With several development projects on the horizon, and with an eye towards aesthetics, the Village of Montgomery is searching for some guidance.
“We have design guides for historic districts, but not others,” Planning Board Chair Kevin Conero told the village board last week. Conero announced that the village had received a $20,000 grant to develop those guidelines.
Village Trustee Walt Lindner said the grant was awarded by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state’s affordable housing agency. According to its website, HCR develops, preserves and protects affordable housing and invests in economically vibrant communities. It works with many private, public and nonprofit partners to create safe, healthy and affordable housing opportunities for all New Yorkers. Lindner said the grant application was submitted with intent of using money to solicit firms to write design guidelines for commercial, industrial and warehouse buildings.
The village is expected to begin the process of interviewing architectural design firms. The one chosen will develop these guidelines.
Once they are in place, developers will need to comply with these guidelines and submit appropriate plans with their planning board application.
Among the development projects currently before the village planning board are a commercial building development on Railroad Avenue and another on Union Street, behind the former Walden Savings Bank building, and next to 88 Charles Street. The latter proposal will feature a sidewalk, stores at street level and apartments upstairs.
Discussion at last week’s village board meeting also focused on how to improve the appearance of the entrances to the village. Of particular interest is the entrance along Route 211, not far from the giant MedLine warehouse.
“With the gateway what we’re looking for is to create a conceptual overlay,” Lindner said. “We have some visions of how that could look.”
The vision, Lindner said, is to have larger lots with single-family homes on either side of 211. Behind those lots would be a berm, or artificial ridge to shield the homeowners from the view of the giant warehouses in the distance.
“We’d like to make those gateways inviting for people to come in,” Conero said. “We’d like to make them so that when you come from the town into the village, you know you’re in the village of Montgomery.”