Environmental Impact Statement - Rapp Road Residential/Western Avenue Mixed Use Redevelopment Projects

This page will be used to disseminate information related to the Rapp Road Residential/Western Avenue Mixed Use Redevelopment Projects Environmental Impact Statement.  Please check this page regularly for any updates.

MARCH 25, 2020 PLANNING BOARD MEETING AND DEIS PUBLIC HEARING CANCELLED

In light of the current situation related to the coronavirus (Covid-19) and restrictions on social gatherings of 10 or more people, the March 25th Planning Board meeting has been cancelled.  The only item that was going to be scheduled on the March 25th agenda was the public hearing for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Rapp Road Residential/Western Avenue Mixed Use Redevelopment Projects.  No further information is available at this time.  The Town encourages anyone interested in commenting on the DEIS to submit written comments by the April 10, 2020 deadline.

DEIS PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE - MARCH 25, 2020 (published in the 3/9/2020 issue of the Times Union)

** FEBRUARY 28, 2020 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT UPDATE **

DEIS PUBLIC HEARING TO BE RESCHEDULED

The public hearing for the DEIS will be rescheduled for March 25, 2020 at 6:00PM.  The Town sent the public hearing notice to the Altamont Enterprise to be published in the February 27th issue of the newspaper, but the hearing notice was not published.  NYSDEC requires the public hearing notice to be published a minimum of 14 days prior to a public hearing for a DEIS.  Considering the Altamont Enterprise failed to publish the notice in February 27th issue of the paper the Town will not be able to meet the required minimum 14 days notice, therefore, the public hearing must be rescheduled.

An agenda item will be included on the March 11, 2020 Planning Board agenda for the Board to consider rescheduling the public hearing to March 25th. Additionally, the Board will also consider extending the public comment period to April 10, 2020, which would allow a total of 50 days of public comment, where 30 days is the required minimum.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement - Public Comments as of March 25, 2020

