GLENS FALLS — Plans to build a 20-unit apartment complex between Union Street and Goodwin Avenue took a step forward on Monday despite opposition from residents who argued the project would have a bad effect on the neighborhood.
The city’s Zoning Board granted developer Chris Patten a density variance needed to construct the three-story complex on a half-acre parcel directly behind Heritage Apartments. The parcel is currently used as a parking lot.
Patten recently abandoned plans to build a similar sized complex at the corner of Glen and Bay streets. He said his new project would transform the neighborhood and had the support of several city officials, including Mayor Dan Hall.
“I met with the mayor and several city officials and this is a spot they wanted developed,” he said during the meeting.
Several residents along Goodwin Avenue argued the project does not fit with the neighborhood and expressed concerns about increased traffic, stormwater runoff and crime.
“It’s not justifiable to sacrifice the living community for the money that would be gained from this project,” said Frieda Toth, one of a handful of residents who spoke out against the project.
Patten said his project would help curtail crime and reduce stormwater runoff. He noted that plans to add security cameras and lighting are included in his proposal, along with additional green space and drainage in the parking lot.
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“We’re really looking to develop the city,” he said.
Others said crime has been a problem in the area for years and pointed to a fatal stabbing that occurred along Union Street in 2018.
Joshua Ross, a Goodwin Avenue resident, said he does not let his children play outside past 8 p.m. and believes the complex will provide additional shelter for criminals.
“This is Glens Falls, New York, we should not have to worry about this, and I don’t see how building another 20 units would help the crime in the area at all,” he said.
Patten said he hasn’t witnessed crime in the area, but knows it’s a problem. He plans to work with the city to address the issue and will provide any security tapes to the police department.
Zoning Board members said the concerns raised were well outside their purview. They noted the project still needs to be approved by the city’s Planning Board.
Patten, meanwhile, is hoping to break ground later this year or early next year. The project is still under development.
He began developing the site following a handshake agreement with city officials after his plans to develop a small piece of green space directly across from City Park were met with fierce resistance from city officials and residents.
The city has plans to buy the downtown green space but has not reached an agreement to do so.
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.