Thursday, 16 May 2019 10:18

Under Review: This Week’s Developments – City Hall, Affordable Housing Complex, Parking Garage

 SARATOGA SPRINGS - The city’s Design Review Commission is this week considering a historic review of renovations to City Hall.

The structure, which opened in 1871, was struck by lightning in August 2018, resulting in extensive fire and water related damage to the structure.  The majority of city business has since been temporarily relocated to the Vanderbilt Avenue recreation facility.

Improvements are being made to the infrastructure of the building – from electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, to communication, security systems and offices. A state mandated expansion, or additionalal court room, is also in the works.

The restoration and renovation work extends across all the building’s floors, including the upper-level Saratoga Music Hall. This week, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation released a statement to say it does not support the proposed change to the vestibule that alters the entry into the interior of City Hall and does not find the proposed treatment of the Music Hall appropriate.

Department of Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco is expected to provide an update of the City Hall renovation project at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.  Last November, city officials reported that the cost to reconstruct and restore City Hall is anticipated to carry an approximate $11.2 million price tag, with insurance proceeds expected to cover roughly half of the total project cost.


The city’s Planning Board, meanwhile, is considering a site plan modification to an approved multi-family residential project at 247 Washington St.

Named “Intrada,” the multi-unit affordable housing facility will be comprised of four buildings and more than 150 residential units. It will be located on Washington Street by the Saratoga Springs train station. The 19-acre property was purchased for $3.7 Million by the Vecino Group from Saratoga Route 29 Plaza Ltd.

Newly proposed modifications presented to the Planning Board include: screened fencing to provide privacy for patios, the addition of an egress door on the east side of building 1 on Washington St., a reduction in the number of parking lot poles – from 21 poles to 16 poles, bollard lights – from 31 poles to 11 poles, and decorative street lights – from 17 to 16. The landscaping plan was also reduced from the planting of 98 trees to 75 trees, and shrubs – from 198 to 159.  

Flat Rock Centre Parking Structure

Hundreds of pages of prepared documents pertaining to the City Center parking garage project have been submitted to both the Planning Board and the DRC. Both Land Use Boards are staging an advisory discussion on the proposed parking structure.

Included among the documents is a letter submitted by assistant building inspector and zoning officer Patrick Cogan stating that while he recommends the city seek an advisory opinion from the DRC, such review would be non-binding, and that the proposed action is exempt from the provisions of the city’s Zoning ordinance and that it “may proceed without requirements for approvals from the city’s Land Use Boards.” 

A second letter, submitted by Sustainable Saratoga, expresses concerns regarding the current design. Specifically, the organization cites that the structure would abut the Maple Avenue property line for over 200 feet and not be set back 50 feet from the property line of adjacent streets as recommended in the Zoning ordinance, potentially creating a “dead and unproductive street life.”  Additional concerns include: that the first floor of the parking garage should include commercial and civic spaces, and that the pedestrian bridge designed to cross over Maple Avenue is both, undesirable and unnecessary.      

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