Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UAlbany must consider impact

First published in print: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paul Bray's Oct. 11 article, "UAlbany needs to turn its vision outward," underestimates the University at Albany's failure to consider the environmental consequences of its actions.

The 500-bed dormitory UAlbany is planning to build will not consume a mere three acres as Mr. Bray reports, but rather will be a 15-acre project.

Even if 3.3 acres are obtained from the Harriman Office Campus, the bulk of the project will consist of five-story buildings on a site that could come within as little as 100 feet of the adjoining neighborhood of one- and two-story houses. Since the houses are at a lower elevation than the dormitory site, the 15 acres with impervious surfaces (buildings, parking lots and sidewalks) will displace rainwater into a neighborhood that already struggles with inadequate drainage.

UAlbany has given no consideration to the aesthetic and physical impacts that this project will have on the neighborhood. If the university had reached out to its neighbors before it began work on this project, they would have told the university that a dormitory is the wrong project for this site.

As Mr. Bray correctly points out, however, the university's inward focus disrespects the surrounding community and ultimately undermines its own stated goals.

Michael Weisberg

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