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.

May 27, 2020 UPDATE - NEXT STEPS - Pursuant to 6 CRR-NY 617.9.a.5 the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) should be prepared within 45 days of the public hearing, or July 10, 2020.  The lead agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the FEIS. The FEIS 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. 

May 27, 2020 UPDATE - The public comment period ended on 5/26/2020.  All public comments have been uploaded to the DEIS webpage.  The Town received a total of 608 public comments during the 96 days of the public comment period for the DEIS.

May 19, 2020 Update - For those that may be hearing impaired the Town is providing a transcript of the May 13, 2020 DEIS public hearing.  A copy of the transcipt can be found by clicking here: May 13, 2020 DEIS Public Hearing Transcript

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT PUBLIC HEARING DATE SCHEDULED FOR MAY 13, 2020 AT 6:OOPM. Click the link for more information.

DEIS PUBLIC AND AGENCY COMMENTS AS OF MAY 27, 2020 (PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ENDED 5/26/2020:

SEQR Agency Comments

Non-SEQR Agency Comments

Reports Submitted by Public

Letters in Opposition to Project

Letters in Support of Project

Letters Neutral for the Project

DEIS Documents

In accordance with Article 8 of Environmental Conservation Law the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was accepted as complete by the Planning Board at their February 12, 2020 meeting.  The public comment period officially commenced on February 20, 2020.

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.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Completeness Review 

The applicant submitted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Planning Board on December 24, 2019.  The Planning Board had a minimum of 45 calendar days to review the DEIS for completeness/adequacy to determine all elements of the scope have been incorporated into the DEIS.  The Planning Board accepted the DEIS as a complete document at the February 12, 2020 Board meeting.  

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.

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.