GLENVILLE -- The Town Board is weighing two zoning changes that town officials hope will preserve a historic mansion and allow a micro-distillery to open as a tourism destination in West Glenville.
The board has set public hearings on the changes for Wednesday, Feb. 1.
One proposed local law would remove the historic Joseph Yates mansion from a multi-family zone, restricting the property's future use to single-family residential use. The change would come as town officials discuss ways to preserve the mansion, which has been empty for several years and is falling into disrepair. The Town Board last month approved a development moratorium with the purpose of preventing the mansion's purchase and demolition by someone looking to build apartments on the site, located at 133 Maple Ave., near where other apartments and townhouses have recently been built.
"It rose up to be a priority because of the eminent threat to it," said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle.
The two-story mansion, located near the intersection with Alplaus Avenue, was built in 1734 by Joseph Yates, who was from one of the area's prominent families during the Colonial era. His grandson, who was also named Joseph, became the first mayor of Schenectady in 1798, and in 1822, he became New York's governor -- the only governor, so far, to hail from Schenectady County. The home was known as the "Gov. Yates Summer Mansion."
The second hearing being held at Town Hall on Feb. 1 is for a zoning change that would allow the establishment of micro-distilleries in the "rural-agricultural," "most business" and in the "research/technology" zoning districts.
The move to change zoning to allow production of hard liquors follows a generally favorable reaction from town officials to conceptual plans for a small distillery to locate in part of the former Rectors fire station on Route 5. Those plans can't proceed unless town zoning code is changed to allow it.
"This is to support our burgeoning concept of more agriculture-related businesses in that area," said Councilman James Martin, the Town Board's planning liaison.
Town officials, who are developing a new land use master plan for the town, have discussed the concept of a visitor-oriented destination area along Route 5 in West Glenville, centered around the Wolf Hollow brewery and the distillery, which they have noted would use agricultural products like hops and grains. Plans for a maple sugar house have also been discussed in the area.
Both public hearings are scheduled for the 7 p.m. Town Board meeting. The Town Board could act on both zoning changes that night, depending on public reaction to them.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.