Developers of industrial property usually look for parcels that are suitably zoned for the intended use. However, even land that has been placed in an industrial zone may preset problems that cannot be easily solved. Such is the case with a warehouse proposal considered by the Colonie Planning Commission on August 2, 2022.
The developer presented the Planning Commission with a plan for a warehouse rental facility on just over an acre of land on Curry Road. The land is zoned Airport Business Area, in which the proposed use is a permitted use. However, the plan met resistance from the members of the Planning Commission.
The building was described by its designer as a “flex warehouse” in which small garage units are rented by individual tenants. The building is intended to house equipment owned by small contractors who do not want to spend money on a storage facility. According to the plans presented to the planning commission, each unit would have an overhead door on the side facing Curry Road.
While the land is properly zoned, it lies within a conservation overlay district, which increases the amount of greenspace required for approval. The proposed plan includes 47.6% greenspace, while the conservation overlay requires 40%.
Problems with the proposal
According to the Town Designated Engineer, the biggest problem with the proposal is its location in a conservation overlay district. The protected land could be conveyed to an outside agency or to a private party with an appropriate deed restriction.
Some planning commission members objected to the placement of the overhead garage doors. This feature made the project nonconforming compared with other nearby buildings. Curry Road has a mandatory 50-foot set back in front of the proposed building, which, according to the owner, makes moving the overhead doors to the rear very difficult.
Another commissioner expressed reservations about making Curry Road “another Railroad Avenue.” The proposal will require at least two more reviews by the Planning Commission before a permit can be issued.
Sound advice from an environmental lawyer
As this case makes clear, even an apparently simple land use application can run into complications when it is presented to the Planning Commission. Anyone considering making a development proposal that will require a Planning Commission review may wish to retain an experienced land use and environmental lawyer for advice and assistance in presenting the project to zoning officials.