Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:56

Malta Residents Speak Out Against Route 9 Project

The Malta Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Photo by Larry Goodwin; and a site map of the proposed Red Pine Grove complex in Malta. Provided by Project Manager John Romeo of Insite Northeast Civil Engineering Design. 

MALTA – Nearly 20 local homeowners spoke at a public hearing of the Malta Planning Board Tuesday night, making clear their concerns about a proposal involving 15 acres of forested land between Ellsworth Commons and the Cramer Woods neighborhood.    

A majority of residents called upon by Planning Board Chairman William Smith stated their opposition to Conifer Realty’s proposed Red Pine Grove complex. It would include 12 three-story “workforce housing” towers, as the firm calls them, and a separate apartment building with 70 units for senior citizens closer to Route 9.

Rockrose Way homeowner Cliff VanGuilder was among the first to speak. In a letter, he urged planning board members to “be careful in deciding whether this development is actually needed, and whether it is sustainable for the tax base.”

As 9 p.m. approached, more than a dozen residents had criticized the Red Pine Grove proposal. They alleged that town officials are not properly studying impacts on local traffic and schools, among various other matters. 

Smith said he would leave open the public hearing. The planning board is expected to revisit Conifer Realty’s proposal at its next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18. 

The same land, on the eastern side of Route 9, had been previously chosen for the Malta Crossings proposal, which included a mix of residential, retail and a hotel.

“It was a pretty aggressive design,” observed David Bogardus, a consultant to Conifer Realty. The overall density of the Red Pine Grove buildings “has been significantly reduced” by about 50 percent, he added.

Brian Donato, senior project director at Conifer Realty, responded to many of the residents’ concerns, including the need for more local housing complexes.

Conifer Realty is in the process of building the Blue Heron Trail residential towers a few minutes west in the Town of Ballston.

The company would not advance its Red Pine Grove proposal, Donato said, if “we didn’t think there was a market for it.” 

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