment project

The city Thursday appealed a September State Supreme Court ruling that gave the green light to const

The city Thursday appealed a September State Supreme Court ruling that gave the green light to construction of a controversial 48-unit apartment complex.

The proposed complex would sit on the hill above the dead-end streets of Lee Avenue and Northern Terrace and is widely opposed in that adjacent neighborhood of single-family homes.

City Attorney Anthony Casale filed the city’s appeal Thursday with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, which had already extended the original December filing deadline.

The appeal challenges Judge Barry Kramer’s ruling overturning a spring 2010 decision by the Gloversville Planning Board. The board denied the application for a special use permit, finding that the project would be out of character for the neighborhood.

But Kramer said the board’s decision was arbitrary because it had already determined as part of its own environmental impact study that the project would present minimal impact to the neighborhood.

Since the complex would be compatible with city zoning and requires a special permit and not a variance, Kramer said it is inconsistent for the board to first find a minimal impact and then deny the application.

Casale, summarizing his appeal Thursday, said the city is arguing Kramer placed too much emphasis on the Planning Board’s state environmental quality review analysis and overlooked what case law defines as a rational basis for an application denial.

“That the Planning Board should be bound by its findings in the SEQR analysis is contrary to case law,” Casale said.

He said Kramer took the position that if the developer, Kinderhook Development, submitted the necessary documents and the site was properly zoned, then the developer was entitled to a special use permit.

Casale said the board’s findings that the project could exacerbate an identified groundwater problem and that an apartment complex would change the character of the neighborhood form an adequate rational basis for denial.

Having reviewed the case record since taking office in January, Casale said: “It is clear to me there is a significant problem with the development as planned and that the problems are not spelled out as well as they should have been in the record.”

Donna M. Bonfardeci of Kinderhook Development declined comment Thursday when apprised of the city’s filing.

Casale said the Canastota-based developer will have time to respond to the city’s brief, probably pushing a court ruling into June.

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