Developer Drops Alplaus Housing Project

Oct 19, 2017

A controversial housing complex will not be coming to a riverfront property in Schenectady County after all. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports the developer pulled a proposal that faced opposition from some nearby residents.

The hamlet of Alplaus in the Town of Glenville rests along the Mohawk River across from Niskayuna and beside the Saratoga County hamlet of Rexford.

Cohoes-based Prime Companies had been considering the location for a new housing project. A 390-unit apartment and condo development with a marina was envisioned on a contaminated industrial waterfront site.

The project faced some opposition from neighbors. So the developer made changes like reducing the number of units and making buildings shorter.

But pressure kept building, and this week Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the developer chose to back out.

“We’ve had conversations with them, but really we were only served with I think was a one- or two-sentence written notification that they requested that the town board withdraw the application,” said Koetzle.

Prime Companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment from WAMC on Thursday.

In July, the town board requested the developer perform an environmental review of the project.

“We wanted to make sure that everybody had a clear understanding of what was on the property and the impacts the development the project would have on the property,” said Koetzle.

In August, the company submitted a Brownfield Cleanup Protection application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The site contains PCBs, asbestos, and other substances.

While discussions with Prime Companies were under way, the town had been drafting a comprehensive plan, its first since 1990. At a public hearing on the draft plan earlier this month, several residents remained concerned about development in the Alplaus area.

“One thing I don’t seem to have much of acknowledgement of is the flood plain…”

“I don’t think that you can do a high-density multi-family development down in the marina area, industrial park area and still preserve the character of Alplaus…”

At the request of Alplaus residents, the comprehensive plan was revised to include the site in within the Alplaus area.

On Wednesday night, some residents were still concerned about future development on the riverfront. Kathy Kelley is president of the Burnt Hills Rowing Association.

“The land use down in our area could greatly impact the safety of our kids and our program,” said Kelley.

The Glenville town board voted to approve the comprehensive plan, drawing praise from board member Jim Martin.

“I’m just immensely, immensely proud of this document. Not because it’s done, not just because of what it says, but how it was put together. It was truly a community effort,” said Martin.

When it comes to the future of Alplaus, Supervisor Koetzle says he’s reached out to the owner of the former industrial site and residents.

“We all have to understand that something is going to go there at some point and the better we can work together, I think, the better the project will be,” said Koetzle.