A proposed development on Jeffrey Court in Barclay Heights would add 24 apartment units to the lane, off Village Drive. The two buildings would occupy less than an acre of the 8-acre parcel, engineer Khattar Elmassalmah told the Town of Saugerties Planning Board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 19.
The proposed site plan shows two three-story buildings, each containing 12 apartments. Because less than an acre of land would be cleared, no mitigation plan is needed, he said, and the project would not affect the two wetlands on the property. The occupied area would be 27 feet high, with a building height from grade level to the roof peak of 34 feet.
The planning board raised questions and concerns about fire safety, available parking, and increased noise and traffic.
The Glasco Fire Company would have a difficult time fighting a fire in a three-story building because its ladder truck can’t reach that high, Planning Board member Mike Tiano said, citing notes from the fire chief. He said it wouldn’t be possible to get help from another department because under the existing parking plan, the lot would be completely occupied by vehicle’s of the first responding department.. He said the solution would involve widening the parking lot and adding another entrance.
Tiano said a second concern of the fire chief was bringing injured residents out of the buildings. “Will there be elevators available?” he asked. “Carrying a stretcher down three flights of stairs isn’t feasible due to space.”
A possible second access to the proposed development could be through the nearby Bishop’s Gate development, Tiano suggested.
Elmassalmah responded that the plans include a “hammerhead,” a short lane at the end of the roadway to allow vehicles to turn around.
“It’s not sufficient,” Tiano said. “Nobody thinks about the firemen, the ambulances, the emergency services.”
“I think about emergency services a lot,” Elmassalmah replied.
Planning Board member Carole Furman asked whether the buildings have sprinkler systems. Elmassalmah responded that they had to be by law. “At least that would slow a fire down,” Furman said.
The plan includes 36 regular parking spaces, one and a half spaces per apartment, which Elmassalmah said conforms to the town’s requirements. In addition, the project offers five spaces for compact cars, bringing the total number of parking spaces to 41.
In response to the suggestion that an apartment with two adults would more likely require two spaces,
Elmassalmah responded that potential tenants could make that decision themselves. “If there isn’t enough parking, they won’t rent.”
“If five or 10 percent of the tenants have visitors, there’s no parking for them,” said Planning Board Chairman Howard Post. He suggested possibly moving a dumpster to create space for parking. “You could pick up three to four spaces.”
Furman also said that while offering a hookup for electric vehicles is still not required, the board is looking at adding that to the zoning code. Elmassalmah said there is a service/utility building in the plans, and it might be possible to place electric vehicle connections there.
Traffic and noise
Planning Board member Kenneth Goldberg suggested that while a traffic study is not required for the project, it was first proposed more than a year ago, “and there have been some developments in terms of approved locations since then, which are going to add a lot of traffic to that area.” Goldberg said he is not demanding a study, but it is worth considering.
Post suggested looking at the number of units that have been added over the past year, and then deciding whether a further study would be needed. However, he pointed out that the side street opens onto Village Drive, not directly onto Route 9W, and that there’s a traffic light at Village Drive and Route 9W.
Residents of Jeffrey Court are used to the quiet street, and they had come out to oppose a previous proposal that would have added traffic, said Furman. A new proposal that could add 48 cars a day could again threaten their peace and quiet. “Is there anything that could be done to ameliorate their situation?”
Post also recalled the uproar over a previous proposal. “I know a public hearing is not required, but I think we should think about holding one,” he said.