Guilderland, NY: A speculator has proposed to
sub-divide 7.9 acres of Pine Bush in the full protection area
between the New York State
Thruway and Lydius Street. The proposal is currently before the
Guilderland Planning Board.
Last January, Mr. Coles, a real estate appraiser, proposed
sub-dividing the property into four lots. There is already
one house on the
property, near Lydius Street, three more houses would be built.
There is a large dune on the property between the current house
and the Thruway. The proposed subdivision would require that
the dune be cut into to create a driveway for the lot that
adjacent to the Thruway.
At the Planning Board meeting, Steven Feeney, the chair,
asked the developer about the noise levels of the lot adjacent
the Thruway. The developer reported on the noise studies
He noted that the decibel level between the dune and the
Thruway, where one house is proposed to be built, was measured
According to the web site of the League of the Hard of Hearing
which lists the noise levels from common machines and environments,
a refrigerator is 50 decibels, a sewing machine is 60 decibels,
and a vacuum cleaner can range from 60-85 decibels. Normal
conservation is rated at 60 decibels.
Intensity of sound is measured in decibels on a logarithmic
scale. This means that 30 decibels is 10 times louder
than 20 decibels,
and 50 decibels is 100 times louder than 30 decibels.
Each increase of 5 decibels doubles the loudness. Noise levels
above 85 decibels
can lead to hearing loss.
Sixty-nine decibels is loud for background noise, louder
than a refrigerator, sewing machine and some vacuums.
concern that a homeowner who purchased this property
may, after finding out how loud the Thruway is, complain
the Town of
Guilderland and ask for a remedy. Mr. Coles disagreed,
saying that the back
lot, behind the dune, would afford the homeowner privacy,
out-weighing any concerns about noise.
Lynne Jackson, speaking for Save the Pine Bush, noted
that this property is on a full-protection area of
Bush and requested
that the Board declare this parcel a Type I action
under the State Environmental Review Act. She further
the developer to prepare a full environmental impact
Ms. Jackson noted that the Pine Bush is a globally
rare ecosystem, located on sand dunes. Sand dunes
of the Pine Bush,
and this proposed development would destroy a dune.
This development would further fragment this delicate
impact of having invasive species such as black
locust which add large amounts of nitrogen to the sand,
need to be examined.
The Pine Bush once spanned at least 58,000 acres,
and today there is less than 5,800 acres, only
10% of its
size. Of this
5,800 acres, only about 2950 acres has been dedicated
to the Preserve. Half of the Pine Bush is privately
owned, and subject
at any time.
Mr. Feeney offered to the developer concept approval
for the development if Mr. Coles agreed to
the dune and
the Thruway. Mr. Coles declined the offer,
preferring to pursue getting approval for the four-lot subdivision.
Board made no decision and no date was given
for the next discussion of this proposal.