60-unit apartment complex proposed for Johnstown

Developer Gary Carstens presents plans for a 60-unit housing unit to the Johnstown City Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — A proposal for a possible 60-unit standard housing apartment complex in the city — to be located east of Route 30A — came before the city Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall.

No action was taken following a presentation by developer Gary Carstens of Saratoga Springs-based DHC Properties for a project at 33 N. East Ave.

Board Chairman Peter K. Smith urged Carstens to “reapply” with the board and present more details in the future. After that point, Smith said a public hearing will be scheduled for the project.

Smith said an environmental review and possible stormwater plan needed to be done. He told Carstens he “had a ways to go yet” on his project.

Carstens said he merely wished Tuesday to provide a “sketch plan preview” to the board.

The apartments will not be accessed off Route 30A, but will have North East Avenue access.

The 60-unit structure would consist of one and two-bedroom units on approximately 10 acres, with access on North East Avenue. The application adds that the project will provide a pedestrian walkway to Route 29 and Route 30A sidewalks. The proposal also notes there will be “generous green space recreation areas” built into the project.

“The project is directly behind the Microtel,” Carstens said.

He said the apartment complex was north of a creek and will consist of five, two-story buildings. He said an old house will be demolished. He said the development will be looking for city water and sewer services.

Carstens said the new apartment complex won’t touch designated wetlands that are in the area, as well as a buffer area.

“We’re out of the buffer, we’re out of the wetlands,” he said.

The project will have a “lighted walkway,” Carstens said.

City Engineer Christopher Vose, also a board member, asked Carstens to provide documentation related to an environmental review.

“I’d like to see a long form due to the proximity to the wetlands,” Vose said.

Allowed by the board to speak, Marilyn Poitras of 38 N. East Ave. expressed skepticism about the project. She said her area, which she has lived in since 1993, is “oversaturated” with housing. She said that includes the 24-unit Hillside Place Apartments at 180 Briggs St. Ext.; and the 72-unit Maple Knoll Apartments at 16 N. East Ave.

“It’s too small of an area to have 156 units,” Poitras said.

She also questioned whether the sidewalks will go in the buffer zone.

City Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer said sidewalks can be built “anywhere,” including the buffer zone.

Poitras also brought up a subject the Common Council has dealt with — public complaints about congested, reckless and speeding traffic in the North East Avenue area.

“You take your life into your hands,” she said.

She said there can be a scenario by which wetlands overflow from one side of the street to the other.

Poitras added, “I’m on the top of the hill. It’s just a place you don’t need more vehicles.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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