Agency Comments

Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Technical Comittee

Capital District Transportation Authority

Albany County Office of the Executive

Camoin Associates Fiscal Impact Analysis

Letters in Opposition to Project

Public Comment #1 - Grace Nichols

Public Comment #2 - B. Shields

Public Comment #3 - Greg Shields

Public Comments #4 - Lisa and Tom Hart

Public Comment #5 - Sudhakar Pillai

Public Comment #6 - Amanda Milne

Public Comment #7 - Craig Kennedy

Public Comment #8 - Iris Brody

Public Comment #9 - Judy Bliven

Public Comment #10 - Michelle Martin

Public Comment #11 - Sharon Pelton

Public Comment #12 - Susan Groves

Public Comment #13 - Mary Leach

Public Comment #14 - Ann Kistler

Public Comment #15 - Barry Howe

Public Comment #16 - Carol Siracusa

Public Comment #17 - John Canino

Public Comment #18 - Lynn Fisher

Public Comment #19 - Mark Plaat

Public Comment #20 - Patti Packer

Public Comment #21 Robyn Gray

Letters in Support of Project

Public Comment #1 - Andrew Kennedy

Public Comment #2 - Brian Kelly

Public Comment #3 - David Moore and Nicholas Galusha

Public Comment #4 - Adam and Noelle DiPietro

Public Comment #5 - Jason Zarillo

Public Comment #6 - Maureen Galofaro

Public Comment #7 - Michelle Viola-Straight

Public Comment #8 - Nicholas Winchell

Public Comment #9 - Loren Roberts

Public Comment #10 - Craig Werner

Public Comment #11 - Rick Bult

Public Comment #12 - Andrea Crisafulli 

Public Comment #13 - Ira Dorsey

Public Comment #14 - Danielle Walsh

Public Comment #15 - Lisa Stevens

Public Comment #16 - Melissa Renzi

Public Comment #17 - Michael Palmer

Public Comment #18 - Danielle Grelek

Public Comment #19 - Danielle Defrancesca and Dana Galusha

Public Comment #20 - Stephanie and Paul Premo

Public Comment #21 - Todd Kilburn

Public Comment #22 - Steve Wacksman

Public Comment #23 - Nicole Ventresca-Cohen

Public Comment #24 - Carolyn Drooby

Public Comment #25 - Jack Collett

Public Comment #26 - Krishna Polturi

Public Comment #27 - Michael Hoover

Public Comment #28 - Praveen Bandi

Public Comment #29 - Purna Polturi

Public Comment #30 - Raghavendra Gorkal

Public Comment #31 - Rena Cunningham

Public Comment #32 - Susha Polturi

Public Comment #33 - Heidi Barcomb

Public Comment #34 - Brendan Brown

Public Comment #35 - Beth Pagan 

Public Comment #36 - Doug Zautner

Public Comment #37 - Lutfulla Ahravov

Public Comment #38 - Samual Brumsey

Public Comment #39 - Earl Peters

Public Comment #40 - Barbara Peplowski

Public Comment #41 - Barry Vadalia

Public Comment #42 - Jiaqi Peng 

Public Comment #43 - Justn Bopp

Public Comment #44 - Keerthi Shastri

Public Comment #45 - Laura Szesnat

Public Comment #46 - Marcus Kemblowski

Public Comment #47 - Phillip Pevzner

Public Comment #48 - Sandra Elkins

Public Comment #49 - Abida Abbas

Public Comment #50 - Abu Nashar

Public Comment #51 - Brandon Gutierrez

Public Comment #52 - Carver Laraway

Public Comment #53 - Chingiz Jafarov

Public Comment #54 - Erica West

Public Comment #55 - Harish Kumar

Public Comment #56 - James Dawson

Public Comment #57 - Janel Cocoma

Public Comment #58 - John McNiven

Public Comment #59 - Mahmut Salik

Public Comment #60 - Raghava Vemula

Public Comment #61 - Taslim Yousaf

Public Comment #62 - Tim Cooper

Public Comment #63 - William Smith

Public Comment #64 - Yunus Demircan

Public Comment #65 - William Trigg III

Public Comment #66 - William Brayton

Public Comment #67 - Tom Lapoce

Public Comment #68 - Steven Reo

Public Comment #69 - anonymous

Public Comment #70 - Ellen Handelman

Public Comment #71 - James Hamilton

Public Comment #72 - Jeff Tario

Public Comment #73 - Jessica Tremblay

Public Comment #74 - Mary and Steve Bjork

Public Comment #75 - Richard Ruzzo

Public Comment #76 - Scott Asher

Public Comment #77 - Terry Fazio

Public Comment #78 - Adam Southwood

Public Comment #79 - Cindy Keller Marra

Public Comment #80 - Karen O'Shaughnessy

Public Comment #81 - Kathy Andreski

Public Comment #82 - Mark and Jean Drislane

Public Comment #83 - Mary Hillman

Public Comment #84 - Michelle McHale

Public Comment #85 - Nancy Palma

Public Comment #86 - Sal Merola

Public Comment #87 - Stephen Knuth

** FEBRUARY 19, 2020 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT UPDATE **

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON THE DEIS IS NOW OPEN

In accordance with Article 8 of Environmental Conservation Law the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was accepted as complete by the Planning Board, as SEQRA Lead Agency, at the February 12, 2020 meeting.  The public comment period will officially commence on February 20, 2020 and will be open to public comment for a minimum of 30 days, and will expire at end of business on March 23, 2020.  At the February 12, 2020 meeting the Planning Board did indicate they would be open to extending the public comment period and would further discuss this at the public hearing.

The Planning Board scheduled a public hearing for the DEIS to be held at their March 11, 2020 meeting.  Please note the public hearing will start at 6:00PM.  

The proposed action, generally, consists of the following: Site 1 - Development of 222 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 3,900 square feet of commercial space on a ±19 acre site; Site 2 - Development of ±160,000 square feet Costco retail use with associated fueling facility located on ±16 acres and Site 3 - Conceptual development of ±115,000 SF of retail, 50,000 SF of office space, and 48 apartments on 11.34 acres.  The proposed action is located generally at Rapp Road, Crossgates Mall Road and Western Avenue in the Town of Guilderland. 

