Access road plan moves forward in Gloversville

GLOVERSVILLE – The city’s proposal to create an access road to promote business development along Route 30A is making progress.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved a land swap on South Kingsboro Avenue with the Foothills United Methodist Church.

The swap will free land-locked property owned by the church and provide the city with land for the proposed access road along Route 30A.

Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said the city is trading what used to be a street near the end of South Kingsboro Avenue.

He said the road was used before the construction of Route 30A but has since been closed off and splits property owned by the church on the south and north of the former roadway.

Jones said the church is interested in eliminating the land- lock to free up the property for a developer. The church did not name the developer.

Jones said the developer is expected to come before the Planning Board in August with plans.

The land is near the site of a church building the church started to construct but has not finished.

Jones said the city will benefit from the land swap because it is acquiring land near the flashing light at the intersection of South Kingsboro Avenue and Hill Street that will be used for the future development of the access road along Route 30A.

“Both sides are getting something they need from this,” Jones said.

According to the resolution, the land the city is giving up is considered surplus property and has no present or foreseeable use to the city.

Jones said the city will give about an acre to the church, while the city will receive about 1 1/2 to two acres for the future access road.

A public hearing was held on March 26 regarding the issue, and no one from the public spoke.

The access road would run west of Route 30A and parallel to it for about a mile between South Kingsboro Avenue and Steele Avenue. The road would have direct access to South Kingsboro Avenue at one end and Steele Avenue at the other end. It could connect with Route 30A at the halfway point. The proposed roadway would stretch 1.15 miles across nine parcels of privately owned land.

The road would be along the stretch of Route 30A that is seeing new development. A Walmart Supercenter off South Kingsboro Avenue will open in August.

The city had to submit a “break in access” request packet that included a finalized study of the access-road proposal to the state Department of Transportation for its approval.

The DOT has since provided comments back to the city and wants it to be made clear the city’s plan is to have development and commercial businesses on the edge of the city along Route 30A, Jones said.

He said this needed to be done by updating the city zoning map, which already was adopted by the Planning Board in May, as well as updating the city’s Master Plan, which would have to be reviewed by the Planning Board before being adopted by the Common Council.

Jones said he is working with C.T. Male Associates to update the city’s zoning map with all the changes that have been made in recent years and to correct inaccuracies in the map. He said the map was last updated in 1989.

Jones said in the coming months, hopefully by the end of summer, he will add to the city’s master plan to comply with requirements for the Department of Transportation’s approval of the planned access road.

He said the master plan doesn’t say the city opposes development along the edge of the city’s borders, but it doesn’t address the issue.

Jones explained all the city is doing is permitting a potential future city street and is not planning to build the street because that is typically taken care of by the developers.

In December, the Common Council unanimously approved the study findings conducted by Long Island-based Greenman-Pedersen Engineering and Construction Services and granted the company permission to finalize the study and submit it to the DOT.

The city hired Greenman-Pedersen for up to $25,000 to study the feasibility of the access road, and it made a public presentation of the study Dec. 11.

The study showed if the city is granted permission to build a direct access road off Route 30A, it will increase traffic on the state road by more than 145 percent compared to the city using an alternate plan to access properties, being eyed for potential development, using city roads.

Levi Pascher can be reached a [email protected].

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