A month ago, Montgomery residents asked the Village Planning Board to consider doing a balloon test for a proposed two-warehouse project on the northwest side of 211. On March 7, locals got what they wanted.
The proposed project, otherwise known as the Route 211 Development or KSH project, would consist of two 60,000 (35 feet high) and two 80,000 square foot (45 feet high) buildings used for warehouses and office space if built. Its location is along 211, near Union and Weaver Street in Montgomery.
Planning Board Chairman Kevin Conero originally stated he didn’t see a need for a balloon test because of visuals provided by Jason Anderson of Anderson Design Group Architects. This upset multiple residents at an early January planning board meeting who specifically asked for one. The purpose of a balloon test is to get a good idea of the height of proposed buildings by hanging balloons where the top of the buildings would reach. This specific test consisted of flags. Chair of Residents Protecting Montgomery (RPM) and Montgomery resident Don Berger was able to attend the flag test along with some other local residents. While they weren’t allowed on the property, some residents gathered near Hoeffners Farm Stand area, which is near 211. Locals were in fact happy that the test was done, however Berger, who spoke on behalf of residents, mentioned that it confirmed what they had feared.
“Clearly the flag illustrates that the building will dramatically affect the gateway into the village. You’ll be able to see these buildings and the whole idea was not to see the buildings,” said Berger.
Berger has been involved with this project for a couple years, noting that he came to a compromise with the board some time ago.
“What we bargained for with the village board was a buffer that would eliminate the buildings from the the Weaver Street residents homes to about [a] 300 feet buffer into the KSH property, which is a berm that exists. The buildings would be on the opposite side of the berm so we won’t be able to see it,” said Berger.
After the flag test, Berger mentioned that you can clearly see the flags from Weaver Street.
“Lo and behold they do the balloon test and there they are, three flags on Weaver Street clearly seen,” Berger mentioned.
In the Village of Montgomery’s code for this area, buildings have a maximum height of 35 feet. The developers of this project requested a height variance, which Berger initially mentioned the village board was against. In fact, a letter was written to Zoning Board Chairman Randy Wilbur in July 2022 from the village board in opposition to raising the height variance for said project. The letter was signed by Village Mayor L. Stephen Brescia. Berger mentioned that he doesn’t know what changed with the board.
“We’re [residents] not fighting against the warehouses, we just want to keep within the agreement which we established with the village board. They seem like they’re not going to do that,” Berger said. “I’m not sure what happened. But at this past week’s meeting it was clear that the board was now in favor of the variance.”
The public hearing for this project will continue on March 22.