A hard copy of the DEIS is available for public review during normal business hours at the Planning Department in the Guilderland Town Hall. 

All comments should be submitted to Kenneth Kovalchik, AICP, Town Planner via email to kovalchikk@togny.org, or by mail to Town fo Guilderland Planning Department, 5209 Western Turnpike, Guilderland, NY 12084.

** December 24, 2019 Environmental Impact Statement Update **

The applicant has submitted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Planning Board.  The next step in the EIS process is the Planning Board has 45 calendar days to review the DEIS for completeness/adequacy to determine all elements of the scope have been incorporated into the DEIS.  The 45 day deadline will expire on February 7, 2020.  If the Planning Board finds the DEIS is not complete/adequate they will provide comments to the applicant to address and the applicant will have 30 days to respond. 

On Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Town Planner Kenneth Kovalchik, AICP gave a presentation at the Guilderland Public Library focusing on the SEQR Environmental Impact Statement review process, with a focus on the Rapp Road Residential/Western Avenue Mixed Use redevelopment EIS currently being reviewed by the Town.  To view the presentation click the link below:

EIS Site Location Map - Generally located at the intersections of Western Avenue, Crossgates Mall Ring Road and Rapp Road

Site Location map

Project Description

The applicant is proposing to construct the following development projects within the study area for the Environmental Impact Statement:

Site 1

Seeking approval for a total of 222 apartment and townhome units and 3,900 square feet of commercial space on 19.68 +/- acres in the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) District.  The proposed mixed-use development includes two five-story buildings and three two-story buildings with 84 covered and 278 surface parking spaces.  The parcel was previously used for decades as a pig farm and is now vacant land.  Due to specific restrictions in the TOD District for property west of Rapp Road, only multi-family dwellings, which may include certain ground floor commercial uses, are allowed on this site.  

Site 1 also identifies an area for potential future development on the northern portion of the site.  There is no development currently proposed for this area.  The DEIS has included a potential development scenario of 90 apartment units for this area strictly for purposes of analysis of all potential cumulative impacts.

Site 2

Located on 16 +/- acres within the TOD District at the intersection of Crossgates mall Road and Western Avenue.  Site 2 was previously developed as a small single-family residential subdivision and is now occupied by generally vacant structures. Redevelopment will require removal of 13 vacant structures and all associated infrastructure.  There is one occupied structure within Site 2 by a tenant of the Applicant.

The site is proposed for a development of 160,000 +/- square feet Costco retail use with associated fueling facility and 700 surface parking spaces.

Site 3

Located on 11.34 +/- acres within the TOD District between Site 2 and the recently developed hotel on Western Avenue.  The site was previously used for decades as a horse farm and more recently for overflow parking for Crossgates Mall.  There are no current redevelopment plans for this acreage.  The TOD conceptual plan includes 115,000 square feet of retail; 50,000 square feet of office space and 48 apartment.

Site Plans

SEQR Type I Action

In accordance with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act found at 6 NYCRR, Part 617, the Planning Board at its meeting of December 12, 2018 classified the project as a Type I action and to coordinate review of the action pursuant to 6 NYCRR 617.6.  The Planning Board also expressed its desire to be Lead Agency in review of this proposal and will automatically assume that role unless objection is received from another involved agency.

SEQR Coordinated Review Responses

Albany County Planning Board Recommendations

Applicant Response to Albany County Planning Board Recommendations

Applicant Response to City of Albany SEQR Coordinated Review Comments

Letters in Support of Project

Letters in Opposition to Project

SEQR Positive Declaration

At its July 10, 2019 meeting the Planning Board discussed their intent to issue a SEQR positive declaration for the project due to the cumulative impacts of this project and other potential projects that could be proposed within the TOD District.  The Board directed the Town Planner to draft a SEQR resolution with a positive declaration that will be reviewed at the August 14, 2019 Plannng Board meeting.  Once a positive declaration is issued the Town/applicant will begin Environmental Impact Statement process.

