SCHENECTADY — Some property owners are hoping to add townhouses and new businesses to the city’s landscape, but they must first get their land rezoned.
Pat Popolizio and Ray and Jeff Legere are scheduled to appear before the Schenectady Planning Commission Wednesday. The landowners want to rezone their respective properties on or near Erie Boulevard for "waterfront mixed-use," which would expand development options for the parcels, which are near the Mohawk Harbor development site.
In both cases, the property owners are asking the Planning Commission to give a favorable recommendation on the rezoning to the City Council, which would then have to approve the changes.
Popolizo, owner of the Waters Edge Lighthouse, just across the Mohawk River in Glenville, wants to rezone his property at 1903 Maxon Road Extension from "warehousing and manufacturing," in the hope of building townhouses along the river, along with possible docking space, he said. The idea is in its early stages, he warned.
“I personally love waterfront property,” he said. “I think the Mohawk River is a beautiful water destination that a lot of people are just starting to get excited about.”
Popolizio in February gained approval to mount an electronic sign on the side of the Maxon Road Extension warehouse, facing the intersection with Erie Boulevard.
The sign has been operational for weeks, displaying the time and temperature, a wind advisory and a notice about the new bike path being installed just up the road. It is intended to be informational, Popolizio said, and if the waterfront proposal takes form, it would provide updates on the property.
The development would be located opposite Popolizio’s restaurant and an adjacent Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel that opened Tuesday. Popolizio said he’s supportive of the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor and is looking to complement that attraction, rather than compete with it.
“I think, with the casino and what we have across the river and what our plans are on this side of the river, it’s going to be a very beautiful destination,” he said.
ERIE BOULEVARD PROPOSAL
On the other side of Mohawk Harbor, Jeff and Ray Legere are looking to rezone their properties at 1473, 1482, 1462, 1424, 1410, 1419 and 435 Erie Boulevard from "downtown commercial" to the "waterfront mixed-use" designation. The proposal also includes properties at 318, 326 and 400 Front St.
Properties of note include 1473 Erie Boulevard, which has a parking lot facing the casino’s driveway, and 1410 Erie Boulevard, which is a rundown yellow building that previously housed Grossman’s Bargain Outlet.
There has been increased interest in real estate along Erie Boulevard since the Mohawk Harbor development and Rivers Casino & Resort began to take shape. Ray Legere said rezoning his properties would increase possible uses for interested tenants.
As the property is currently zoned, a pawn shop can open up, but a business cannot operate a drive-thru, Legere said. While he doesn’t want to disrupt surrounding residences, he said a zoning change would help the rest of Erie Boulevard keep up with the growth just down the street.
“I’m trying to mimic what’s happening 20 feet away,” Legere said, referencing the Mohawk Harbor development that, in addition to the casino, includes two hotels, luxury apartments and office and retail space. “Due to the change in the personality of the neighborhood, and with the increase in construction at the harbor, I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all.”