The safety of residents and Town employees is paramount at all times with special care needed for winter weather. Please keep a safe distance from Highway Department plows, and look out for Parks Department’s sidewalk plows that are dealing with massive snow banks dumped on sidewalks. Please help firefighters by keeping fire hydrants free of snow and ice and making sure that your house street number is visible from the road.
The following is an update on 2019 notable events and 2020 plans.
Website and Transparency Updates
The Town continues to promote transparency and public involvement in its review of land use projects. The public is invited to staff meetings at Town Hall on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10:00am for a pre-application review of land use projects. The development planning committee’s agenda and pre-application materials are available on the Planning Board’s webpage. The Town also added supplemental public notice of land use applications by requiring the posting of informational placards about a pending application at the project site during the review.
Beginning in January 2020, the Town website will have live broadcasts of Town Board, Zoning Board, Planning Board and IDA meetings. The website will also include indexed copies of the broadcasts. The Town Clerk will add an online option for renewing dog licenses, and will join the Receiver of Taxes and the Building & Planning Departments in allowing credit card payments.
The Planning Department continues to add useful features to the Town’s interactive mapping application. In addition to lot boundaries, contours, road ownership, boundaries of zoning, fire, school, and agricultural districts, and trails, the GIS mapping now includes overlays of the Pine Bush Management Plan, FEMA flood zone, and wetlands. Within each feature, there are links to more information. For example, the trail features allows a user to access highlighted trails (Town, Pine Bush, DEC, and Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy), with links to specific trail maps and useful information. On the Pine Bush Management Plan feature, you can determine the Pine Bush’s assigned protection level (protected lands, and recommended full and partial protection) for parcels within the Pine Bush study area.
Response to Climate Change
In 2019, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation recognized the Town as a “Climate Smart Community” for its pledge to address climate change by enacting climate-smart land use principles, setting goals for climate action, and shifting to renewable energy. The NYS Energy Research Development Agency recognized the Town as a “Clean Energy Community” and, in 2019, awarded the Town a grant to convert Town Hall’s lights to LED.
In late 2019, the Town adopted a local law to participate in the Community Choice Aggregation (“CCA”) program which would allow the Town’s purchase of electric power on behalf of residents from an alternative energy supplier, with delivery and service from National Grid. The Town has joined with Bethlehem, New Scotland, and Voorheesville in this effort. In 2020, the Town will start implementing the CCA program.
In 2020, the Town, with the assistance of the NYS Power Authority, plans to purchase 603 street luminaries from National Grid and converting them to LED. The Town is partnering with New Scotland, Altamont and Voorheesville on a combined effort to maintain the LED lights.
UAlbany Planning Department’s Studio Project
The UAlbany Planning Department chose the Town for its 2020 Spring Semester graduate program’s studio project which will inventory the Town’s growing open space, GIS mapping of trails, and recommendations for trail connections. The project will advance the Comprehensive Plan’s goal of creating a “green infrastructure” of multiuse trails connecting neighborhoods and desired destinations.
Town Ambulance Update
In 2019, the Town EMS Department completed its first full year of operating an ambulance service. The Town’s ambulance system continues to reduce response times by deploying an additional overnight ambulance. The ambulances provide advanced life support services with cardiac monitoring, pain management, IV fluids, and sedation. In spring 2020, the Town will acquire its first new ambulance (the current ambulances were purchased used and maintained by Highway Department mechanics).
Road & Sidewalk Projects
In April 2020, the NYS Thruway Authority plans to start the replacement of the Old State Road bridge over the Thruway. This construction project will result in the complete closure of the bridge for seven months.
The Town is working closely with NYS DOT on Carman Road projects, including paving its entire length, constructing a roundabout at Lydius Street, and a new sidewalk from the roundabout to the Pine Bush Elementary School. These projects will proceed in stages, starting in 2020 with the repaving of Carman Road from Western Avenue to Coons Road, and design work for the sidewalk and roundabout, with its construction and paving of the remainder of Carman Road in 2021.
In 2020, the Town anticipates the construction of a new sidewalk on Western Avenue from Regency Park to the Guilderland Public Library. Last year, the Town acquired part of Mercy Care Lane, converted it from a private road to a Town road, and restored access for Library patrons and others to reach the Western Avenue traffic light at Winding Brook Road. The Town is continuing to work on taking ownership of the remainder of Mercy Care Lane, and improving the entire road to Town Highway standards.
New Water Connection with Rotterdam
In late 2019, the Town constructed the new pump station and interconnection which links the Town of Guilderland and Town of Rotterdam water systems. The Town received a State grant of $2,372,863.00 for 60% of the project cost, with the balance paid by Water Department reserves. In early 2020, the Town will activate the interconnection and purchase up to 2 million gallons of water per day. Unlike surface water from the Watervliet Reservoir, the Rotterdam water is drawn from an aquifer and does not require expensive treatment for algae and organic materials.
McKownville Stormwater/Water Infrastructure Project
In 2019, the Town continued constructing the long-awaited stormwater system to alleviate the flooding of basements in McKownville homes, and replacing aged water lines. The cost of the project is funded, in part, by State grants totaling $3,250,000.00 secured through State Senator George Amedore, State Senator Neil Breslin, and Assemblyperson Patricia Fahy. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.
On behalf of the Town of Guilderland and its employees, we wish all of our residents, their families, and businesses a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year.
Peter G. Barber, Town of Guilderland Supervisor