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Plans call for apartments in middle of a city block

Absence of direct access to city streets a complication

January 13, 2014
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - A Clifton Park builder is seeking the city's approval to construct apartment buildings in the middle of a large city block off Kingsboro Avenue where there currently is no direct access to a road.

Sean Brennan presented the Planning Board with a concept plan for Kingsboro Arms, which would be located on wooded land behind homes along the west side of Kingsboro Avenue between Third and Fifth avenues. The lot is in the center of a block, adjacent to back yards for houses on those streets.

The project site is approximately 1.91 acres, according to Planning Board documents. Brennan wants to build five four-unit apartment buildings on the property. The concept plan shows the property being subdivided into six parcels and each apartment building would sit on its own lot.

Article Photos

A Clifton Park man is hoping to build apartments in the wooded area in the center of a block of Kingsboro Avenue in Gloversville. Adjacent vacant land, which is now used for parking, would be used for access to the street.

The Leader-Herald/Levi Pascher

Brennan said his friend owns the property, and he has experience in building apartments through his company, STB Builders, Inc. According to county tax records, the property is owned by the Kingsborough Development Corp., whose address is in Niskayuna.

"A friend of mine owns the property and I'm just trying to help him develop it because he's been paying taxes on it since the 1960s," Brennan said.

But the concept notes a private road would serve as an access driveway to the property, but development isn't allowed on sites without direct access to a city street.

According to General City Law of New York State, building permits for any building cannot be issued unless a street or highway giving access to the structure is on the official map.

"They are looking at a concept of how to develop property on Kingsboro Avenue, but before they spend any more money they wanted to see what the board thought," Senior Planner Sean Geraghty said. "Unfortunately, under City Law of New York State you can't issue building permits for buildings that are not directly on a public street."

Geraghty said the access driveway would have to be offered as a public street.

"There is a big lot sitting in the middle of that block that is undeveloped," he said.

The proposal calls for five building lots and one additional lot, which would include a private access road.

Since the law requires city access, the Planning Board gave Brennan several options:

He can approach the Common Council to see whether it would be willing to accept ownership and maintenance responsibilities for a new public street that would provide access to five new building lots.

He could seek an area variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, under the same provisions of General City Law.

He could pursue the project with five multi-family structures on one parcel and seek an interpretation and/or variance from the Zoning Board to find out if this is an allowable use in the residential zoning district.

Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones told Brennan in order for the city to turn the driveway into a public street connected to?Kingsboro Avenue, several things would be required, including ensuring the street was 22 feet wide with a 50-foot right of way, curving and sidewalks.

Brennan said this morning the roadway would be built on a vacant lot that's used only for parking. No houses would have to be demolished, he said.

"Whether they will pursue any of this I don't know," Geraghty said. "I don't know how they would find access to the building lots without doing that."

Geraghty also noted the concept plan left no room for snow removal during winter, because available space already was designated to park vehicles.

Jones said the site would need a way for plow and safety vehicles to have access and turn around.

Geraghty said the Planning Board took no action on the concept but only told Brennan about issues that would need to be addressed before approval could be considered or granted.

Also at last week's meeting, Chairman James Anderson and Vice Chairman Geoffrey Peck were re-elected by members of the board to serve another year in both of their positions.

 
 

 

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