Apartment complex celebrates city location

GLOVERSVILLE – The $11 million affordable-housing apartment complex, which the city unsuccessfully tried to block, celebrated its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday and presented the city with a $10,000 check.

Mayor Dayton King, who attended the event, said he will propose nonprofit organizations in the city apply for a portion of the money and partner with the city for community improvements.

About 40 people attended the ribbon cutting at the 48-unit apartment complex, which was developed by Kinderhook Development and is called Overlook Ridge Apartments. The complex is off Northern Terrace and Lee Avenue on the new Santos Drive.

No members of the Common Council attended the ribbon cutting.

The complex offers unfurnished one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Donna Bonfardeci of Kinderhook Development thanked her development team and city officials during the ceremony and said the city can use the $10,000 donation to improve the quality and character of the community.

“We are proud to be in the city of Gloversville and proud to bring quality affordable housing to its residents,” Bonfardeci said. “We are happy to raise the bar of what affordable housing should be in the state of New York.”

Construction on the project began last year after the state Court of Appeals denied the city’s legal effort to block the project. The court denied a motion filed by the city to seek further appeal after the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kinderhook.

The complex is accepting applications as they come in, Bonfardeci said. She said the complex has filled 22 of the 48 available apartments.

The one-bedroom apartments already are full, she said.

The complex has eight one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom apartments in four two-story buildings.

The income-based rent includes heat and hot water, and each unit comes with air conditioning and a dishwasher, according to Two Plus Four Management.

The complex has security surveillance systems and laundry facilities in each building.

The residents have access to an open community room with computers and Internet availability. Children have access to a playground on the property.

Since the project was proposed in 2009, neighbors voiced concerns. They were concerned the development might exacerbate groundwater problems and change the character of the neighborhood.

City police are under contract with the facility and performs background checks on tenants.

“We are here and want to be good neighbors, and I believe we will be good neighbors,” Bonfardeci said.

Residents of the development said they are pleased with what is available to them.

“I love it here and I think it is a great place to live,” said Jennie Lasher, one of the first three tenants to move in.

Another resident, Joan Egan, said she believes the cleanliness of the site has helped her asthma.

“I like it and I have asthma, so my lungs have cleared a lot since being here,” Egan said.

Geri Scocco, who also lives at Overlook Ridge, said the facility is better than some of the other affordable housing available in the city.

“The residents, staff and grounds are lovely here,” Scocco said. “I used to live over at the Kingsboro Towers, so moving to a place like this is like moving into the Taj Mahal.”

One neighbor of the complex, Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Richard J. Ottalagano, of 27 Lee Ave., said he didn’t attend the ribbon cutting because the property demands services but gets tax breaks.

He said the $10,000 is a “nice gesture” but doesn’t equate to what the city would receive from a tax-paying property.

Ottalagano said there is an issue with vehicles speeding as they leave and enter the housing development.

“It seems like people don’t like to obey the speed limit and use the two streets as a speedway when entering and exiting,” Ottalagano said. “The biggest violators of the speed law is the city transit bus, which seems to want to go a lot faster than it really should on Northern Terrace.”

He and other neighbors said little has changed because of the development, but they are waiting to see how things go.

Sixth Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski said he hasn’t heard any concerns from neighbors other than one complaint about traffic.

The mayor said he wasn’t sure why members of the council weren’t at the ribbon cutting. He said he believes the new facility looks great.

“This will be affordable and safe housing for residents to live in, and that’s important,” King said.

King said he is proposing a way for local groups to use some of the $10,000 donation. He said groups could send a letter to the city clerk with the amount requested and how the money would be used. He said while there may be restrictions on how the city “gives” money away, the city can partner with organizations. He said the deadline for turning in entries would be 4 p.m. Sept. 10, and the Common Council would review the entries and pass a resolution announcing the winners at a Sept. 24 council meeting.

His proposal would require council approval.

After the Overlook Ridge project received approval, the city established a nine-month moratorium on new multiple-family dwellings in residential districts. The moratorium expired in June. City officials said rather than extending the moratorium, they are considering a law limiting the number of units in new multiple-family dwellings in residential areas.

The city Planning Board recommended the Common Council not pass the proposed law. The Planning Board said it wouldn’t benefit the city to eliminate similar future residential development because of one bad experience.