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Proposed Waite Meadows subdivision rendering

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> The developer of a major residential subdivision proposal for Waite Road is requesting the town’s unique open space incentive zoning and will make a presentation on the project at the June 13 planning board meeting.

Waite Meadows developer Pete Belmonte is seeking approval from the town to increase the maximum number of single family homes allowed on the 98 acre parcel from 34 to 68.

In a March 15 letter to town supervisor Philip Barrett, Belmonte requested to implement the incentive zoning rule as found in the town’s Western Generic Environmental Impact Study.

The WGEIS impacts all development west of Vischer Ferry Road. Through this program developers can purchase additional lots to increase the project’s density at a cost of $30,000 per lot.

If approved, the Belmonte would pay $1,020,000 for the additional lots. All money received from incentive zoning goes into the town’s Open Space Fund and can only be used to purchase open space or development rights within the boundaries of the WGEIS.

A representative for Belmonte made the initial presentation on the revised project to the town board on May 1.

In 2011 the developer received approval from the planning board for a 33-lot conventional subdivision. However, the project was never started. With the latest request the planning board will now consider the project as a planned development district with its own zoning.

At the May 1 town board meeting, Belmonte’s project engineer said in adhering to the restrictions of the WGEIS the housing pattern will be done as a cluster design using smaller lots of 15,000-squre-feet to 20,000-square-feet. The cluster layout frees up more land for open space. Four proposed cul-de-sacs have been eliminated and a continuous through road in the subdivision is now part of the design.

Where the earlier plan proposed 64.4 acres of open space, the new one has 75 acres. The land will either be restricted from development or dedicated to the town.

Plans call for public water, public sewer, and a continuous asphalt walking and hiking trail that will be available to the public.

What was once planned as an extremely wide boulevard entrance to accommodate emergency vehicles has been replaced by a conventional entrance-exit road. To obtain a waiver from a requirement for a second entrance to the subdivision, the developer has agreed to put fire sprinklers in every home.

The Town Director of Building and Codes Steve Myers said he discussed the fire sprinklers with Belmonte when the project was initially proposed as a way to eliminate the requirement of a 60-foot-wide boulevard entrance.

“The fire sprinkles give better protection than a wider road,” Myers said. “It’s really a minor cost to building a house and he’ll get a good price on the sprinklers and the labor with all the volume.”

Myers said several homes in Fairway Woods have sprinklers because of their distance to the nearest fire hydrant.

Belmonte, who was at the May 1 meeting, said the fire sprinklers operate off elevated temperatures and are not designed to save a home in case of fire but save lives by giving occupants.

When asked why he chose to put fire sprinkler in the design he said it came out of the discussions with the town on the amount of asphalt needed in the original plan.

“We wanted to cut down on the amount of black top, make it more environmentally sensitive,” he said. “It’s a better project and with a better project they’ll sell better. In the end it’s a wash for us because what we save on asphalt will just go into the sprinklers.”

Two residents who live near the site commented on the project at the conclusion of the May 1 meeting. Wendy Wagner said she had resigned herself to accepting 33 homes only to see the number increase to 68.

“Our rural road can’t accept that number of homes,” she said. “It’s busy now.”

Michelle Bissonette, another neighbor of the project, agreed with Wagner that the project seemed too dense for the road. She also expressed concern that her 300-foot-deep well would be affected.

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