Positive Declaration

At its August 14, 2019 meeting, the Planning Board issued this Positive Declaration for the project due to the cumulative impacts of this project and other potential projects that could be proposed within the TOD District. 

Draft Scope

At its August 14, 2019 meeting, the Project Sponsor, pursuant to 6 NYCRR §617.8(6), submitted this Draft Scope which has also been mailed to all involved and interested agencies.  As required by 6 NYCRR §617.8, involved and interested agencies and the public may provide written comments on this Draft Scope through the end of business on October 2, 2019.  Written comments may be emailed to Town Planner Kenneth Kovalchik at kovalchikk@togny.org or by mail or hand-delivery to Town of Guilderland Planning Board, Town Hall, PO Box 339, 5209 Western Turnpike, Guilderland, NY  12084.

Page 10 of the draft scope mentions appendices to accompany the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  The appendices are not required to be included in the scope and will be incorporated as part of the DEIS.   At this phase of the EIS process the Town/Applicant are completing the scoping for and information to be included in the DEIS.  Information related to Appendix A – F have previously been provided and are posted on the Town’s website under "Planning Board - Active Development Projects".  Appendix G, H, I, J and K pertain to the Western Avenue development and will be prepared and included in the DEIS when they are completed.

This Draft Scope will remain available on this website or by contacting the Town Planner.  

Draft EIS Concept Plan

Draft Final Scope - Red Lined

Summary of Scope Public Comments 

Summary of Scope Public Comments - revisions underlined

Draft Scope Comments as of October 3, 2019

Environmental Impact Statement Process

EIS Time Frame Flow Chart

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

An EIS is a document that analyzes the full range of potential significant adverse environmental impacts of a proposed action and how those impacts can be avoided or minimized.  An EIS can be labeled as draft, final, supplemental or generic.  A draft EIS is the version of the EIS which the lead agency makes available for public review and comment.  In a final EIS, the lead agency responds to the substantive comments or issues identified during the public review period.

 What is the purpose of an EIS?

An EIS provides a means for agencies to give early consideration to environmental factors and assists in the balancing of environmental issues with social and economic considerations in planning and decision making.  The EIS must identify and analyze significant adverse environmental impacts; evaluate alternatives to avoid one or more of those impacts; and discuss mitigation measures which could minimize identified impacts.  EIS procedures also provide the means for public review and comments about a proposed action.

Scoping and the EIS

Scoping is a process that develops a written document (scope) which outlines the topics and analyses of potential environmental impacts of an action that will be addressed in a draft EIS.

What is the purpose of scoping an EIS?

The purpose of scoping is to narrow issues and ensure that the draft EIS will be a concise, accurate and complete document that is adequate for public review.  The scoping process is intended to:

  • Ensure public participation in the EIS development process;
  • Allow open discussion of issues of public concern; and
  • Permit inclusion of relevant, substantive public issues in the final written scope.

Is there a time period for scoping?

60 days.  The scoping period starts when the project sponsor files a draft scope with the lead agency.  The lead agency then circulates the draft scope, solicits public input, and provides a final written scope of issues to the applicant and all involved agencies within 60 calendar days of the filing of the draft scope.

What is the purpose of a draft EIS?

The draft EIS is the primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action.  The draft also provides a basis for public review of, and comment on, an action’s potential environmental effects as identified in the final scope.  The draft EIS accomplishes those goals by examining the nature and extent of identified potential environmental impacts of an action, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.

Draft EIS Public Comment Period

The period must be a minimum of 30 days, during which all concerned parties are encouraged to offer their comments to the lead agency.  The comment period must continue at least 10 days following the close of a public hearing, if one is held.

Preparation of the Final EIS

The lead agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the final EIS, regardless of who prepares it. The final EIS should be prepared within 45 calendar days after the close of any hearings or within 60 days after the filing of the draft EIS, whichever occurs last. The final EIS must consist of: the draft EIS, including any necessary revisions and supplements; copies or a summary of the substantive comments received and their sources; and the lead agency's response to the comments. The Notice of Completion of the Final EIS must be prepared, filed distributed and published as described in section 617.12. The lead agency must also publish the Final EIS on a publicly available website.