Richmondville’s 40-unit apartment complex moved forward when the village planning board approved the project Thursday.
The approval includes conditions that Housing Visions, the developer, must meet.
The planning board’s approval is not the final step. It’s only a recommendation to the village board, which makes the final decision. The village board was to meet Tuesday night.
Planning board members approved the project despite objections from residents who felt that the complex doesn’t fit with Richmondville and especially that it will increase traffic on the single entrance.
If fully approved, the entrance-exit will connect to the village street that serves Radez School.
Earlier this month, the Schoharie County Planning Commission recommended disapproval primarily because of the congestion on the village-Radez street.
Housing Visions, however, altered its plans by adding a second road to the street from the back end of the complex parking lot.
Planning board members remained concerned about the traffic. Joan Sondergaard, an alternate to the board, did a traffic count for four days last month when Radez opened and closed and was surprised at the amount of traffic.
Board members felt congestion might worsen when tenants at the complex left for work when school buses and cars were arriving at Radez.
“I was shocked at the number of cars in the morning,” Ms. Sondergaard said. “I could see that could be a problem.”
But both planning board Co-Chair Diana Spenello and member Dennis Shaw pointed out that there are few problems at Golding Drive in Cobleskill, the entrance to Ryder and Golding schools.
“People will use their sense,” Mr. Shaw said. “They drive slower around schools, and crosswalks will force people to drive slower.”
As for complaints that Candlewood Court––the name of the complex––doesn’t fit Richmondville, planning board members pointed out that the neighborhood is already mixed commercial and residential.
The new Dollar General, storage units, Richmondview Estates, the Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Service building and homes are all nearby, they noted.
“The neighborhood is so diverse, it’s hard to say this would be a detriment,” Ms. Spenello read from the board’s report.
Board members approved the complex with the following conditions:
•Adding two sidewalks, one to Radez and one to link with the village sidewalk.
•Widening the second road to the complex so that emergency vehicles can use it more easily.
•Expanding parking, if necessary.
Also, Mr. and Ms. Spenello suggested that the village urge the state Department of Transportation to study traffic where the village-Radez street meets Route 7.
Housing Visions is a non-profit, so it will seek a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement. Ms. Spenello strongly argued that the village board seek advice from a PILOT expert and the village attorney.
Working with experts is essential, Ms. Spenello added, “to get the most tax benefits for the Village of Richmondville.”
To override the county planning commission’s rejection, four of five planning board members needed to approve the project.
Ms. Spenello, Co-Chair Linda Carpenter, Mr. Shaw and Helen Detiberus voted in favor; Lisa Scott voted against.