A new business loan program could begin as soon as next month after the Glenville Town Board on Wednesday signed off on the formal agreement with its Local Development Corporation.
Funding for the loans will come from a $565,000 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant that was originally given to Solid Surface Craftsman owner Alan Boulant to expand his business. The money has since been repaid and last June, the town set up the Local Development Corporation to use the money for new loans.
LDC Chairman Jim Martin said the organization has added more board members, established its committees and looked into hiring legal counsel and accounting expertise. Now it has to develop its loan program guidelines, which the LDC hopes to complete in May or by June 1 at the latest.
Martin envisions two types of loans being offered — what he called “macro” loans that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars and “micro” loans in the neighborhood of $10,000. The larger loans would require a longer application and more vetting, Martin said. He added that the LDC must do its due diligence and be careful regarding the use of the money.
Local business officials are already excited about the loan program, according to Martin. “I’ve had inquiries already from four or five business people in the town,” he said.
He said that the LDC doesn’t want to give all the money to just a few businesses.
“We want to make sure we can spread that assistance around and help out many as we can,” he said.
The LDC is also in the process of preparing a survey for residents to get a better idea of the types of businesses it should seek to attract. Martin said the overall goal is to create jobs for low and moderate income residents and expand the tax base.
Boulant, who was elected to the Town Board in 2009, said he is glad that the money will be helping out other businesses.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle said this was one of the board’s top priorities during the last four years and he is glad it is finally coming to fruition.
“This is the centerpiece of our economic development policy that’s going to position this town for even more growth,” he said.
In other business, a proposal to limit the number of units permitted for multi-family housing is moving a step closer to approval. The board voted to set a public hearing for May 1 at 7:30 p.m. for changes to the zoning ordinance that would reduce the maximum number of units of multi-family housing per acre from 20 to 10 and increase the minimum floor area for apartments from 500 to 800 square feet.
It also implements a requirement applying to mixed use projects that are to be built in phases. In a project that has both commercial and multi-family housing components, the developer cannot just build the housing first and then the commercial portion. The amount of commercial development built in the first phase must equal or exceed half of the multi-family units being constructed.
Koetzle pushed for this legislation for the last couple years, expressing concern about the amount of multi-family housing being developed in the town. He had proposed more restrictive rules but said the final version constituted a compromise between the various land use boards and developers on the matter.
Koetzle said this puts Glenville’s regulations in line with towns such as Niskayuna and Guilderland.
Projects already approved or in the process of obtaining approvals would be grandfathered.