Saratoga County company to donate 88 acres to town

Photographer: ShutterstockPhotographer: Shutterstock

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — Belmonte Builders LLC plans to donate over 88 acres of vacant land off of Bonneau Road to the town.

The announcement about the wooded parcel’s donation came during the Town Board’s Jan.2 meeting, during which board members unanimously agreed to accept the land. Belmonte Builders, based in Saratoga County, has completed residential projects in town before and has a housing development proposal pending before the town planning board for property off Waite Road.

The planning board has not addressed the Waite Road project since the summer, when residents voiced concerns about traffic increases and loss of forestland.

The donation, according to all parties involved, is not connected to the Waite Road project, or any future projects. Belmonte Builders approached the town with the offer a few months ago as a strict no-cost-attached agreement, said Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett.

“It wasn’t an offer to be associated with any project,” Barrett said. “That was made clear between the parties.”

Belmonte Builders has not made any similar donations to the town in the past, Barrett said.

In its effort to preserve open space in the area, the town does offer an open space incentive zoning law, by which developers with plans for the western part of town are able to seek greater building density in exchange for permanent land conservation or cash that the town would put into a fund specifically for open space preservation.

Belmonte Builders is seeking to take advantage of that incentive for the Waite Road project, offering an extra $1 million to the open space fund for 68 houses to be built on the site, instead of the original 33 homes.

The donated 88 acres will be added to the 1,400 acres of land that have been permanently set aside in town for open space purposes. The land off Bonneau Road consists of two contiguous wooded parcels that are adjacent to the Stony Creek Reservoir, which is an area Clifton Park has been pushing to preserve since it was listed as a priority in the Town’s 1995 Comprehensive Plan. The reservoir is owned by the town of Colonie and functions as a backup water source though Clifton Park.

According to Town Planning Director John Scavo, one of the donated parcels has an assessed taxable value of $90,000, and the other has an assessed value of $30,800. The company paid $657.22, and $234 on county taxes for those parcels, respectively, in 2017, according to Scavo.

While the town has no immediate plans to develop or add trails on the land at this point, Barrett said it is an area that the town has been interested in obtaining for awhile.

“We consider it a beautiful piece of property that the town will benefit from for many years to come,” Barrett said. “It’s important to protect that area. We believed it was very valuable from that standpoint.”

“We’ve always known that it’s been one of Clifton Park’s long-time aspirations to own the land,” Pete Belmonte, president of Belmonte Builders said. Based on the town’s interest, and the land’s proximity to the reservoir, as well as a currently existing trail system in the area, Belmonte noted that the donation was one that the company has been considering for some time.

Previously, a recreational trail through the area, called West Sky Trail, was forced to stop a Bonneau Road. With the donation, the town could potentially continue that trail through the old Belmonte land all the way to Judith Drive, which is located to the south off of the parcels adjacent to the reservoir.

“It’s certainly been an  idea in our head for awhile (to donate the land),” Belmonte said. “This would lend itself very well to continue the trail to connect back to Judith Drive.”