Officials from the JDog Junk Removal and Hauling Distribution Facility on Monday took another step toward securing site plan approval from the Niskayuna Planning Board.
No residents spoke during a scheduled public hearing on the business' plans for its site at 398 Anthony St.
Owner Ray Gagnon and his JDog crew last June moved into the building, last occupied by a heating and air conditioning business.
Planning board members will consider a resolution on the site plan at their next meeting, scheduled for March 25 at 7 p.m.
Gagnon said JDog businesses are owned and operated by veterans, or by family members directly related to veterans. The Anthony Street business is the only JDog franchise in the Capital Region.
"We do it the military way, we do it the responsible way," said Gagnon, who served 25 years as a U.S. Marine.
Business employees clear out homes, and salvage many items for re-purposing. "That stuff is not junk, some are antiques, some are usable," Gagnon said. "We've got homeless vets, we've got veteran charities and we've got other charities like Habitat for Humanity who can use a lot of that stuff.
"We take the time to actually sort through what's good and what's bad," Gagnon added. "Seventy percent of what we collect we try to keep out of the landfill."
No hazardous materials are collected.
Planners asked about fencing around the business - Gagnon said he has no plans for a fence around the yard. He said the only thing of value on the property are company trucks, painted in a vivid camouflage green with the image of a tough-looking bulldog.
If anyone decides to steal a truck, Gagnon said, "They're not going to get very far."
During the privilege of the floor session of the meeting, two men who live near 1380 Van Antwerp Road spoke against a proposed subdivision that - if approved - would make room for two additional homes. Property owners Lou and Elena Lecce have requested the subdivision.
Adam Ruder of McGovern Drive said the 1820s farmhouse on the five-acre Van Antwerp Road site has long served as an entrance to the Woodcrest neighborhood.
"They sub-divided it once and built three houses on the wooded part of the land in the last year," Ruder said. "Now there's an acre and a half that's still remaining with the old house and they want to subdivide that further to build two more houses."
Charles Piotrowski of Stanley Lane is concerned the houses may be crammed into the land. The men are also concerned that more houses on the lot - and fewer trees - could present a water drainage problem.
"The water is still coming down," Piotrowski told board members. "It's got to find a place to go."
Nick Chiesa of Dewitt Avenue talked about an ongoing subject for debate and discussion at Planning Board meetings - the possible rezone of the 44-acre O.D. Heck parcel on Balltown Road.
Residents, including Chiesa, have spoken against the idea of rezoning the property from residential to neighborhood mixed use.
The site at 500 Balltown is home to Capital District Developmental Disabilities Service Organization-Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center. The space comprises 12 buildings and is also home to the Pooh's Corner Child Care Center.
The state has not announced any intent to sell the land. But planners say that, if the land does go up for sale, they want the mixed use zoning in place. Instead of single family homes, the board would prefer a neighborhood built for walking - a place where people can work, live and play.
Chiesa said he and his wife Lisa recently visited a mixed use neighborhood in Latham, the Village at New Loudon in Latham. Planners have used the Latham spot, and Ellsworth Commons in Malta, as examples of successful mixed use neighborhoods.
Chiesa said he and Lisa saw vacant townhouses and retail locations. "We didn't see anyone walking at all," he said.
If the Balltown parcel is rezoned, Chiesa said, he believes some businesses should not be allowed in the area. Gas stations, funeral homes, fast-food restaurants with drive-through options, bed and breakfasts cemeteries and car repair garages were on his long list.
Chiesa also believes the mixed use designation must be better defined. "So it's not anything goes," he said.
Lisa Chiesa would like to see amenities for pedestrians in the Balltown area.
"I would like to see sidewalks," she said. "That would be a nice thing for the community."
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]