Ohh, the water: West Albany neighborhood worried about more flooding problems
The West Albany neighborhood along Exchange Street with the location of a proposed senior housing facility on the right and Tobin’s First prize in the distance.
Jim Franco / Spotlght News
COLONIE — A senior housing project working its way through the planning process, by law, will not make chronic flooding in a West Albany neighborhood any worse. And a study funded by developers may ultimately help matters and provide some relief for the deluged homeowners.
Last week, the Planning Board heard from a number of residents before handing off to the Town Board a request for a Planned Development District along Everett Road to accommodate the senior housing apartment building. Residents were not enamored with the idea, and are afraid of more traffic in an already congested area and, more importantly, afraid it would lead to more water problems.
“There should not be any development allowed in West Albany before the flooding problem is resolved. You should not vote for this,” said Sumpter Street resident Anthony Catalano. “I’ve lost my hot water tank, my furnace, my electricity nine or 10 times in the past 10 years. The problem is not getting better. Taking the last piece of green space in West Albany and replacing it with blacktop is not the solution.”
The project, proposed by Crisafulli Associates, requires a change in zoning from Neighborhood Commercial Office Residential to a Planned Development District which allows for more residential density. With any PDD comes a contribution by the developer to benefit the town as a whole. The amount is formulaic, and in this instance it is proposed at $357,000 with a yet to be determined portion of it going towards a study of the West Albany neighborhood’s flooding issues to explore ways to alleviate some of the problems.
“The region has historically been a challenge relative to flooding. The people in the area really struggle and the town has been working on periodic flooding there for years. As much as we try manage the water, topography and global warming work against us,” said Town of Colonie Department of Public Works Commissioner John Cunningham. “I continue to look at any development in the area as an opportunity to improve watershed management. We have already started looking at this project to see how it might fit into an improvement.”
Frank Marino, a 52-year resident of Sumpter Street, said the issue is two pronged: one the culvert running under I-90 is too small and often gets clogged up and when water is released from the retention pond on Russell Road into Sand Creek, “flooding occurs and we have a disaster.”
“Something has to be done with the culvert. That will stop some of the flooding,” he said. “All we are asking for is a simple…