The Stillwater Union Cemetery is seeking village approval to subdivide a small parcel of its Hudson Avenue property in the hopes of selling the lot to a developer to build senior citizen housing.
“We’re in a situation right now where funds are tight,” Ken Ingersol, President of the Stillwater Union Cemetery Association, told the Village Board Tuesday night. “What we’d like to do is utilize this section of property that will never be used (for burials) because the shale so close to the surface.”
The parcel under consideration is a 4-acre lot near the front entrance that the association would like to subdivide and sell, keeping its remaining 19 or so acres for the cemetery business. The lot has been surveyed and professionally appraised, and the state has deemed it “buildable” because it is not considered protected wetlands, Ingersol said.
The subdivision requires village approval and must pass an environmental review. A public hearing on the association’s application has been set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 19, as part of the Village Board’s regular monthly meeting.
The association does not have a prospective buyer, but “we have desire,” Ingersol said. “Any sale would be on condition that senior housing goes there. We want to keep the property the same. Our goal for the sake of our neighbors to the north and south is to maintain the quiet they have there now. We want (the neighborhood) to remain peaceful. So we’re crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.”
Financial speaking, Ingersol explained that cemeteries are heavily regulated by the state. “Our income is based on internments and lot sales are piecemeal at this time. So selling this property and living off the interest is how we plan to survive.”
If the subdivision request is granted, any future development of the cemetery land would require additional Village Board approvals to proceed.
In other business Dec. 15, village engineer Ed Hernandez told Trustees that the village was unsuccessful in its bid to obtain a state grant to help pay two-thirds of the cost of replacing one of its water storage tanks (and water pipelines) that has corroded and reached the end of its service life. The total cost of the project is estimated at just over $550,000.
The grant application was for $363,440, and the village had planned to fund the remaining $188,000 on its own.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that $5.5 million in state grants were awarded to the river cities of Albany, Troy, Rensselaer and Mechanicville as well as the Albany County town of Coeymans to fund repairs to their aging water and sewer systems. The Village of Stillwater, however, was not included in this round of state funding.
Hernandez said the state did not tell the village why its grant application was denied. “We had been successful with other grants over the last five years,” Hernandez said, “maybe that had an impact, you know, the somebody else’s turn theory. You have to just keep trying.”
Other options to fund the water tank project at this point, he said, include applying for a low interest EFC hardship loan, bonding the money, and reviewing what existing village reserve funds may be available, something he said he will do over the next 30 days.