Save the Pine Bush Comments on Proposed Hotel

written by Lynne Jackson

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Financial & Economic Impacts

Employment: The DEIS fails to identify all of the financial impacts of the proposed development. The DEIS indicates there will be both full and part-time employees, but does not show how much the employees will be paid.

If employees are paid minimum wage, and given no health insurance benefits, it is possible that the employees may be eligible for Medicaid and/or food stamps and/or HEAP and/or other social services. The Applicant should detail the wages that are planned, and how many employees would be eligible for social services.

Without this analysis, there may be hidden costs to the taxpayer for this proposed development.

Sprawl: The applicant left out the economic impacts of constructing this Residence Inn on the edge of the City.

In addition to the impacts to the individual employees as listed above, the applicant should assess how the rising cost of gasoline will impact this proposed development.

Tax Assessments: Pyramid Crossgates has a long history of appealing its tax assessments. The applicant should provide information about what the approximate tax assessment will be on the proposed project, and the financial impact on the City of appealing tax assessments for year after year.

485(b): The applicant should clearly state whether they intend to apply for a 485(b) tax break, and the amount of the tax break.

Disposal of Building: The applicant should detail the types of building materials to be used in the construction of proposed development, and indicate the length of time the buildings are expected to last. If the buildings are not expected to last at least 100 years, the applicant should describe the environmental impact of knocking the buildings down, and where the materials will be placed. In the last few years, a couple of relatively new (30 years) shopping plazas have been torn down, with tons of solid waste filling landfills.

Compliance with
“Partnership to Progress, Realizing Albany’s Future”, Evaluating The Implementation of Albany’s 1985 Strategic Plan, 1989

On Page 10 of the DEIS, the Applicant argues that this project is in line with the 1985 and 1989 Strategic Plan for Albany. However, it is important to note in the 1989 document, it says,

”The natural environment is just as important for the quality of life in the urban areas as in rural areas. The City of Albany is fortunate to have a very high percentage of open space land within its boundaries . . . The Pine Bush is a tremendous environmental resource for the City . . .Because of the uniqueness of the Pine Bush, highest priority should be given to the preservation of the primary preserve areas.

Also on Page 10, the developer says “However, the growth in taxable property valuation in the City has been hampered by transfer of property or property rights for the preservation of the Pine Bush.” The reason that the City of Albany is losing taxable properties in not because of Pine Bush preservation, but rather because of the decline in population due to the abandonment of the inner city. Concentrated development downtown produces more tax dollars per services used, as opposed to constructing outside the city center, where development requires more services per tax dollar.

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