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Glenville may use eminent domain for trail

Glenville may use eminent domain for trail

Largest landowner along planned path in Schenectady County
Glenville may use eminent domain for trail
A car crests Glenridge Road where a trail is planned.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

Correction: A previous version of this story gave the wrong date for the public hearing, which will be Wednesday, April 18.

GLENVILLE -- The town may use its eminent domain powers to acquire property for a planned 2,500-foot-long Glenridge Road multi-use trail and sidewalk to link a residential neighborhood to the town's commercial corridor.

The Town Board has scheduled a public hearing about the option for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, at Town Hall. The town wants to acquire or access parts of seven properties for the trail, including more than 1,000 feet of county-owned land bordering the Schenectady County Airport.

Eminent domain law allows a government to take property for the greater public good, with a judge setting the compensation amount, if the parties can't agree.

Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the trail is in the greater public interest for a number of reasons, including encouraging exercise and pedestrian safety.

"It's certainly safety," he said. "We do have people walking on Glenridge Road now; it's very dangerous. There's high-speed traffic."

Town Attorney Michael Cuevas said the town still wants to reach voluntary agreements with the county and four private property owners, but the public hearing is needed for the eminent domain action, if it becomes necessary.

"In the event we have to take private property, we will have the eminent domain process," Cuevas told the Town Board on Wednesday. "They always reserve the right to dispute the value of the taking."

The eminent domain process can be used to take Schenectady County property, though such cases between two levels of government are unusual.

On Thursday, County Attorney Christopher Gardner said he hadn't received any notice from the town, and the county's response will depend on whether the Federal Aviation Administration has any concerns, since the new path would be on the periphery of the airport's property -- outside the security fence, but still on county property.

"We'll take a look at it, and if we can do it without angering the FAA, I'm sure we would cooperate if they want to do a sidewalk," Gardner said.

The planned trail would run from the Glenridge Road entrance to the Woodhaven neighborhood over a hill to the Town Center commercial corridor. Town officials said it would address a safety problem caused by people who now walk on the shoulder of the road.

After several residents expressed concern about the trail crossing their land during a meeting last year, Cuevas said the town has made efforts to realign the route.

"For the most part, we have tried to move the path into the public right-of-way and off of private property," he said.

Glenville has received a $220,000 grant through state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, that Koetzle said should cover the entire cost of the project. Town officials hope the trail can be completed this year.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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