Residents can weigh in today on a proposed expansion of Capitaland that would double the size of the Route 50 car dealership.
A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. at Town Hall to consider a zone change the dealership needs before it can build a 12,000-square-foot facility, where it will sell Subaru vehicles. The dealership currently sells Subaru and GMC vehicles out of its 12,000-square-foot building at 37 Saratoga Road.
Two additional hearings will follow to consider changes to the town code: one to remove multi-family dwellings as an allowed use in the general business zone and another to establish a one-step, rather than two, site plan review process for lighter projects.
The Town Board is expected to vote on all three proposals following the public hearings.
Capitaland wants to have the professional/residential zoning of the property changed to general business. The dealership has purchased two houses on the site, which it would demolish to make way for the expansion, said town Supervisor Chris Koetzle.
Koetzle said the town held an informational meeting on the proposal a month ago and about a dozen residents attended. They expressed specific concerns about increased traffic, as well as lighting and noise, he said.
“If you try to take a left hand turn out of there, it’s difficult to begin with, so they're afraid the increased traffic might make that even more difficult,” he said.
Koetzle said the issues would be addressed during the site plan review process, which would follow the Town Board’s approval of the zoning change. A traffic study would also be conducted, he said.
Prohibiting future multi-family homes in the general business zone would allow the town to “put the brakes” on a proliferation of multi-family home developments, Koetzle said.
“Within the past 10 years, we've had quite a bit of multi-family development,” he said.
Multi-family homes could still be built in planned use districts, but would be considered case by case, he said.
He noted that current projects, like the construction of a 110-unit senior living facility called The Meadows at Glenwyck, which is underway in the area near Walmart, are needed.
“We're really focused more on our future,” he said of the proposed change to the code.
Koetzle said the proposal stems from the Town Board’s plan to change the zoning of Freemans Bridge Road from research and development, an industrial zone, to general business.
“If we're going to open up more zones for general business, we have to limit the multi-family component of it,” he said.
Koetzle said the third proposal, establishing a one-step site plan review, would expedite the process for developers by saving four weeks — the time between planning and zoning commission meetings. The quicker process would be limited to lighter projects, such as a change in ownership where the use doesn’t intensify and expansions that do not exceed 25 percent.