Smart development, not over-development, was the theme of a public hearing held by the Town of Clifton Park on Monday night to address plans for redeveloping the property that once housed Kmart.
As the building has languished unoccupied, Windsor Development Group's embattled proposal to redevelop the old Kmart location with apartments has been a popular topic of discussion in town for years.
Windsor unofficially pitched the company’s latest development proposal for the site to the Clifton Park Planning Board in February. Plans call for the construction of 100 apartment units.
The 90,000-square-foot Kmart building, which has stood vacant for six years, would be demolished.
The apartments would be split over two separate buildings. Windsor already owns the land.
Anne Connolly, a Clifton Park resident who was the only member of the public who spoke at the meeting about the development, emphasized that she, like many others, are not against smart development in town. They all want to make sure large scale projects such as the Kmart redevlopment are the best versions possible.
"Clifton Park is home, I want to see Clifton Park be successful and I want to see Windsor Development be successful. It's a win-win deal for both," she said.
Connolly, who is active in local neighborhood groups, brought up examples that other cities had used in embarking on town center plans and filling apartments that had been built. Often, she said, developers decide on who their target demographic is, and find success when they add in features to the living spaces that reflect that values of that demographic.
"If it can be a target market, the chance of success is much better," she said.
Windsor's existing apartments currently target both empty-nesters and young professionals. The new apartments will target those same groups, the company confirmed at the meeting.
The future of the Kmart property has been unsettled for years as Windsor has been back and forth before the town with various plans for redevelopment.
Previous plans submitted in 2015 and 2016 called for 240 apartments on the site, with a five-story parking garage.
Those plans also called for 25,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the apartment structure. Another 75,000 square feet of space was previously included for offices, and 6,000 square feet was slated for a freestanding
According to Windsor's updated plan for the project, the apartments would generate 34 "vehicle trips" during peak morning travel hours, 44 "vehicle trips" during peak evening travel hours and 49 "vehicle trips" during peak Saturday travel hours.
This submission is Windsor's third attempt to win approval for an apartment project on the parcel. The apartments are a component of Windsor's larger $50 million redevelopment plan for the broader area.
The new plans do not incorporate any retail or other commercial space.
Earlier plans were rejected by the town because of density concerns voiced both by residents and Planning Board members.
Windsor is seeking an increase in the number of units allowed on the space. While town code allows 50 units, Windsor is looking to expand that to 100, which will be the subject of the public hearing.
In the past while looking at the project, Town Supervisor Phil Barrett has emphasized a changing retail industry that has led to the closure of large box stores, like Kmart and more recently in town, Toys R Us.
In February, the Planning Board passed a positive recommendation on the latest proposal to the Town Board. The board can now either approve the density increase and officially send the project back to the Planning Board to begin the approval process, or reject it.