GLENVILLE -- The Town Board has declared a community plan developed by Alplaus residents "a valuable resource" for town planning officials, giving some official weight to residents' hopes to preserve their hamlet's community character.
The measure approved by the Town Board on Wednesday falls short of residents' hopes of having their plan adopted as part of the town's comprensive plan, but nevertheless said it will be considered when town officials review development plans in and around the hamlet.
"I'm glad we were able to find a compromise," said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. "This is a very strong document."
The plan was developed by the Alplaus Residents' Association with some help from former Town Board member Jim Martin, a professional land use planner. The association had hoped their plan could become an official part of the town comprehensive land use plan. But when they presented the plan on April 3, Koetzle told them it was too soon to change the comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2017.
"I'd like to thank the Alplaus residents for the passion they have for the neighborhood," said Town Board member Michael Godlewski. "I would hope other neighborhoods are watching."
Alplaus, with about 400 residents, is filled with houses built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, making it one of the older communities in Glenville, much of which is characterized by post-World War II suburban development. Residents say their community is unique and they want to preserve it.
The residents' Alplaus Hamlet Plan calls for seeking town help with issues like speeding enforcement on Alplaus Avenue, including electronic radar speed signs; building wider shoulders or sidewalks to increase pedestrian safety; providing crosswalks; and improving lighting and drainage.
A dozen residents at the meeting applauded the Town Board vote.
Gray Watkins, an attorney on the residents' association board, said the residents' next steps will be to start working with the town and Schenectady County officials on specific items for action.
In large part, the residents' efforts to control their own destiny stems from public debate in 2016-2017, when a high-density development was proposed along the Mohawk River frontage just south of the settled area, on an industrial brownfield site and a marina. Those plans were ultimately withdrawn in the face of residents' criticism, but it spurred discussion among residents' about wanting to offer their own vision for the future.
The current town comprehensive plan, which was adopted in October 2017 after three years of development and review, calls for keeping Alplaus' residential character, but -- significantly -- it doesn't consider the riverfront lands to be part of the hamlet. The residents say it should be, arguing that the riverfront is an integral part of the hamlet, and how it is developed could change the community. That disagreement remains unresolved.
The Town Board resolution says that the residents' plan will be considered "a valuable resource for town staff and all the town's committees and commissions to consider in their deliberations that relate to the hamlet, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the town's Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code or any other official documentation related to the hamlet."