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What you need to know for 11/18/2017

Decision on Mohawk Harbor signs put on hold

Decision on Mohawk Harbor signs put on hold

City Mission wants to build 8-unit apartment building
Decision on Mohawk Harbor signs put on hold
The intersection of Erie Boulvard and Mohawk Harbor Way, looking northwest.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

Representatives from the Mohawk Harbor development will wait until next month for approval on a pair of signs to be placed at an entrance to the waterfront property.

The city planning commission, which held its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, heard updates on the proposal to install two signs near the entrance to the Mohawk Harbor development at the intersection of Erie Boulevard and Mohawk Harbor Way. It also heard from an applicant who wants to build an eight-unit apartment structure that would be sponsored by the City Mission of Schenectady.

MOHAWK HARBOR SIGNAGE

The developers of the Moahwk Harbor site along Erie Boulevard explained that the signs would advertise the property and its tenants to passing motorists.

Maxon Alco Holdings, a subsidiary of the Galesi Group, laid out plans for one monument sign and one pylon sign that would include an LED screen. The Galesi Group is the developer of the Mohawk Harbor project. The monument sign would be 10 feet tall, while the latter would stand 30 feet high; that was scaled back from an original proposal of 32 feet.

The commission did not vote Wednesday to approve the proposal. A vote is likely during next month’s meeting, pending reviews of the application by the city’s zoning board of appeals and the state Department of Transportation.

The monument sign would be gray with darker lettering that reads “Mohawk Harbor.” The letters would light up at night, said Pat Boni, a representative from Saxton Signs.

The Mohawk Harbor development includes an apartment complex, a pair of office and retail buildings, a townhouse development and Rivers Casino & Resort.

Ideally, the sign would also obscure the view of the STS Steel property for visitors approaching Mohawk Harbor from Glenville, Boni said.

The 30-foot tall, 14-foot wide pylon sign would include 22 nameplate slots to identify tenants of the property, as well as a roughly 6-foot tall LED screen to display information about some of the tenants.

A few details are still in the works, including a landscaping plan to surround the signs and entranceway with shrubbery. In addition, the state Department of Transportation is conducting a line-of-sight review to consider how the signs might impact traffic.

In the meantime, commissioners asked for renderings of the proposed signs as they would appear on the property, to provide a better sense of size and appearance within the broader development, they said.

The lone member of the public to speak on the project was David Giacalone, a Stockade resident. He argued the signs, which will require zoning board of appeals variance approval at their current size, are too large and could cause glare problems for passing cars.

He used the Museum of Innovation and Science’s sign on Nott Terrace as an example. That sign is only about 10 feet high, he said, and a similar-sized sign at Mohawk Harbor would suffice.

Paul Fallati, vice president of the Galesi Group, said traffic flows faster on Erie Boulevard than on Nott Terrace, and a smaller sign might cause motorists to slow down and strain to look.

“The size of the sign is appropriate; it’s in character with the rest of the project,” Fallati said.

citymission1prb.jpg
Michael Saccocio, executive director of the City Mission. (Peter R. Barber)

CITY MISSION OF SCHENECTADY

The City Mission of Schenectady wants to turn a barren plot of land near the corner of Lafayette and Smith streets into an eight-unit apartment building.

The apartments, at 297 Lafayette St., would provide housing for graduates of the City Mission’s Bridges to Freedom program. Work on the project, which received site plan approval Wednesday night, is expected to begin in the spring, said Michael Saccocio, executive director of the City Mission.

“When people graduate, they’ve found jobs. But we’ve learned if they can have a transitional period where they can get used to getting back into the workforce and community, the housing helps to have that supportive transition,” Saccocio said.

The City Mission already owns 24 apartment units for such purposes along Lafayette Street, Saccocio said. In many cases, the tenants have recently acquired jobs downtown, and the Lafayette Street apartments allow them to walk to work, he said.

The organization is still finalizing permits and variance approvals for the building, Saccocio said. A fundraising campaign will begin later this year, and construction could get underway in the spring. The apartments would then be completed by the end of 2018, he said.

On Thursday, the City Mission’s Employer Resource network announced a $50,000 donation from MVP Health Care. The resource network grew out of the Bridges to Freedom program.

The Employee Resource Network provides support services for under-resourced and high-stressed employees. The donation will be split evenly over the course of two years.

“MVP employees have used the services of the network, and we have seen its success in supporting employees who need some assistance,” MVP Health Care CEO Denise Gonick said in a prepared statement.

The mission runs three separate resource networks, including the North Country ERN, the Capital Region ERN and the Schenectady ERN. The latter served 1,013 people in 2016.

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